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

Monday, 26 September 2011

Grey Heron Image Featured on Guardian Online

A shot of a Grey Heron I took last year was featured in this weeks Guardian 'In Pictures' theme 'Mirror':

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2011/sep/23/readers-pictures-mirror#/?picture=379409204&index=4

Wildlife shots don't often feature in these images, although there is always a very interesting selection and worth a look every week.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Norfolk Day 2 - Peregrine Brings Down Racing Pigeon

The day started with a quick visit to Walsey Hills and Cley, where it was very quiet.  After a stop at Wells Quay for some decent coffee, it was on to Titchwell.
With nothing close to the hides (not surprising given the shop window in one of them which keeps the waders at a good distance!) I headed straight down to the beach and walked up to Thornham point.

A Peregrine had a fresh kill on the beach.  Unfortunately I didn't see it until quite late as I was looking out to sea.  I tried to walk back up to the dunes to walk around it, but it flew a little distance with its prey and resumed eating. 


After it had stripped the bird and flown, I went to have a look at what it had caught.  It was a racing pigeon, with standard ring and racing tag which suggested it was in action when killed.  I unfolded its primary feathers and found a telephone number which is often stamped onto racing birds. Having taken its ring details I thought it right to inform the owner.


The bird was in mid-race from North Yorkshire to Suffolk; the owner lived in Ipswich.  It was one of two from this owner, and this one was already late back.  He was clearly disappointed but grateful for the news, and quite philosophical of its demise in what is all part of the hazards of racing.

Further up the beach a few Brent Geese flew east good number of Sanderling and Knot came in close as the tide receded (I achieved a long sought-after shot of a speedy Sanderling mid-run!).











Norfolk Day 1 - My Favourite Walk

A couple of recent days in North Norfolk started with my favourite walk - Cley to Blakeney point on the North Norfolk coast.  Starting at 6.30am (I think I even beat the seawatchers to the car park) I got all the way to the point before seeing another person.  Blakeney Point really is one of the few areas of wilderness left in England.


All the action was on the sea.  Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Red-throated Diver were seen on the way out, although the highlight was the sheer number of Gannets passing East.  During the six hours I was on the point, at least 5,000 - 10,000 must have passed:




A couple of young Seals were resting on the shingle:


There were more people than birds on the point as a boat had just landed for a quick stop.  I headed back with a single Hobby, and Gannets and Skuas passing at regular intervals.


A few Dunlin were on the shingle, and a single Whimbrel was found near Halfway House:




Back at Cley, a distant Grey Phalorope was on the pools.  A Marsh Harrier came over one of the paths at one point just close enough to get a decent shot of a bird that always tends to stay just out of range of my lens:


Later there was time for a quick walk around the Wells end of Holkham, where thousands of newly arrived Pinkfeet were congregating in the fields at sunset:








Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sparrowhawk Aerial Combat

This Sparrowhawk at London WWT on 3rd September was mobbed by a Crow and a Jackdaw for a few minutes before it had enough.  It suddenly turned and went straight at the Crow, hitting it mid-air. The Jackdaw made a quick getaway, the Crow wasn't far behind it.




A few minutes later the same bird was chasing a Green Woodpecker out of a tree.  The Sparrowhawk wasn't having a good day, surprisingly the Yaffle out- flew it across the lake:




A good number of Migrant Hawker's were around, difficult to capture without a lot of distracting background, so I had a play with dropping the light right down:





Friday, 2 September 2011

No Sign of Rut in Richmond Park, and Some Very Little Grebes

Having lived in London for over ten years, I thought it was time to pay Richmond Park a visit! Bank Holiday Monday might not have been the best choice; I thought I had driven into some kind of vortex of Oxford Circus, the Tour De France and the London Marathon. 

However, it was quite easy to leave the crowds by simply walking away from the perimeter paths.  Away from the tight fitting gaudy Lycra wearing cyclists, the wildlife highlights were of course the deer. We came across a herd around the south side of the park.  They were sitting in the shade and were attended by a number of Jackdaws. 





Once they were on the move I managed to get a few shots of the spectacular stags.  There was no sign of rutting yet,  just some amateurish practicing from the younger males.








On the previous day at London WWT,  a couple of young Little Grebes were fishing very close to one of the boardwalk paths.  I hadn't seen many young Grebe's at the site this summer, either I completely missed them or these were second broods.  Some of the Little Grebes were very young.