Monday, March 29, 2010

You Dancing?

At present there seem to be lots of Great Crested Grebes posing nicely for photos showing their famous weed dance. I've seen it a few times - mostly at quite long distance, although once in my fishing days I had a good view at a small reservoir near Warrington. In terms of pictures the smaller the water the better really, as they seem to me to tend to be a bit shy.
After a morning watching the adders in the Forest I moved on to a spot Chris G had mentioned, to see if I could get any views of the grebes, dancing or not. Well it turned out not, but I did get some nice views. As this pair were already nest building and, if you look closely, mating (see below) it may be that they got their bonding out of the way a while ago. Or maybe I just wasn't there at the right time. Still I'm not grumbling, as these are miles and away the best shots of great crested footy arses (for anyone who's been with me from the beginning of the blog!) I've managed so far in my fledgling snappery.
These last few shots have an almost painterly quality. Relatively underexposed there seems to be some noise, as though the ISO setting was much higher than my standard 400.
To round a good day off I went to have a look at a long tailed tit's nest in the failing light. For the first time I used my new remote trigger for the camera, allowing me to sit well away from the nest, but still get some pre-focused shots. The low light means the quality is iffy, but the set-up worked as well as I could have hoped.
As always check the web albums for better quality views

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adder additions

Some more shots of adders enjoying the sun on Sunday as much as I was. There were at least 4 alongside a well trodden path at a nationally known birding site, but most people were completely oblivious to their presence - even to the one with the mountaineering pretensions halfway up a a gorse bush!
Despite the excellent light it proved remarkably tricky to get any decent shots with that wonderful forked tongue protruding.

As always better resolution shots in the web albums - just click the link to the right.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Still struggling to get some decent adder shots, but these are a step forward at least. As always better views in the web albums, along with some more (and dare I say it better) shots of the water rail.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Never ignore a muddy puddle!

I've posted before about my love of t'internet, and I really do wonder how I ever got by without it in the past. Take this weekend for example. I'd seen some sightings on a website, followed through with pictures from another, googled a venue and directions, checked to see that the weather was cloud heading in from the east and decided to head west into darkest Glamorganshire rather than try for frogs in the forest. I reckon it might still be a bit cool this year for them, but who knows.

Anyway I arrived at the venue and knew where to go from the sightings page. First glance wasn't hugely inspiring - a bit of a muddy puddle. Actually that's not fair, there was an area of mud in the middle of a small pond surrounded by reedmace. No sign of the target, and at first some doubts about where I could go to snap it/them. The pond wasn't very big so a few steps down I was peering into the reeds when a small, skinny chicken like bird shot out the back into the trees. Cursing mildly under my breath I looked again at the pond, the light and found somewhere to tuck in and wait. Shortly two water rails appeared at the back and drifted away again. Fingers crossed. I only ever saw one at any time after that, but the light shone (mostly) for a couple of hours and I got some snaps. At times the rail was so close I couldn't focus, let alone frame it. They are busy birds and many pictures were just a bit blurred even at 1/800th sec, but I was pretty pleased with the views I finally ended up with. Well worth the welly full of water (I didn't go in too deep, but ended up kneeling in the water with one knee for too long. As well as a very chilled knee when I stood up all the water that had wicked into my trousers ran into the boot. Still, I got the angles!).

(Bit frustrated with that last shot. I'd framed the one before to get the reflection but when it moved I didn't reframe enough - it did happen quite quickly - and snipped the crown off the reflection)

As you can see the moorhens eventually plucked up the courage to make an appearance as well.

These pictures are definitely better viewed HERE in the latest pictures album.
Use the slideshow feature for best views.