Friday, January 30, 2009

Fieldfare and Larks

The winter migrants will be heading north soon, so I thought I would give them another visit.
The birds listen to the soil, for worms below. I also recently came across a group of skylarks. A bird that I always love to photograph. A number of the birds were ascending skyward in song flight, which seems to be early in the year, but much appreciated.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

White Moorhen Update
I decided to revisit the leucistic moorhens to see how they were doing. I was concerned with the recent cold weather, causing the lake to freeze, may have left them vulnerable to predation. However, I can happily report the both were present and looking very well. They had changed slightly since my last visit in that there beaks' have now taken on the more typical moorhen colouration which makes them even more appealing.
As usual with their bright white plumage they are a very tricky exposure, so for these photos I resorted to some spot metering on the camera.
I will probably return again now in the spring as I hoping that the normal coloured adults will produce some more leucistic young. I am intriguied as to what these chicks will look like.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lunch Hour Buzzard

I often take my camera to work with me which allows me to pop out for my lunch hour to try and take a couple of photos. This is not always successful but certainly beats sitting at the computer eating a sandwich and restores my energies for the afternoon's work. I had noticed a buzzard that kept perching on the telegraph poles on the road leading up to the office and so decided to try and get a couple of pictures.

Being given the 'eye'. Enough to strike fear into any rabbit but fortunately I am probably a lot less edible.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Winter Woodlands

Firstly apologies for the lack of updates in the last week, but I have been struck down by a flu like virus and have spent most of it in bed trying to sleep it off. Before falling ill I paid a visit to a local woodland where there is a fair amount of public feeding of the squirrels and birds and so armed with some bird feed it is usually relatively easy to get the birds where you want them. I much prefer undertaking woodland bird photography in the winter as the lack of leaf canopy lets the light through.

I went for two main species which were nuthatch and stock dove. I managed to get two nuthatch coming in to the feed at close quarters. One was ringed and the other had an unusually long upper bill which is the bird I concentrated on. You have to be very quick with nuthatch and try and get them before they have reached the food.Frequently you fail although I suppose a nuthatch tickling a nut with its tongue is appropriate!

The nuthatch was really I diversion while I waited for some Stock Dove to arrive. Despite the number of visitors they are still wary and it took quite a while before I got an opportunity to get some photographs. In fact thinking about it, they are a species that you don't often see photographed. To me they are a very under-rated bird presumably because they show a similar resemblance to feral pigeons. The reason I particularly like this site is that the carpet of beech leaves forms an attractive setting for these woodland birds, particularly when you can get down low to give a more intimate feel to the photograph.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Twite are a species I have wanted to photograph for a while. I can't really provide a reason why as they are not the most visually attractive birds. They are fairly scarce these days and have shown rapid declines in recent decades. It is particularly unusual to find them on the Wirral peninsula where I live, so a reported small flock of 13 birds on a local beach naturally attracted my interest. The birds had been around for a while before I got opportunity to pay them a visit. From the reports coming in they seemed to be quite mobile up and down the coast. However, they were tending to favour one area, which would require an afternoon visit due to light direction, and so that is where I headed.

On arrival they took a little time to locate and even though were highly mobile or would perch high up on the clay cliffs. Eventually they settled down to feed on the seeds in the weed line along the beach. Small ground feeding birds are always tricky especially when feeding amongst beach debris. In the end I settled down low to near to the birds and waited for them to come to me.
Foraging amongst the beach debris along the tideline After brief spells feeding on the beach they would fly up on to the adjacent clay cliffs to rest and preen. Fortunately on one occasion they did this at the cliff base.
The birds would also drink from areas where water was seeping through the cliff face.
Eventually the birds took off on another long flight down the beach and I lost track of them. The short session was over but very enjoyable and good to get a new species in the library.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Starting the New Year

Firstly I would like to wish readers of the Blog a Happy and Wildlife 2009. I spent a fair amount of time over Christmas, organising and backing up last years photos to start with a clean slate for the New Year. I always treat the start of each year as a fresh start and already have some photography plans forming for the year ahead. Having said that I decided to start 2009 where I finished 2008 and headed out on my first session to try and get some more grey partridge photos. The forecast promised clear skies and sun and delivered on arrival, grey cloud and dull lightall day. The partridges were playing difficult to photograph as usual but I managed to get some photos.
and my favourite two images of the session
While trying for the partridges a couple of other bird species found their way in front of my lens including fieldfare and great spotted woodpecker
Male bird on a hawthorn trunk

Not a bad way to start the year, it was just a shame the light was not better. Sometimes you are forced to perserve under unfavourable preveiling conditions.


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