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

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bird of the Year?

My bird of the year 2012 - this stunning Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll at Aldburgh in Suffolk. It is a real character, feeding within feet of the many visitors.  At one point it flew and landed at my feet.







Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Waxwings by Chance...

On the way out of Nottingham on Sunday, by total chance I passed a group of people with 'scopes and cameras pointing at an empty berry tree.  This could mean only one thing.  I quickly joined them and didn't have to wait long for a brief but spectacular experience.....







Friday, 23 November 2012

Cemetery Avenue Fatal for Waxwing

In Sheffield, Cemetery Avenue is often a good spot for Waxwings.  This year there are huge numbers around the city, probably well over 1000, with 100-150 visiting this street at the moment.

A recent Saturday produced over 100 birds late in the morning.  The birds came to feed regularly from the taller trees on the road.  Cautious but not shy, the Waxwings would drop down quickly for a brief feeding frenzy on the Rowan berries before moving back up. The larger the flock, the more apprehensive and flighty they seem to become, as a result they often quickly move on.


 
 

Unfortunately the birds are feeding only feet from the windows of adjacent houses.  As the large flock went up one time, a huge bang was the sound of one bird flying straight into what it thought was clear sky.  Having hit the window it was killed immediately and fell to the ground.

Inspection of the bird shows its true beauty, the detail on the wing is fascinating to see.  In particular, the red drops extending from the secondaries show where its name is derived - the red drops of sealing wax.

 
 




The bird is now residing in my freezer.



Friday, 2 November 2012

Autumn Images

Here are a few images from a couple of all-too-brief October visits to the Norfolk coast, and a day at unique Spurn Point in East Yorkshire.

A grey early morning at Snettisham, North Norfolk, with a high tide pushing the waders towards the shore:

 
 
 
 
 
 
A single Knot:
 
 
 
 
 
Little Egret at Titchwell, North Norfolk:


 
 
 
 
 
Sanderlings:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bearded Tit at Cley, North Norfolk:
 
 
 
 
 
At Spurn in East Yorkshire, whilst looking for a Black Redstart, I came across this beautiful male Red-breasted Flycatcher on the beach.  I believe this arrived following a heavy hail storm a few minutes earlier:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Black Redstart: 
 
 
 
Short-eared Owl, at dusk, Kilnsea, East Yorkshire:
 
 
 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Owl Surprise

This beautiful Short-eared Owl was a very pleasant first for me at the WWT London. It flew in across the main lake but didn't stay.





Unfortunately, having arrived at the site, it was quickly hassled by several Jackdaws, a magpie and even a Heron joined in.  As a result it departed to the south.


 
The owl (or a separate bird) was present an hour later briefly but was again mobbed and forced high before departing.

Rutting in the Dark

Last weekend I managed to get to Richmond Park far too early, and found myself stood in the park in the mist, in complete darkness.

It was quite eerie, as the Stags started bellowing well before dawn.  It seemed to take some time for the sun to come up, which maybe wasn't a bad thing.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

BuidGuides Photo of the Week

I was delighted to have my recent Spoonbill image from Titchwell selected as Photo of the Week:

http://www.birdguides.com/iris/pictures.asp?gallery=1&mode=potw


 
 
 
Birdguides Commentary:
"Over the last three years, London-based bird photographer Tom Hines has uploaded almost 400 images to BirdGuides, two dozen of which have been selected as Notables. Alongside his more traditional shots of both common and rare birds, Tom likes to include some 'alternative takes' on his subjects, often featuring unusual crops of the birds to create powerful compositions, some of which have been among the most memorable uploads we've ever had. The reason these images have power is that they are simplified into a minimal number of elements and these elements are placed for maximum visual effect. Tom's latest example features a close crop of an overflying Spoonbill, with the line of the bird's outstretched neck and distinctive bill placed off-centre and parallel to the side of the frame, splitting the negative space of the blue sky along a third-line. Along the bottom of the frame, the perpendicular leading edges of the wings complete a rectilinear composition not often found in bird photography. This bold and graphic image finally earns Tom his first Photo of the Week."

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Spoonbills

After a couple of visits to Norfolk this year, I was beginning to to doubt that the increasing population of Spoonbills were actually real.  Every one I had seen to date was stood motionless, asleep on a distant island.

My luck changed early on Saturday at Cley as a group of these superb young birds flew west over the marshes:





Later at Titchwell I was lucky again as a single individual flew off the freshmarsh straight overhead: