Friday, December 28, 2012

The Beaches - Raptors

Yes, it's back to the US of A (mostly).  Florida is a pretty decent place to see birds of prey, but the views from the beaches this year were just great.  I've already shown snaps of an osprey on the pier, but even sitting on Naples beach there were good views - overhead

and going for fish.  Follow the snaps and you'll see just how close to the bathers the birds were going in.  It has a fish in the last shot.

Even more more fantastic for me was the regular sight of a bald eagle which would come and sit on a tall pine just behind the beach.

 The last and next 2 pics were taken from the beach itself, the rest from under the tree while an osprey wound it up - sadly didn't manage to catch the osprey in frame as well.

Up at Clam Pass several ospreys again used the beachside trees to rest or eat their fish.  All the snaps of the one eating were taken from the sand, and we had brilliant views over 30 minutes while it ate, slept and ate some more, shouting periodically at other ospreys overhead.

Brilliant, eh!  You don't see that at home ................. at least not until a Christmas Day surprise when this buzzard landed in the garden on our 'pergola' bird feeding station!  Kay saw it first while I was out walking the dog, and said the best bit was when a squirrel ran out, skidded to an abrupt halt and shot away again.  She didn't know which of them looked more shocked.  Pic taken with my pocket camera, and cropped for shape only

Now that's what I call a present.  Have a Happy 2013 all - surely a drier one at least.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Not a horned helmet in sight ......

Some more pics from the US to follow, but a temporary diversion as I finally succumbed to the lure of the Scandinavian raiders that seem to be absolutely everywhere at present.  Actually 2 tribes  - glancing out of the window I saw a brambling on the sunflower seed feeders -

but the truth of it is it's the waxwings that just get to me!  My photo galleries must have way more shots of this species than any other, perhaps because I still haven't got THE shot.  But it's also because they are so attractive, so tolerant of snappers and maybe even the fact that their habit of flitting in, feeding for a minute or two and flitting off again lends a certain tension to grabbing each shot.

This flock was just up the road in Chepstow feeding on a hawthorn hedge (bit too twiggy!).  An early start was foiled by a persistent bank of low cloud that filtered out all the warm dawn light I had visualised the night before.  Still at least the birds were there, and they came down close boding well should the light improve.

The light did improve and I did get some snaps,

although I still feel I failed again to find what I was looking for - and no, I don't quite know what that is until I see it.  This next shot  I did like, but tighten in at 100% and it's just not pin sharp, unlike the more static shot that follows.

If you are not completely bored senseless by the dozens of shots weighing down the interweb at present click HERE to see a few more.  And come on ...... don't you just love 'em!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The beaches - shorebirds

One thing we weren't short of on holiday was good beaches. 

Kay tans, but my celtic roots have blessed me with the ability to burn through clothing!  SPF100 proved to work pretty well, but I still grilled quite fast, the ideal excuse to grab the camera and head off to see what birds were about.  The previous years crop were still around - plover

brown pelican

more snowy egret

and sanderling.

At Clam Pass a small river attracted least sandpipers

and curlew sandpipers (I think - wintering shorebirds not my forte!).

Also at Clam Pass at high tide each day there was a good Black Skimmer flock.  Regular disturbance by beach walkers meant there were opportunities for flight shots, although the wind and sun weren't in harmony for the best lit shots.

Another beach first were small flocks of white ibis.

The final surprise at Clam Pass was a pair of horseshoe crab in the surf.