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Monday 28 January 2013

Goosander (Female)

I found this female Goosander on the smallest of the lakes in the Parkland today.
The Goosander is sawbilled duck that dives for fish in freshwater. 
Although predominantly a freshwater bird, it does visit the sea as well.

It was diving for fish and occasionally getting mobbed by Black-headed Gulls when it surfaced with a fish in its beak.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Prickly Underfoot

The one certain place you will find the Goldfinch at this time of year is perching amongst the dead Spear Thistles. They eat the seeds found in the dried heads of the thistles.

The trick is to get close to the birds to be able to take the photographs. Spear Thistles are mostly out in the open in the parkland area where I normally walk and approaching them without disturbing the birds is the difficult part. One should never intentionally disturb birds when they are feeding especially with the extreme cold temperatures at present. They need all the food they can get to maintain energy and body heat. I kept my distance for these shots, even so these birds are instantly recognisable in any surroundings. 

Saturday 26 January 2013

Robins Glow in the Snow

With the current snow fall lying around it makes for interesting variations in light. 
The snow (even though there is not much light) will enhance and reflect available light on to subjects, like the Robin below.

You can also get a different effect when there is a covering of trees over the subject and a darker ground area, but the snow is to the rear of the subject. It doesn't light up the subject so well, but it provides a softer finish.

Thursday 24 January 2013

A Snail Connoisseur

Mr Thrush working at his Anvil

Lumix G3. 100-300mm lens. 1/320 at f5.6. 300mm. ISO800

The Song Thrush will search for and eat Snails especially when the ground is hard and worms are in short supply. It will use the same location to take the snails to and smash their shells open. It often uses the same stone on the ground in a concealed place to do this. If you find an accumulation of broken snail shells then you have located the stone. Hence the term used for the stone, "The Thrush's Anvil".

Friday 18 January 2013

A Parkland Walk

Images from my latest Parkland walk. 
During yesterday morning it was a lovely sunny clear sky, but for various reasons I was not able to go for a walk until the afternoon. Just as I arrived in the Parkland car park the sun disappeared having been covered by a blanket of dull grey cloud. As a consequence the light was awful for photography.

I met another Birding colleague on arrival who advised me where I could see some Waxwings, so I made my way towards that location. Apparently there was another Birding colleague who had been taking photographs of the birds. (More of that later)

The scene below was typical of the conditions during the rest of the afternoon.

A few Fieldfare were observed at various locations during the walk.

This Dunnock was looking for food, unfortunately I didn't have any with me on this occasion.

This Robin was all fluffed up to protect against the cold.

Just two Wigeon were observed on what was left of open water on one of the frozen lakes.

On arriving at the location where the Waxwings had been observed, my fellow Birder had taken his photos and left. See his excellent shots here.  Mike   Nice shooting Mike. 
I have only ever observed Waxwings on two occasions (Both of which have been in the Parkland) and on both, the light and weather has been very dull and not conducive to good photography. 
So the few I have posted are the best of a bad bunch.

Mute Swans on Ice

Not quite so elegant as in the water.

Just a few more Waxwing shots.