Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Back to Bretton


Depending on your point of view, Bretton Lakes Nature Reserve has recently been either revamped or vandalised. Today was my first visit since the not-so-grand re-opening and the first thing to hit me was the exponential rise in visitor numbers. I'm far from being an expert but I can't see how this can have a positive effect? I suppose only time will tell and we will be able to make more of a judgement when the next breeding season starts?

The sun was already sinking below the horizon when I arrived so, birdfeed at the ready, I made straight for the hide. All the usual suspects were around and were more than happy for me to sit close to their feeding stations to get some pics.

Photographically, the bad light meant high ISO settings and low shutter speeds hence there was plenty of noise and motion blur on the results.

After much post-processing here is the best of what I captured...


(Wren, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Blue Tit and Chaffinch)

















Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Lanzarote


I've been to Lazarote a few times in the past but that was before I got into bird photography so I was looking forward to this trip.

The first time I had a drive around made me realise that getting close to the subject wasn't going to be easy, mainly due to the lack of trees and other natural cover. So the car was going to have to make do as a hide. Thankfully I brought a beanbag with me so at least I could get a fairly stable camera window rest.

My first outing produced a grand total of nothing but after that things slowly improved.

By far the most common and friendly bird was the Berthelot's Pipit. These were around practically everywhere and were happy to come really close to me.





I didn't want to leave the island without seeing a Houbara Bustard. I'd no idea what they looked like or how big they were so when I saw this bird creeping around in the undergrowth I thought I'd found my target, only for it to turn out to be a Stone Curlew.





















The next time I came to this area the Houbara Bustard did turn up.




It might have been fortunate for this fella that I was around as waiting on the rim of the valley in which I was sat in were this pair and their dogs.

They were to my right. To my left there had been some guys on loud trail bikes which resulted in two Bustards being driven (intentionally?) towards the hunters. I was roughly in the middle and both the birds doubled back when they saw me. I like to think that my presence might have spoilt the hunter's fun!











A few of the other photos that I managed to get before returning home...

 Cattle Eagret
 
Sardinian Warbler Male Spectacled Warbler

Common Whitethroat Female Spectacled Warbler

Thanks to Roy for pointing out my ID mistakes. I even checked the female on WAB and still got it wrong!



 Great Grey Shrike



Trumpeter Finch



Eleonora's Falcon Common Kestrel

 
Hoopoe




Monday, 29 August 2011

Brazil - Toucans

I did plan to visit the Intervales State Park during my visit to Brazil, which by all accounts is an excellent place for birding but I didn't manage to get there. Consequently there were very few photo opportunities. However I did decide to take my camera and a 300mm lens along with me when I visited one of my company's plants about 40 miles from Sao Paulo city.

It proved to be a fortunate decision as shortly after I arrived 3 Toucans landed in a tree not far from the entrance where I was waiting for our hosts. After a mad rush inside to get the camera they were still there so I managed to get some shots.

This pair seemed intent on having a bit of a scrap...



Whilst the other one looked on with amusement?





Thursday, 18 August 2011

Brazil


Work has brought me all the way over to Sao Paulo for a few weeks so I thought I'd better take the camera along and try to grab a few shots of the local birdlife. So far the only place I've managed to get to with any greenery is a local park, which as far as I know is called Parque Ibirapuera.

It was a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon and very busy with the local humans but I did manage to get a few bird photos. Here they are along with my best guesses (courtesy of Google) as to their identity...


Kiskadee

                    


Black Swans



                                                                             Southern Lapwing

Billy the...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

France Part II - Trailcam



I'd been wondering if these things were any good since I saw them being used on a wildlife program on TV. So I decided to take the plunge and fork out the best part of 200 quid on one to take on my trip to France.

Here are the results.

I think the first one is a young and very nervous Roe Deer.

video


Later on and after it got light an older Deer appeared for a short time.

video


This Fox appeared on the first night but it didn't quite know what to make of the jam sandwiches that I'd left out as bait for the Pine Marten.

video


Finally and after several blank nights my main target - the Pine Marten - showed up. Normally a nocturnal animal (or so I thought) it appeared before it even got dark.

video


The Pine Marten made one more appearance, this time in the dark where it appeared to show some displeasure at being filmed!

video


For several days I had been putting food (mainly nuts) out for the birds in the hope that I could tempt some Woodpeckers down onto a tree stump to photograph them. I never saw as much as a sparrow but the food kept dissapearing as though it had been hoovered up. So I decided to set the trailcam up on a tripod to try and capture the culprit..

..it didn't take long...

video

Saturday, 11 June 2011

France

My third trip to Perassay in Central France has been met with a bit of unseasonal weather. In the week leading up to our visit the temperature had been over 30C but since we arrived it has dropped back into the teens! This has curtailed the wife’s sunbathing but no matter as the birds are still around in their usual numbers!

However the Golden Oriole’s at the bottom of the garden are as elusive as ever and although one did present itself the other day, I didn’t have my camera with me.

This Dormouse came to join us for tea the other night. It was scurrying around above our heads in the roof of our hosts’ gazebo when I managed to get this shot of it eating a bit of ham that we’d left it. I was surprised at the size of these creatures – as big as a Hamster.
















Black Redstart?



Dunno what this bird of prey is but there were about 20 of them circling a farmer’s field as he cut back the grass.


Young something or other…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


A few pics from the garden...



 Hummingbird Hawk Moth



















I took the rest of the photos on a visit to La Brenne nature reserve.

Black-Crowned Night Heron (Hopefully)






















I'm not sure what this is though. It was hunting above the reedbeds which I was sat above inside a hide. I thought it could be a Marsh Harrier but the one I got the other week at Far Ings didn't have a white head!




Reed Warbler