Broad-Bodied Chaser

Broad-Bodied Chaser
Wing Mosaic (Broad-bodied Chaser): Winner, Nikon In-Frame Competition August 2010


Spoonbill: Birdguides Photo of the Year 2012 Runner-up

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Is There a Wedding On? Regent Street, London - April 26th

This is a view from the office looking down Regent Street from Oxford Circus, all tastefully decked out for Friday.  Thanks for the day off, I'll be heading in the opposite direction!  A great day to get out of London with the camera and binoculars...

(Taken with Blackberry through a very dirty window)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Don't Fret - No Haar at Bempton Cliffs - 23 April

Having driven from Harrogate to Bempton Cliffs, it really was a bit of an unknown as to whether the Sea Fret, or Haar as it is know further north, would spoil the day.  A Sea Fret is a very common spring fog that hugs the coast particularly in the North Sea locations of the British Isles.  It is caused, presumably, by warm air hitting the cold sea air, and it has been known to spoil many a day out on the East Coast.

Arriving at the car park, I was slightly astonished to open the car door to a baking sunny day; no fog and no cold wind.  Apparently it was the first day for about a week when the fret wasn't present.

Upon stepping out of the visitor centre I immediately heard a Grasshopper Warbler, it was soon located in bushes along the path, although quite distant and mobile. 

Walking north, the usual residents soon came into view with the weather provided a great opportunity for some good shots of the Gannets in flight:


A few shots from the cliff face before the sun put it into shade, including a couple of classic fencing portraits:

A few Fulmars were located, both on the nest and in flight:

Although it took a while, the Puffins were finally located, with one in particular high up on the grass top of the cliff giving very good, if brief, views:

A brilliant day was rounded off with Fish & Chips amongst hundreds of Herring Gulls, and human Gannets, at Bridlington.

Coot Chicks - Aaahh or Urrgh? VOTE NOW! London WWT 17th April

A couple of shots below from the family of six young Coot at WWT London at the weekend.  These were proving incredibly popular with the families heading to the playground.  Listening to the passing comments, some thought they were very nice, a few children commented that they looked weird, and one just declared "Urgh". Question is, these odd looking chicks are not quite as cute as the ducklings, so, as the kids declared, are they Aahh or Urrgh?  You Decide - VOTE NOW in the panel on the right!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Duck on the Menu at the WWT Cafe - 16th April

A nice surprise at the WWT Cafe in Barnes - after arriving I queued for a much needed coffee.  Something behind the counter looking familiar.  Being pre-coffee it took a while before I realised the WWT had very kindly taken my recent winning Shoveler photo and created a canvas for the new enlarged Cafe.  It is currently hung where the menu used to be!  Thanks very much WWT!

Out on the reserve, a beautiful warm day meant Spring was well and truly in full flow.  Several Reed Warblers had clearly arrived during the week, and were singing all over the site.

A lone Green Sandpiper was present:

A single Little-ringed Plover and a few Redshank were the only other waders seen:

The resident Lapwings were defending their territories from the usual numerous Crows, allowing some nice flight shots to be captured:

Other signs of Summer, apart from the weather, were a good number of Sand Martins and even a few early Mallard and Coot chicks (more of which later):

On the way out a nice Mistle Thrush indicated a nearby nest and posed well as it collected food around the entrance area:

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Coots 1, Heron 0 - Stockers Lake, Herts - 16th April

A couple of hours at Stockers Lake in Hertfordshire produced some summer visitors, including my first Cuckoo of the year, heard but not seen, and around 4 Common Terns had arrived and were fighting for space on the nesting platforms:

While a Canada Goose looked on, a Grey Heron headed for a Coot nest, which the occupants defended with great effect, seeing the Heron on its way after a minor scuffle:

A Kestrel seems to have taken to the nest box, sitting at the entrance for some time, but is there a paid?  Notes in the hide suggested a mating pair were seen nearby so fingers crossed they will use this site:

The House Sparrows around Stockers Lock were numerous as usual:

Other species seen were a distant Red Kite, Blackcaps and Garden Warbler.  A nice Grey Wagtail was found on the canal, causing me to miss the start of the Manchester derby at Wembley (Manchester City 1, Mancester Utd 0):

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Summer Plumaged Red-necked Grebe, and Lots of Snakes! 9th April

A weekend in South Yorkshire meant I could spend a day in the Hatfield Moor area, a superb and unusual place.  The main draw was a summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe which was at the far end of Ten-acre Lake. 

The walk down there produced news of a Common Crane over, although it couldn't be located.  Not a great place to be looking up in the sky; at least three Adders and several Grass Snakes were seen along the way, not doubt taking advantage of the early hot weather. The Adders could be heard moving through the tinder-dry dead ferns, although they generally were quickly out of sight once located.  Only one showed well enough for some shots:

The Red-necked Grebe was in superb rarely seen plumage, almost full summer.  A handful of photographers were present, but it tended to spend its time fishing a little too far out for good shots.  However, patience paid off as it occasionally moved towards the banks and allowed some nice views:

The afternoon was spent wandering around in the sun at the other end of the reserve at Hatfield Moor. The two Black-necked Grebes reported earlier were nowhere to be seen.  A couple more Adders were located, as well as a few butterflies. 

A close male Reed Bunting allowed some nice detail to be captured:

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Everything Has Gone, But Nothing Has Arrived - London WWT - 2nd April

A relatively quiet day in Barnes.  Most of the winter birds had departed, with the exception of a few Teal and Shoveler. There was very little sign of spring migrants, although five Sand Martins had arrived and were checking the holes in the bank (and seemed oblivious to the new camera that has been installed).

Some time for experimentation resulted in the following Mute Swan and Redshank:

Three small Common Lizards were sunning on the side of one of the hides:

The Great-crested Grebes were pulling fish out on a regular basis as usual.  This Perch actually managed to wriggle away. The Grebe dived after it, but came up empty-billed.