Broad-Bodied Chaser

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

Spoonbill

Spoonbill
Spoonbill: Birdguides Photo of the Year 2012 Runner-up

Friday, 26 August 2011

London Hoopoe

Hoopoe is a bird I have seen numerous times, but never in the UK.  One had been present at Coulsden Downs for almost a week. After oversleeping on Saturday I arrived in one of the more picturesque parts of South London at around 7.30am to find only two others present.  By the time I had walked from the car park it had been located on the far side of the valley, feeding on the ground very distantly.  After a while it flew towards into the trees, and then over our heads onto the ground nearby.

I was just about to get some nice shots when a lone jogger decided to turn towards us.  Clearly we were watching something but he seemed oblivious as a handful of us watching the Hoopoe saw him run right towards it.  I managed to capture this irritating moment (not the images I was hoping for!).



It was, however, a pleasure to see this beautiful bird in the London area.  It then disappeared for a couple of hours, before being located distantly again.  Others got some superb shots later in the day, and it wasn't seen in the following days.

A visit to London WWT on the way back produced an hour of heavy rain with only a Green Sandpiper of note. 


After the rain had stopped, a Grey Heron looked out over the reserve:



A Grey Heron later lingered close by on the Wildside for some time:





Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Norfolk Nudist Beach - Don't Forget Your Big Lens!

These Little Terns were on a busy beach on the north coast, on a sunny day earlier in August. 

They seemed quite happy amongst the tourists, horses, dogs, children, kite flyers and nudists!! As some may know a section of this beach is a designated nudist area, into which I headed with a camera and a large lens!

For some reason the Little Terns only seemed bothered by one person on the busy beach - a nudist walking along the tide line.  I was watching this man for some time, as one of the terns was mobbing him constantly, stooping to about a foot above his head each time.  He was actually unaware of the tern following him along the beach.  He was, however, looking at me, clearly wondering why I was staring at him.  I was itching to raise my lens and get a few snaps of this hilarious encounter, but probably not the wisest of moves given the circumstances.  You will just have to make do with the following shots of the terns themselves:





Good to see that a number of Little Terms had fledged from this site; I wonder if they are second broods given the late dates.  Whilst these young birds were flying well, they were still dependent on parents who came along every few minutes to provide fish.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Porto Santo

A week in Porto Santo, North-east of Madeira, in late July produced a few opportunities to point a camera (and a 70-300mm lens) at some of a few of the islands wildlife highlights.
This is not an island abundant with wildlife due to its rather barren landscape, but there were some nice finds.

A few Wasp Spiders were located:



Wall Lizards on every wall:





Half way down a huge old well was this monster.  Unfortunately I couldn't capture it next to a standard lizard to show the size (probably because they wouldn't go near it), but this was at least twice the size of any of the others!



The highlight of a couple of hours on a boat to the north of the island was diving into the cool Atlantic for a swim.  On the way, apart from a few Common Terns and the occasional Gull, numerous Cory's Shearwaters were the only other species seen - these were taken with a 300mm lens as they came close to the boat.




Spanish Sparrows were relatively numerous on the island - check out the bill on this one!:




Superb Monarch butterflies were very common, providing a spectacular colour display especially when flying over the azure pool (next time...).





Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Recent Images From London Wetlands

Bad hair day for Heron - Bath Time!




A couple of Bee shots:



Longhorn Beetle:


Wren with food: