Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Locals

The weather has been fairly grim from a photography perspective over the last couple of weeks with a thick grey gloom overhead. The moments of brightness and sunshine have been few and fleeting but I have managed to catch a couple of them with camera in hand. This post is a compilation of those brief rays of sun.

Starting with a Shoveler which always have a slightly comical look with that extended filtering beak. Two male birds appeared on a local pond and were sharing a hole in the ice with a huge number of mallards. I always think of these species as being of similar size but direct comparison shows the Shoveler to be significantly smaller. Getting a clear photo of the birds amongst the birds crowded into the hole in the ice presented some challenges but the usual perseverance got there in the end.
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This photograph shows the filtering action of the bill. Water taken in is forced out through the 'combs' at the side. Similar to a whale filtering krill but on a much smaller scale.
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The next image was taken on my way home last weekend from the merganser session in the previous post. I spotted eight Curlew feeding on a field and quickly spotted a potential for a close approach to these shy birds. Anyone watching my antics would have definitely been left wondering. After parking a camo clad figure crept out, sneaked along the side of the car to provide a screen before ducking down into the long roadside vegetation and crawling away. Strange people these wildlife photographers.
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January has usually been a good month to look for the scarce Mediterranean Gulls along my local coast. The main problem is actually spotting one amongst the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls that look very similar in winter plumage. The quickest method is to look at the 'tails' (actually folded wing tips) of the birds on the ground and try and find one that is white instead of black. Once you have found one it is quite obvious the differences between the two species. I have found two birds recently.
An adult bird
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A second winter bird which still retains a small amount of black in the wing tips.
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I managed to find this good looking Ringed Plover amongst one the local high tide waders roosts. Photographers and bird watchers should take great care when approaching such roosts to ensure the birds are not disturbed. Remember subject welfare is always the priority.
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To finish this local selection, a few Dunlin photographs. These tiny fast moving waders are not easy to capture in flight.
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The best opportunities are presented when they have slowed to make a landing. The moment before touch down.
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Settled for a rest, while the tide is high and covering the muddy feeding grounds.
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Time for a piece of birthday cake now. I have put the fire service on standby for the lighting of the all too numerous candles!

8 comments:

Ars Natura said...

Espectaculares imagenes.

Un saludo.

Neil said...

Excellent photos! The ringed plover and med gull especially

Lynmiranda said...

Happy Birthday Richard! I have been following your blog for a while now and I love all your images:)

Dominic Gendron said...

Great serie of fantastic image. Love the Ringed Plover

MObugs said...

Beautiful captures! Your pictures are stunning as always.

Phil said...

Brilliant pictures again Rich. Love the Med Gulls - great studies.

Pat Ulrich said...

Really wonderful series -- shovelers are definitely one of my favorite ducks, and its really great to see a curlew in the grass like that. Along the California coast, I've only really ever seen them on the beach or mudflats.

Kerri said...

These are all breathtakingly beautiful! WOW!

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