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Sunday, 13 September 2009

How's my project going ?

Quick update on the KF project.

Success at last............not quite what I wanted, but then I shouldn't be so fussy !

I'm lucky - I've got hundreds of KF RAW images on my hard drives. The shot I'm after though is a KF in full golden morning light - keep watching. I'll get it soon !

This is what I got yesterday morning:

So else has paid a visit ?

My hours waiting at the perches have not been entirely fruitless.

My set up consists of a ground level seat, bag hide, tripod and of course, my camera.

Once I arrive at the site, I will very quickly check that all is OK in the swim and that the perches are not damaged etc.,. I will then set up the camera, get comfy and then cover myself with my bag hide.

Once inside my protective cloak it is amazing just how quickly the wildlife resumes its usual activities.

There's the family of Jays that announce their arrival very vocally. Not quite as loud, are the Long Tail Tits that work through the trees looking for insects.

It also seems that certain birds work to a timetable. There's the swans that fly off to feed at 8.30, the Heron that makes it's way towards Rainham at 9, the Canada Geese that fly off to graze half hour after that.

I've had some more surprising sights and sounds, and I've logged them for future projects - Sparrow Hawk, Woodpeckers and Egrett. Yesterday, a fox walked right in front of me along the opposite bank - he had no idea I was there.

One mystery keeping me guessing is what I think is a bird call. It consists of a loud ping - just one. Not unlike a Bearded Tit, but much louder.

I'll solve that little mystery in time and report back.

I know there are also Little Owls on the site - another project right on my doorstep.

Who else has visited ? Well, this Robin stopped by the other day

Friday, 11 September 2009

My local Kingfishers

My local KF's have a lot to answer for.

I first noticed them whilst out walking my dogs early in the morning before work. I heard them first of all and couldn't quite believe that I had a pair of KF's living so close. Since then I've grown very fond of them and also rather protective.

They are responsible for me investing in a lot of expensive camera gear, and spending many happy hours sitting quietly, watching and waiting.

Over the past few weeks however, they've been giving me the run around.

3 weeks ago I set up 2 perches in the river, and have sat and waited patiently for over 10 hours since. I've been rewarded with about 3 minutes of views !

I can hear them flying around me and checking out their territory, but now that they are not breeding and the young have moved on, they seem to be more skittish and don't hang about in one place for very long.

I noticed this behaviour last year too, and I think it's a seasonal thing.

I'll be back there tomorrow morning though, so keep watching my blog for news on my local KF's !

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Trip report - The Farne Islands, day 2

Having now visited the islands on Day 1, I knew what to expect, and more importantly, what I wanted from Day 2.

Everyone wants a shot of a Puffin with a beak full of Sand Eels, and I'm not different, so I sat on the board walk and watched what was going on for an hour or more.

What was taking place in front of me was something I didn't expect.

The Puffins rear their young underground, in burrows. As I watched, I would see a Puffin arrive with a beak full of eels.

Now, there were gulls present constantly. These gulls just waited and watched.

The Puffin would return with 10 - 20 eels and fly low and fast over it's burrow. If there was a gull nearby, they would fly past and keep doing so until the coast was clear.

Once landed, they were in the burrow within seconds.

This is all good to watch, but with a 500 f4 to use, not ideal.

I managed a few shots, and this is my favourite:

Trip report - The Farne Islands, day 1

What can I say about the Farnes Islands ?

Well, if you like your sea birds, if you don't mind a boat trip and you can put up with a bit of a pong.......well, get to the Farnes in July.

They certainly provided me with my closest encounter with seabirds yet, and a trip that I will never forget.

The Farnes are managed by the Natural Trust, so access is limited.

Trips are available from Seahouses harbour based on half or full days - essentially this gives you a couple of hours on each of the two islands that are open to the public.

I was lucky enough to pay a visit with a super group of people made of members of EOS Network members and CFF members - some knew each other from previous adventures, and some didn't.

Day one started early for me with a quick visit to the beach in front of the hotel at 5.30am. The early morning light showed this heron off against Bamborough Castle -

After breakfast, a sea mist rolled in which turned to rain later in the day.

As I've mentioned before, I like extremes of weather and the mist over the Farnes made for challenging conditions for a photographer.

This Puffin was taken as the mist was rolling in...........

Later in the day, the rain started.

As I've mentioned before in my blog, I've become a lover of the rain and added dimension it adds to my photography. Good waterproof gear is essential, as is being able to keep your gear dry.

This image was taken after after everyone had run for cover, leaving me to lay in the muck and get my shot........................

I just love the water droplets on this Razorbill.

The boat back to the mainland picks you up at 4pm, so once back, we dried off and hit the bar......

Photography Days

I love my wildlife. I love to watch wildlife.

My photography is a bonus - a creative medium that allows me to indulge my passion for wildlife.

Photography has helped me to see more of our natural world and to appreciate it's beauty more than I've ever done before.

This brings me to photography days.

I was invited earlier this year to attend two arranged days out with one the UK's leading wildlife photographers, Danny Green.

Now, I have to admit I was dubious - prearranged shoots are not for me. I get a kick from planning and executing a shoot of a subject, but to have it placed in front of me ?

I'd met Danny before, so knowing his relaxed approach, I was happy to go along.

The day started at around 10am and didn't finish until almost sunset.

We 'enjoyed' rain, wind and sun at Vinnies Barn Owl Centre and Vinnie certainly has a way with his birds.

Danny as always was relaxed and available for any advise or assistance if needed.

This image was taken in the rain, and won one of the monthly comps on Canon Fodder Forums, which I was really pleased with.

Am I still dubious - no.

Photography days have to seen for what they are - a prearranged event, where the subjects are brought to you.

Vinnie was excellent at being able to present the subject in as natural a surrounding as possible - the rest is then up to you.

It certainly allows the a photographer a chance to practice, and to mingle with like minded individuals.

Would I go again- yes.

Danny is a super bloke - straight as they come and very willing to share knowledge.

Vinnie is passionate about his birds but also understands what photographers want - natural looking images from captive subjects.

Worth the money - yes.

Where else can you hire a professional photographer, all you need for lovely images - for 8 hours, for under a hundred quid ?

Local patch

Local patch is shameless plagiarism I'm afraid - taken straight from an idea on the Wildlifeacrossthewater blog.

My patch is Essex - my local patch is Hornchurch, Upminster, Rainham and Elm Park.

RSPB Rainham Marshes is 10 minutes away in the car, and, for those of you who've read my blog before, you will know that I've previously said that it is a relatively new reserve, but with great potential.

I'm pleased to report that Rainham is doing very well indeed - they've even sighted Osprey this year ! Development has been extensive, and it is well worth a visit.

With Rainham being so close, I can visit the reserve and focus on a particular subject so a few weekends ago, I went looking for Water Voles.

The Vole population at Rainham seems to be increasing year on year, and I read recently that the Wildlife Trusts are seeking to reintroduce Water Voles where ever possible through a breeding and relocation program.

The board walks at Rainham are excellent for viewing the Water Voles at provided you are quiet, I can almost guarantee that you will see one. Photography, especially at this time of year is difficult however due to the amount of reeds and growth, but if you're lucky, you might get to see this rare riverbank specialist.

The fellow in these photo's was happily posing for me not 6 ft away - previously, I've had them so close that they were within the focus distance of the 500 !

Macro - a new subject for me

I've owned a 150mm f2.8 Sigma macro lens for a couple of years now thanks to a close friend who lived in Hong Kong and was able to bring me back to the UK whatever I wanted at bargain prices.

I wanted to own a macro lens, and this one has come good reviews, so I duly sent him an order and next time he flew back to the UK, he had my lovely new macro lens with him.

The problem has been that I then bought a 70 - 200mm f2.8L (same source) and then a 500mm f4L. The macro lens never left it's box - until this year.

I've not been out a few times with it having seen some great macro work posted on NPN and CFF.

My first effort was this soldier beetle, and in taking the shot, it really brought home to me how difficult and specialised this medium of photography can be.

The slightest movement and you've a blurred image.

Having studied the exif data of some of the images that have
impressed me, some of the togs are shooting at very high f stops - I saw one stunning image taken at f22.

This presented a problem for me in that I set the camera at f12, and got a shutter speed of around 1/6th - ie., a fuzzy blurr.

More respect due to macro guys, and more practice needed for me !

My next effort produced a more pleasing result and a more compliant subject. This Southern Hawker was hunting when I spotted him and flew around me for about 10 minutes before he settled and allowed me to approach him.

I wasn't sure of the species, but a quick post on CFF and I had an id from Martin Dyer (Wildlifeacrossthewater).

I am very pleased with the result, and having considered selling this lens through lack of usage, I'm going to keep it, and get out with it more as I think macro opens up a whole new world - provided it's not windy of course !


I was given a super opportunity to photograph Dippers with my good mate, SJK, so after the usual early start, we arrived at the 'location', which is a beautiful spot in the depths of Derbyshire.

The dippers at this location are pretty much unfazed by humans and so close approach is possible, although dependent upon the time of year, one must be wary not to disturb possible nest sites.

I've watched these birds a few times now at several different sites, and if you know what to look for, they are more common than I ever thought. I've seen them this year as far north as the Cairngorms and more recently down south near Dartmoor in Devon, but none have been so easy to approach as the one's in Derbyshire.

Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, Dippers don't live in Essex but if anyone out there knows different, let me know...............

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Trip Report Day 3 - North Norfolk

Day 3, and another early start.

I set off to look for the Barn Owls again - this time getting the best shot I've managed so far. I was very pleased with this image.........................

Later in the morning I left the Barn Owls and went in search of another target species I've wanted to photograph for a long time, Hare.

Using my knowledge of the area, I went to another spot where I'd seen Hare's before and sure enough, from my vantage point there were 3 - feeding and playing in a field about the size of 8 football pitches.

Once again, I set myself up and waited. It's amazing that once you blend in, the wildlife forgets you're there and continues it's business.

While I waited for the Hare's to move closer, this Pheasant wandered into view - their colouring at this time of year is magnificent.

Eventually my wait paid off.

The Hares, completely unaware of my presence came closer and closer allowing me to simply pick my shots.

Once again, I managed to get a shot that I was really pleased with and one that I've never managed to get before.

I've nicknamed this guy Bugsy - he had real character and a scar across his face that only he, and the thing that did it know how it got there.............

Trip Report Day 2 - North Norfolk

A very early start saw me zooming down to one of my favourite spots for photography, Salthouse Pools. These pools, just behind the flood defences are very close to the car park and are a mecca for all sorts of birdlife and birdwatchers. 

Because of the number of people who visit the place, close approach is possible and it makes for a great mirror pool on still days.

I arrived there just as the sun was coming up but was staggered to discover that the Pools are no more. They have dried up. 

I later found out that North Norfolk is suffering from a drought. It has not rained there since the beginning of March. Global warming ?

Plan B had to be put in place, so I made my way to a spot I know very well and started my hunt for the Barn Owls that I know frequent the area.

Having spotted that familiar ghostly, fluttering flight, I set about putting myself in a position that would allow the Barn Owl to come to me.

After an hour or so, my plan worked.

The Barn Owl made his way to the perch I thought he might have been using to scan the area and this allowed me to get the shots I wanted - the best images I have taken of Barn Owls so far.

Super birds and a joy to watch.......

Trip Report Day 1 - North Norfolk

My second trip of the year took me to probably my favorite place of all - North Norfolk.

Ever since my first visit, I've been captivated by all that this part of the UK has to offer. Fantastic wildlife, unspoilt beaches and countryside and relatively few people if you know where to go.

My specific target for this trip was Barn Owls.

I know of a few sites, but it can a frustrating way of passing time !

I set off from home at 3am on 8 May, and made my way to my first stopping point - RSPB Snettisham, which is not far from Hunstanton and Sandringham.

Snettisham is know for it's vast winter flocks of Knot and Dunlin that roost on the scrapes, although this has been in decline in recent years.

I arrived to a windy and cold morning with quite a bit of activity in the pools.

I had the place to myself for 4 hours and took the time to practice photographing Black Headed Gulls in the dawn light that were busy nest building.

Another spectacle that occurs at Snettisham is the daily take off of roosting geese - Brents, Pink Footed and Grey Lag.

I was happy to get this shot of a flock of Brents and they took off from fields and made thier way out to feed on the Wash.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Final thoughts

It's taken we a while to get round to writing up these trip notes, and I hope you have enjoyed reading them.

I have visited Scotland on several occasions, and if the weather is good, it is the most stunning place to be. I hope this has given you a taster of what is there to be seen and that you might consider a visit.

Trip Report - Scotland - Day Seven

No early start today as it's our last day on Scotland and time to head South.

Driving in Scotland is a dream. On our return journey, I did not see another car for an hour once we left our hotel in Loch Awe.

Stunning scenary led us all the way back to Glasgow, and then the north of England, and finally ending up on the North York Moors for more Red Grouse spotting.

This time I was able to get a fine shot of this female who, rather than disappearing stood up and looked back at us for a while.

Super birds, and I can still hear them calling........

Trip Report - Scotland - Day Six

Our first trip to Mull was so good, we decided to go again the next day and explore some more.

Another very early start to get back on the ferry.

Although windy, the weather was once again super and this time, we came determined to get that killer shot of a Buzzard. Being a scavenger, I thought that if we could find some fresh road-kill, we might be able to place it and lay in wait for the Buzzard to come and tuck in.

We found 'Roger' laying in the road. Luckily he'd not been run over, but had clearly been hit by something and was dead as a doornail, but intact. He was quickly shoved into Steve's boot bag ready for use later in the day.

Having spent quite a bit of the day exploring more of the island, we waited for the light and went back to Grass Point to deploy 'Roger'.

I parked up and then jumped out to place Rog on the top of a large boulder - prime position for a diffuse background, super evening light and hopefully some great shots of a Buzzard eating a rabbit.

The excitement grew as one of the Buzzards spotted Roger and started to fly around looking for danger - at one point he swooped in, but turned away at the last minute and didn't land.

A real shame, but as we had the last ferry to catch, we left Roger to his fate and reluctantly returned to ferry, fish and chips in Oban, then our hotel, a few beers and some kip.

Trip Report - Scotland - Day Five

Wednesday and time to go sailing - across the water to the Island of Mull.

Our mutual friend, Martin Dyer, had told Steve and I a lot about Mull, and what a wonderful place it was for wildlife so yet another early start saw us making tracks for Oban to catch the first ferry across to the Island.

Once ashore, we set off for our first place of interest, Grass Point - apparently one of the best raptor viewing spots. Sure enough, we came over the brow of a small hill and right in front of us was a Buzzard which had pinned a full grown rabbit down in a ditch beside the track.

As soon as the buzzard spotted us, he took off and the rabbit scarpered. Neither of us had our cameras ready at the time (sod's law), but it gave me an idea..............

We spent the rest of the day exploring Mull in super weather. 

Mull really is a special place.

Highlights were a meadow pipit (I think), that sat up for us quite nicely, and a Buzzard, that obliged us by sitting on a post and watching as we got closer.

Trip Report - Scotland - Day Four

Time to move on. 

After a very nice 'Scottish' Breakfast, I defrosted the car and we headed across to our second hotel on Loch Awe which is one of Scotland's largest Loch's and situated on the West Coast, near to Oban.

Once in the area, Steve navigated us around several of the nearby Lochs looking for subjects to photograph. As we had headed west, the weather had deteriorated, and we saw our first, but only rain for the trip.

The highlight of the day for me was spotting a bird I had really hoped I would see, but didn't think I would get near enough to photograph.

Spotting the bird from about a mile away, I drove down to the spot nearest and while Steve set up to shoot some Stonechats, I set about trying to get some shots of what I think is one of the most stunning birds that we have within our shores - the Black Throated Diver.

Luckily I found a very comfortable spot, laying head down on a mossy bank, and hiding behind a tree. I set the camera as low as I could get it and waited for the bird to come in close. Half an hour later he duly obliged allowing me to get a few shots off before he took off and disappeared over a hill, letting out a strange wailing call as he went.

Now that I seen one of these birds, I will be going back for more -they are truly awesome birds.............watch this space !

Trip Report - Scotland - Day Three

Having stayed the night at the Rowen Tree (lovely hotel) it was another early start for us. 

We had arranged to spend day with local photographer, Neil McIntyre, who took us straight up into the hills to try to find Red Grouse.

I won't forget hearing my first Grouse call in the still and cold morning air. A cross between a chuckle and a gurgle, it really is quite comical - especially when they start to 'talk' to each other.

The light was simply fantastic and allowed for some super photography.

Next up was breakfast followed by a trip to find the Red Squirrels. Another first for me, and
a simply wonderful couple of hours spent in the company of these very cute mammals. 

Once again the light was very kind to us, and we were able to observe and get some great shots.

After the squirrels, we moved back to the Glen that we had visited yesterday to go for more shots of the Red Deer.

Late in the afternoon, just as the sun was setting, the deer came down from the surrounding hillsides and made their way to be fed by the gamekeeper.

Provided you stay in the vechicle, they remain curious, but do not run. As you get out of the vechicle, they are gone - this proved to me what a good hide a car can make.

Trip Report - Scotland - Day Two

Not an especially exciting day unless you like driving (which I do).

I fine Sunday morning saw us make an early start and head on up to Aviemore.

It's a long drive, but the scenary was just super.

Arriving in Aviemore late afternoon meant we had some time to kill so we headed for a Glen to catch the evening l
ight and the Red Deer as they came down for feeding.

As we drove along the Glenn road, I spotted some movement by the roadside. We jumped out of the car and were able to observe several Wheatears which looked like they had just arrived. 
They allowed us to get quite close as you can see from this picture - I think he was exhausted.

Next up we spotted what we had come for - the Red Deer.
These magnificent creatures were looking resplendent in the late afternoon sun, and using the car as a hide, we were treated to some great views.

Trip Report - Scotland - Day One

My first big expedition of the year took place at the beginning of May with a trip to Scotland with my friend, fellow wildlife enthusiast and photographer, Steve Kaluski.

We planned our first day as a staging day, intending to stay in York and then to complete the journey to the Cairngorms area on the Sunday.

We decided to take a diversion however and accept an invite to join Danny Green to go to a little spot where a pair of Dippers were busy preparing to breed, nest and rear their young.

Having met up with Danny, we headed down to the location and spent a fantastic day observing these great birds who were completely unphased by 3 photographers.

We were later joined by another NPN member, Craig Jones.
A few hundred images later, we left Danny and Craig to head back to our cars. I won't forget that walk in a hurry - it didn't seem too bad on the way down, but with a full load of gear, the walk back was something else !

I am really pleased to have met Danny and been given a chance to observe and photogragh these wonderful birds in a cracking setting.

A great start to our trip !

Monday, 6 April 2009

My camera has gone in for the 1D fix.........what did I do while it was away.....

.............so while it has been away, I've been running through some old RAW images that I'd not got round to processing.
I have to say, that I will be doing more of that as this year progresses.

One, it is therapeutic, two, I have deleted quite a bit of crap simply by being pretty ruthless and three, I have come across the odd gem that I've gone ahead and processed.

This image is a case in point. Taken on Boxing Day after breakfast, I went to favourite seal spot I know and just sat and waited to see what would happen. After a while, this female popped her head through the sea defences to check me out.

After mum had decided I was OK, one of the pups came over and in the end, it was sniffing the feet of my tripod, so I had to keep moving back to keep the pup in the frame.

Like all avid nature watchers, it is encounters like times like this that keep me going back.
Unfortunately, the march up and click away until the animal moves off brigade will always prevent me from revealing locations, so please don't ask - unless you know me...........

Friday, 27 March 2009

My Favourite Subjects have returned.............

I am pleased to say that the Kingfishers have returned to their 'spot', which is very close to where I live.
I am fortunate in that within 5 minutes of leaving my house, I can be observing these wonderful birds, and I see them most mornings whilst out walking my dog.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours by the stream (without my dog !) - an hour waiting for them to come to where I was waiting and an hour observing.
At the moment, they are going through the mating rituals which involves lots of screeching, passing of fish 'gifts' from the male to the female and copulation. The picture above is of the female just after she's been on the receiving end of all of the aforementioned.

I have found that the Kingfishers, like all wildlife, will initially spook when approached but will, after a period of time, return to their favourite fishing spot and are quite tolerant provided you don't start waving your arms around and shouting 'Look at these'.

I took around 500 RAW's yesterday, so I've got my work cut out getting through this little lot.

I will continue my studies of these birds throughout the rest of the spring and summer and report back regulary on their progress.

Cheers for now.......

Local Patch - RSPB Rainham Marshes

Taking a leaf out of Dave and Martin's book, I've decided to write a few posts focusing on my local patch, which is Hornchurch in Essex, and the surrounding area.

Bearing in mind my location, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by country parks and green belt - such as remains in the South East - and I am 10 minutes drive from RSPB Rainham Marshes.

The reserve is a strange place, which can appear quite barren at first glance but I have to say that I have had some pretty reasonable results there, although as has been mentioned, it can be hit and miss.

This year for instance, I have had Penduline and Bearded Tit within 15 feet on the reed mace. And although I've not been quick enough, Water Rail literally right at my feet under the broadwalks. In spring and summer I've had Cuckoo, Little Grebe and various Warblers within a few feet, plus Reed Bunting and posing Stonechat too.
Kingfisher are resident and Water Vole if it's quiet enough. On the seawall, there are also Dartford Warbler resident, although I've not tried to capture those yet. The feeders also attact quite a few species. When you first arrive, the site can appear daunting - basically, it's a 2 mile circular walk - but take your time and talk to the wardens before you go out - they will tell you the best spots. I've had my best results by just standing in a spot and waiting rather than marching round as a lot do and missing everything.

Check out the RSPB site for Rainham - there is a Warden called Howard Vaugh, and he keeps the latest sightings updated very well.
Drop me a message if you'd like to know more.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Minsmere - 27 Feb

A friend of mine, Tony Coombs and I took a trip to Minsmere recently in the hope of seeing some Bittern activity and the Marsh Harriers.

Initially the day looked like it was going to be clear with good light, but after a very early start, a grey blanket of cloud moved over the reserve and stayed with us pretty much until we decided to leave (at which point the sun came out and shone all the way home !).

Our early start paid dividends though as the deer that usually are gone once visitors arrive in force, were showing well.

Having spent a fruitless couple of hours in the Bittern Hide (1 Bittern seen in the distance + 3 Marsh Harriers), we moved down to the Island Mere Hide. The Marsh Harriers were showing well, but only occasionally coming close enough to the hide for photo opportunities.

On the way back to the car, a Wren decided to appear, and posed well for the camera - a bird I'd not previously had in my library, so I was very happy to get some shots.

During a quiet moment, as Tony and I both have 1D MKIII's, with 500mm f4 attached and 1.4x converters we decided to test our kit.

On each shot, sitting next to each other and photographing the same goose using AV mode, Tony could only manage a shutter speed roughly 1/200 slower than my camera.

We continued to take shots of the same birds and again, Tony could not get the same shutter speed.We checked our basic settings - same mode, f stop, iso, focus point etc., but same result. We then went through all settings in the menu and Tony adjusted his to match my camera exactly. Again, the same result.The only difference between our gear was the 1.4x - Tony has the Canon version, mine is a Kenko.

This was interesting experiment, and possibly the difference between getting 'that sharp image', or not.

I appreciate that there are more precise tests that could be carried out - like swapping converters/lens etc., but this is food for thought for now.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Elmley Marsh 22 Feb (and thanks to DC)

This week I took another trip to Sheppey trying to see Golden and Grey Plovers and hopefully Short Eared Owls.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't manage to see any of the above, but I did get a rather nice image of a Stonechat.

Although I was dissappointed with not seeing my target species, I did get the chance to watch several Marsh Harriers that were hunting, but staying tantalisingly out of range of my camera (I really must bolt that 2x on at some point and get practising).

I'm quite happy with this image and more particulary, the processing - having read Dave Courtney's piece on the adjustment brush on LR2, I used it for the first time today to selectively saturate, lighten and sharpen this image whilst in RAW. Normally I would do that to the .JPEG in CS3 after exporting, so I will certainly be using this as part of my process in future.

I could never get the layers and masks thing, and LR makes this so easy...........cheers Dave. Another thing learned !

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Elmley Marshes on Sheppey

I took a trip to Elmley on Sunday as I had a free day - the forcast was not great, but a friend of mine had visited the day before and had seen 3 short eared owls, and so I thought I would take the camera down there and see what I could get.

RSPB Elmley is accessable via a long unmade road which crosses a large expanse of marsh that allows some of the best views of Lapwing, Egret and Heron that I've had in the UK- all very close up and all by using the car as your hide.

The Egret was no more than 20 ft from the car and happy to stand, even while I moved the car to get better position.

The Heron was actively hunting in the pools by the road, and pretty much stayed until he decided to move elsewhere to look for something else to eat.

Having got my pictures there, I moved off to another well known spot, Harty Ferry Road to wait for the SEO's to appear. Unfortunately, they didn't appear this time, but a Barn Owl did fly in front of the car, along with Partridge and a Stoat which was climbing some posts - I only managed to capture the Barn Owl, but will have to paost that later as it's not a great effort.
I'm off to Minsmere next week, so keep looking in updates and latest news.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Penduline Tits

Got 'em at last !

As this cold weather persists (showing -3 on my car temp gauge) a cold, misty visit to Rainham early Saturday morning beckoned. There had been a dusting of snow as well, which added to the winter scene.
As I arrived in the car park, my friend Tony Coombes was waiting and reports of the Penduline showing well had filtered through from the Wardens. They let us into the reserve early, and after a 20 minute walk, this is what we found -

A New Year and 2 new species so far - SEO's and Penduline.

Bearded Tits and Stonechat

I spent the first weekend of 2009 at RSPB Rainham Marshes looking for a rare winter visitor, the Penduline Tit.

They have been seen at Rainham for several years, and this year I set out determined to get some images.

Unfortunately, I failed as the Penduline did not show on either day however, on Saturday my friend, Tony Coombes, and I were consoled by some wonderful views of Bearded Tit.

On Sunday, the birds that never fail to pose for a picture - the Stonechat, showed up and didn't fail to perform.