Sunday, 29 January 2017

Snipe

Yet another overcast and damp day for a walk. 
It did however produce a rare opportunity for me to observe and take a few shots of a pair of Snipe. 
Always difficult to find and even more difficult to get anywhere near. I was fortunate to be inside one of the Bird Hides on the Parkland and got these few images before something spooked the pair and off they went in their typical zig-zag flight. 
Although taken in poor conditions, some post production has made these images reasonably presentable.







An idea of the conditions on the Parkland at this time. 
See the ice flow on part of one of the three lakes. Only crazy people go out in this weather.??



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Meadow Pipit

The Meadow Pipit is a bird of the open fields and often found in small groups out in the middle of grassland. Finding them is not always easy. You can look at a patch of distant grassland and see nothing, look through your binoculars and there crouched low and feeding in the grass are a group of them. Generally they are not that easy to approach and a long lens is needed to get a reasonable image. Sometimes you can get a little closer, but any sudden movement and off they go.

With the extra long hind claw that looks out of place,  even I can easily identify this species.
This one I photographed during my walk this week and was found at the edge of a large meadow.






Sunday, 22 January 2017

Contrasting Days

Shooting nature photography can be quite frustrating especially in respect of the weather.
At this time of year the weather can change overnight and on occasions bares no resemblance to the previous night's weather forecast. An example was two consecutive days in the last week. On the first it was a foggy dull day with light misty rain throughout and not the sometimes 'sunny periods' that was expected. You can see from this distant shot of a Common Buzzard perched in a tree and refusing to fly anywhere, how miserable it was.


Trying to make the best of a bad day I went searching along a river bank adjacent to the Buzzard for Stonechats which I had seen previously in that area. Fortunately I found this male below. I had to conduct a lot of post production work on these images to make them even a little presentable. 











Having had enough of that day I decided to try again the next day in the local Parkland where I walk.
The weather forecast got it more or less right on that occasion and you can see the result.



The female Stonechat which is our Winter resident Stonechat this year was on display and finding plenty of food as well. 
A great shame it wasn't like this yesterday.













Friday, 20 January 2017

Shoveler - Feeding Behaviour

It was interesting to watch this pair of Shoveler Duck this week feeding in the shallow area of one of the lakes in the local parkland. They were working together by spinning around in the same spot with their long beaks submerged in order to stir up the silt at the bottom. Just like an auger. I read that they filter food through the sides of their beaks such as plankton, crustaceans, insects and seeds and squeezed the water out with their tongues.

I did also observe another male Shoveler in a deeper part of the lake diving for about an average of 6 seconds at a time. After about each five dives it would shake the water form its wings. It didn't realise they were diving ducks as well.








Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Cormorant

There are quite a few resident Cormorant around the local Parkland.
This particular one was perched quite precariously on one of the Bouys on the largest lake. 
The wind was blowing at something like 35mph and he was getting blown about.
He was drying out his wings after a spot of fishing in the lake which is something they do regularly.
Its amazing to see the size of some of the fish or eels they get down their throats.









Thursday, 12 January 2017

Snowdrop Time

I went in search of Snowdrops on my latest walk. Its that time again.
Have also included a few bird sightings observed along the way.


Reed Bunting


Tufted Duck


Grey Heron


Nuthatch


Carrion Crow


Shoveler


Canada Goose


Robin


Song Thrush


Pochard