Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More local shore birds

I have managed a couple of short local session despite a difficult personal situation that has arisen over the last month. These have not been that productive in terms of numbers of birds but have produced some interesting ones.

First up I ran into a Lesser Black-backed gull the other day, a species for some reason I have not photographed previously. This one was lurking in a car park at high tide.
There have been plenty of cormorants moving about, a bird that on the open shore is very difficult to get close to. I managed a flight shot of one that was flying parallel to the sea wall. If ever there was a bird that suggests their reptialian ancestory then I would put cormorant fairly high on the list.
I also found some curlew, the first shots of them this autumn, on a field backing on to the sand dunes. Again another difficult bird to approach and I had to stand in a ditch under cover with the camera sticking through some brambles to get this shot. To finish off this post a bit of a result. I was standing on the sea wall with my friend Steve when I spotted a big unuusal looking bird about 100m away. Steve took a look through his binoculars and went 'Great Skua'. Needless to say we hot footed in that direction. It quickly took off but flew right over our heads from which I managed to get one shot. Very seldom are these found landing on the local shore so I headed home with a smile that day.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Martin Mere

I briefly dropped into Martin Mere recently but it was generally quiet in front of the hides, with most birds at long range. During my wanderings I came across a group of Long-tailed tit amongst some willow along the path behind the main hide.
I went over to the captive waterfowl collection and took a few shots. Always a pleasure to photograph Carolina Wood duck
There are always large numbers of wild moorhen around the captive birds area, so I took a few shots to add to the moorhen library.
and junior taking a bath

Friday, September 21, 2007

Local Shore Birds

The common terns have kept me busy recently and as time has been limited recently, I have been taking short sessions around high tide. Of those taken, this is my favourite shot, such graceful birds. Still need to do some more work with them though for some diving / fishing shots.
The numbers of waders are slowly building up along the coast here and I came across this knot while out after terns. Another bird I have been finding regularly are Ringed Plover, which are a bird until recently I had not photographed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Marshside
Another recent trip to Marshside produced a few photo opportunities. Occasionally one of the the large number of snipe currently there would make a move out in to the open.
As usual, the occasional Black-tailed Godwit passed through. This one showed some behaviour that I have not seen before of curling the top bill.A pair of dabchicks passed at close range. Highlight of the session was the appearance of a Green Sandpiper and the first time I have opportunity to photo this species. It put in a few brief appearances close in but typically as the light was reduced by clouds!!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

1st Anniversary

Well it is 1 year since I started this Blog and I would like to thank all the people who have taken the time to visit to date. It will be interesting to see what the next 12 months will bring. For this post I will just be showing a couple of shots of a new species for me, the ruddy duck. This is bird with a price on its head and an introduced species that is currently subject to a cull in the UK, so I will not be revealing their location.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Willow Tits

I realised the other day I have not got many shots of willow tit and that the ones I had were mainly of ringed birds. So I headed over to a local site with a feeding station where I know a small number visit. The birds were so close that they were inside the minimum focusing distance of the 500mm lens but fotunatel had the 100-400mm lens with me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some Bird in Flight Tests

There has been a lot of debate over the focusing abilities of the 1D mk3 for birds in flight. So decided to give it a test out. The obvious choice for such shots is seagulls which are in abundance here on the coast. Ok these may not represent a big as an auofocus challenge compared with small birds against a varied background but nevertheless a good starting point. First up black-headed gull
Not quite flying but the moment of lift-off
Common GullThese gulls locally show some interesting beviour where the fly out to the sand banks at low water, collect a cockle and other shell fish, and then drop it from height on the concrete seawall to crack the shell and get to the contents. Here is one returning tothe beach to eat the contents after a successful drop and smash.
The only other flight shot so far is of this canada goose coming in to land. So far the rate of 'keeper shots has been broadly in line with what I would expect for flight shots.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Testing, testing..1..2..Mk3

The 1DMK3 body arrived so obviously needed some testing. I always find it takes a little while to settle into a new camera body and I headed over to Marshside RSPB near Southport for the first shots. Lapwings are such beautiful birds when the light is at the right angle.

Teal in eclipse plumage
and Black-tailed godwit
One of my favourite wadersI was pleased with the results of the first test session but still had to see how it performed with birds in flight.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Twisting Tern
I popped out with the camera the other morning but only managed an hour before the rain poured down. During that time I found a young common tern working along a gulley left by an ebbing tide on the local beach. I was glad of good onshore wind that was slowing its progress.
It was diving a fair amount for fish and managed to capture it shaking away some excess water having taken flight again.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Leighton Moss
I took a trip up to Leighton Moss yesterday morning. All was fairly quiet on the side of the hide I chose due to the light direction, except for a grey heron
There is a Great White Egret present at the moment that forunately flew over and landed near the hide during the visit. However, photography was difficult in a very busy hide.


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