Sunday, March 30, 2008

Woodland morning

I've had a few mornings in the Forest recently. I did have a particular bird species in mind, I'd heard them whilst exploring one day, but didn't know if they would come down to feed. It became clear that there was a pattern to follow each day. I'd set up the hide and scatter some seed. First down invariably were the squirrels - at least five on most mornings.

At first they were a bit twitchy, but after a while they relaxed and then started chasing each other. Then they stopped chasing each other and started chasing away any birds that came down. Just look at the aggressive intent in that face!

Finally I discovered that speaking seemed to scare them far more than the birds and we finally got some avian action. First birds invariably nuthatches ...............

then jays (five at a time one day) ..............

great tits .................

an occasional woodpigeon .............

chaffinch and their brambling friends ................

and, just sometimes, the piece de resistance the regal hawfinches.

Now how cool are they? For some really good shots have a look at

Chris Grady
and Lewis Thomson's sites

Friday, March 28, 2008

Other northern bits

Clumber Park gets pretty busy at weekends, with the wildfowl gratefully accepting the bread people bring along. The tufted duck struggled to compete with the larger mallards, but then demonstrated a feeding technique I'd not really taken note of before - diving for the sinking bread!

The crows also followed the bread, whilst the squirrel went for seed (I like the lighting on this shot, but the pale grass stem and the seed husk on it's arm just take the edge off it. Not sure it would be very easy to PS the seed.)

Blackbird at Clumber, female brambling in Kay's parents garden.

Meanwhile at Old Moor after a long wait this snipe finally came close enough for some pictures. Amazing how they can probe so deeply with that bill. Sadly the light was going, and the last shot actually shows it seeking refuge from the rain. Still if it's bad light, find a bird that looks ok in a brightened, contrasty shot!

I've got more posts from nearer to home to come in next day or so, but 2 is enough for one night!

Spring is sprung

It's that time of year when the birds start birds and beeing. A trip to Clumber Park found various birds at full throttle. Male mute swan, mallard, coot (falling off the job) were all doing the dominant bit - there is a female under the drake mallard, she's just doing a different version of going down!

Meanwhile the ruddy duck was showing off - sadly a still can't capture the head nodding ......

and the too-distant grebe tried some head shaking then went for some synchronised swimming in a bid to show off ......

sadly the females just slept through it all.

I just ended up feeling vaguely voyeuristic.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Il fait du soleil

Day off work. Sunshine - tricked it you see, wasn't expecting me to be free mid-week. Pleasant if unspectacular morning in the Forest (failing dismally to find any adders). Just felt good.
Heard something at pine cones - couldn't see and started wildly wondering if you could hear crossbills at work. then found the crossbill to be big and hairy.
Long tailed tits at 2 sites nest building. Found one nest, and to be honest didn't try for the other. Duly noted for when they are feeding though - better chance of photos then.
The nest was as lovely as ever - a delicate ball of moss, lichen and spider silk. Try clicking for a bigger view and see if blogger is playing ball today!
Truly for once this year the sun shone!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another eeyore day

Pulling back the curtains, I looked out at the leaden skies sucking every last photon of light from the world outside and thought .......................... it must be the weekend.

Yet again another grey and wet weekend, with the promise of sunshine on Monday and Tuesday when I'm safely back at work. Thank you God.
Still make the most of what you have. There had been a posting of a black redstart a few miles away. As I've never seen one I reminded myself that I do like seeing birds as well as taking photo's and headed off. I'd never walked along Beachley Point before, but I think it holds some promise for bits and pieces on a sunny day - long tailed tits, the odd curlew and some cliche goldfinches.
It never ceases to amaze me how you can turn up at a venue listed on t'internet and stumble over the bird you came looking for. There it was. The light was rubbish, it started raining and the bird was quite flitty as I had no cover, but I had some nice views through the bins and even managed a couple of record shots. (As you will remember 'record shots' means they are crap, but prove you saw it!)

Just think if the sun had been shining ..........................

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bloody Met Office

It was meant to rain on Sunday, so I decided to have another go for the male blackcap, rather than venture out. The 'rain' came twice for about 5 minutes and otherwise the sun shone. Wrong choice! The blackcap remains surprisingly shy compared to the female. It has a look, but must see the camera and after a brief hesitation leaves again. I did have a few visitors though to brighten the day.

Late afternoon after a bit of digging and concreting (if you can't photograph at least do something dirty) I tried to use the late sun, but sadly it went behind the trees all too quickly leaving the second two pictures looking sadly flat in comparison.
Having just seen Dave Slater's recent photo's it makes me wonder why I bother anyway! Still let's see it as a challenge. - boar - common frogs

I've yet to see a boar, but I would wholeheartedly endorse his comments about the boar shot in the school. The animal was trapped and it is no wonder it got agitated, but the media reporting was all from the sensational angle about this potential killer. They'd got the kids safe, so why not try and find another way to deal with the situation?