Sunday, 21 February 2010

Birding in Beds

This weekend I decided to keep birding in Beds and spent time at East Hyde, Broom, Stotfold and Arlesey.

East Hyde:

the firecrest was obviously feeling the cold and did what both Ed and I wanted to do - stay in bed!!
a heron was a hundred times more showy (Identical photo to Ed's!):Broom:

whooper swan was still present:A pipit sculking around the waters edge got me excited but turned out to be a mipit - a very friendly one though:Also friendly there was a mute swan:Stotfold:

the corn bunts are still there in large numbers:but there is one bush in particular that is great for photographing reed buntings and I intend to go back there earlier in the day some time:
Today I took a walk down the river in Arlesey and produced a few local goodies;

5 common buzzards were nice to see soaring and calling to one another above Arlesey.

there are still plenty of snipe in the flooded fields, I saw 10+. Here is the best I managed in the way of photos though as they are very wary:A little egret was frequenting the area and seemed to pop a few times.

The resident grey wagtail didn't fail to impress as it hovered over the water catching flies. I think that action shot is one I will try and capture; it's going to be hard though. here are 2 AWFUL photos for now though:In the alders along the river a large flock of goldfinches concealed a single lesser redpoll. You're going to have to trust me, this is a redpoll:A wren was copying the wagtail as it caught gants over the river, always returning the the shade though!...bird of the day was a semi-confiding water rail (I did see 2 though which was great):It always remained secluded and in the shade though and ran off when I tried to get closer but I had great views of it scratching about in the reed from a distance.

After calling mum to put the oven on I made a swift return to the car but not without takng a few pics of a pair of blackbirds that were frantically squarking at me:
There was a real feel of the begining of spring in the air; lots of bird song, whirlygig beetles and other insects and not to mention I was cooking in a coat!


Sunday, 14 February 2010

40D's last trip out......

On Saturday I took the 40D out for it's fairwell trip before the arrival of the very exciting 7D!!!

Started at Salthouse and after driving through sleet and snow on the way I wasn't too confident about the weather! Still it was OK giving a a few patches of lovely sunshine and the rain showers intervals happened to be when I was in my car stocking up on food!...

Snow Buntings:A little attempt at wide angle and I managed to scare away possibly the most confiding birds in Norfolk:Finally managed some teal shots I'm hapy with too (during one of the sunny spells):and a pied wag came for a pose:A ringedd plover was also there but I only managed this record:Common Gull having a bath:With nasty looking clouds rolling in I decieded to go to Tichwel but on the way it became very sunny again, staying that way for a little while when I was there:

Sanderling:out of focus Bar-tailed godwit:Knot:better records of the mealy redpoll:As I was leaving the sun came out again as I was watching a barn owl hunting - lovely stuff.
It was still a fair bit out of my lense's range so I have attempted something with more space in it:I quite like this one, it's just a shame about the branch in the forground:Had a quick stop at chosely drying barns and saw corn buntings and yellow hammmer on the way home:

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Canvas Print

I recently got this photo put on to canvas and it is now hanging in my hallway. Very pleased with the result - it look's great.

I used and the service waas great too - I recommend them!


Monday, 8 February 2010

Norfolk day trip

Had a great day trip to Norfolk on Sunday. We started the day just before 6am when Ben picked myself and Ed up in Bedfordshire. We then had a few hours drive (made a little longer by Ben’s native voyage with the use of a sat nav…) to Tichwell.

On arrival we were welcomed by a dull, gloomy and overcast day along with a hoard of confident robins!

After fighting our way through the robins we arrived at the visitor’s centre where a brief glance for the mealy redpoll drew a blank. From here we walked straight to the sea and instantly noticed a huge raft of common scoter through the mist numbering in the several hundreds:

Also on the sea we saw a few Velvet scoter and Eider.

The beach had the normal suspects but there was no way I was getting cold and wet in the surf, like I usually do, to photograph on such a dull day.

Here is a ‘distant record shot’ of the only glimpse of blue sky we had ALL day!!

Exciting stuff!!

On the way back to the visitor’s centre we saw a nice spotted redshank eating what looks like a stickle back…

And a water rail scratching in some leaf litter under the shade of a tree…hence the flash!

Another little flurry or excitement came from a weasel bouncing through the grass near the path – great stuff!!

We also picked up a Bittern flying in from the distance,

Here is an arty/awful photo of it:

And a simply awful one when it came closer:

When back at the visitor’s centre we made a beeline for the bacon sarnie dispenser and whilst munching I noticed a flock of goldfinches in the alders above our heads. On first glance the mealy redpoll revealed itself in the flock, a lovely classic grey individual.

From here we drove to Salthouse to photograph the snow bunting and any waders that were hanging around.

Although the light was grim we made the most of it by spending a few hours playing around with 2 female snow bunts and a confiding dunlin (where were the 80 bunts reported a few days ago??). Just before we left a big flock of snow bunts came flying over heads and joined the meagre two that had kept us company for so long.

We couldn’t leave now!! So continued shooting for a further 20mins in the rubbish light – good fun……..


My fav snow bunt pic of the day:

A few classic poses:

an Unusual pose as it preened:

Close up:

Even Closer Close up:

Scratching it's face:

Great camoflage on the pebbles:

not a great pic but what a lovely male:

Male teal:

We then headed to Whitlingham CP in hope of catching up with the Red-Necked Grebe, GNDiver, Scaup, Ring-necked duck and Smew.

We didn’t spend long there but connected with the Grebe and Diver. They were both rather close and I can see how the long focal lengthed people have managed such fantastic photographs – a return visit on a nice day might be in order. Here are my average shots of the grebe and records of the diver:

After this we went to the Stubbs Mill watch point hoping from some cranes. It soon became apparent that we had left it too late as several had already been past. Good numbers of Marsh harrier a few hen harriers and a Harris hawk were nice to see though.

My photo of the day was almost this shot of the dunlin with Ed in action behind.............but the star photo has to be this lovely depiction of Ed’s failed attempts at wide angle photography using a wireless remote….


It was a good day out and some great birds, thanks Ben for driving!