Garth Peacock
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Nothing exciting

Tuesday 17th October 2017

An update from the last few weeks

Wednesday 4th October 2017

Iceland - Day 11 - Thursday 15th June 2017

Tuesday 26th September 2017

Iceland - Day 10 - Wednesday 14th June 2017

Monday 25th September 2017

Iceland - Day 9 - Tuesday 13th June 2017

Monday 18th September 2017

Iceland - Day 8 - Monday 12th June 2017

Thursday 14th September 2017

Iceland - Day 7 - Sunday 11th June 2017

Monday 4th September 2017

Iceland - Day 6 - Saturday 10th June 2017

Saturday 2nd September 2017

A quick visit to Norfolk

Saturday 19th August 2017

Iceland - Day 5 - Friday 9th June 2017

Tuesday 1st August 2017

It's the start of the wader season

Friday 28th July 2017

Back to Norfolk

Friday 14th July 2017

A break from Paperwork

Saturday 8th July 2017

May Summarised

Wednesday 31st May 2017

Another Norfolk trip

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Minsmere RSPB Suffolk

Tuesday 4th April 2017

View Blog Archive >>
Tuesday 17th October 2017

Nothing exciting

So far this month, I have graced the outdoors with my presence three times, but it's rather obvious that my presence was not appreciated by the results.

First was a visit to Lackford Lakes in north Suffolk, about half-an-hours drive for me, target Kingfishers. The main hide for photography is the Double Decker Hide but volunteers were clearing reeds not far from it so no birds. Moving on to the Reed Hide, I was surprised to find that a large clearance had taken place and, more-over, the place was filled with photographers. I found one place and settled down but nothing came so I moved on and had lunch, returning early afternoon to find the hide even busier so I went home. Result for the day - zilch.

Last Thursday, 12th October, I decided to try the Wildlife Trust reserve at Welney where over 30 Common Cranes had been reported. First port of call was the observatory but with a total absence of birds surprisingly. The reason soon became apparent when someone put up a ladder to the front - probably attending to the outside floodlights so I moved on to Lyle Hide where there were two groups of Cranes although rather distant. Deciding to stay in this hide, there was some activity worth pressing the shutter button for - just.

Apart from the photography, it was fascinating to watch the interplay between the various birds in the group - pity they were so distant. My final tally was 28 birds.

I then switched to the Whooper Swans that had been displaced from their usual place in front of the observatory. This is really an annual visit for me and I have loads of photos but regular flights and landings were worth capturing.

So nothing really exciting again but at least something to make the day worthwhile.

Yesterday, after reports of a juvenile Osprey at Holkham Park Norfolk, I made my way north to see if my luck had changed. Finding the lake, the bird soon made a distant flypast and disappeared north. Someone said that it always perched in a dead tree opposite where I was standing and would soon return - well it didn't so I followed the lake bank and found a small group of photographers. They had been treated to a great session of dives where they had some superb images - but the bird had gone.

After a couple of hours, it returned but was kept distant by some mobbing Jackdaws and a Red Kite but at least I managed something for my trouble.

Returning  towards the car park, a birder pointed to the bird, very distant on the top of a dead tree, eating a fish - it had caught it in a dive right in front of him a few minutes earlier. Someone is having a laugh at my expense!!!

Obviously my luck had not changed significantly so I took a couple of images of an Egyptian Goose as a very poor consolation prize

October is supposed to be one of the best months for birding and bird photography - well it has been a disappointing month for me so far. It can only get better.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 4th October 2017

An update from the last few weeks

At last, after finally completing the editing of the photos from my Iceland trip, I have been able to catch up on the editing of images from several more local and recent visits. I have found that the RSPB reserve at Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire has been rather rewarding during the past five or six weeks.

The first visit during this time was 24th August that was deathly quiet during the morning with the action starting early afternoon with a pair of Reshanks really going at it.

This went on for over 10 minutes before one flew off defeated.

Shortly after, a Common Sandpiper appeared

with a rarish Pectoral Sandpiper giving a decent display.

A juvenile Sparrowhawk upset everything but landed for a brief period in front of the hide.

but the Spoonbill stayed distant.

The following week, I visited north Norfolk but little of interest except for a lone Bar-tailed Godwit at Thornham, moulting into winter plumage

and some flying around the beach at Titchwell

So the following week, on 12th September, I revisited Frampton Marsh but rather disappointing except for a Great White Egret showing and feeding well.

and even showin the difference between it and a Little Egret

and eventhe Little Egret getting in on the act.

The following week, I went with a friend to Hornchurch, Greater London where a Spotted Crake had been reported but several hours  of patiently waiting proved rather fruitless as it did not come out into the open, despite the excellent weather.

So back to Frampton Marsh again where some excellent close shots of a Spoonbill had been taken, but sadly, it did not appear for me at all. In fact the morning in the East Hide was very quiet except for a Grey Heron flying in

until later on when a Little Stint suddenly made an appearance, followed by three more, all feeding in front of the hide.

and followed by a juvenile Ringed Plover

but by then the sun had moved round and with nothing at the other hide, I went home early.

To finish this blog, last week I went to north Norfolk again wth precious little to show for the visit except for a Spotted Redshank at Thornham harbour that was surprisingly co-operative.

That brings me up-to-date. A mixed bag with some sucesses and some disappointments, but that is wildlife. Hope you have enjoyed the last few posts which have only included just a few of the photos taken. More in the Recent Additions section of this website.

Tuesday 26th September 2017

Iceland - Day 11 - Thursday 15th June 2017

This was the final day for photography as we were due to leave mid-morning for the long drive back to Reykjavik. Weather dull and raining. I opted to re-visit the hides on the private lake to try to get some flight shots of the wildfowl - a mistake as the weather did not improve.

I managed a few high ISO shots of a Long-tailed Duck.

A Scaup in wing-flap

and the surpise of the morning, a small family of Wigeon, the ducklings probably only recently off the nest as they had not been seen before.

We left in time for breakfast and packing.

Overall views of the tour? Excellent in many ways. Danny Green and Paul Hobson were excellent leaders, giving advice and suggestions to get better images. Personally, I would have preferred more locations to widen the scope of species available but the unpredictability of the weather was the governing factor so we had ample opportunities of good photos at all locations.

Disappointments - no close-ups of Great Northern Diver or Ptarmigan that I was hoping for but that is wildlife photography. I am particularly pleased with the images of Harlequin Duck and Barrow's Goldeneye, neither of which are available in the UK.

Would I  go on another trip to Iceland? Probably not on an organised tour. The best way is to hire a motorhome and 'do your own thing' but there again, I am almost certainly too long in the tooth to do that these days.

It was tiring due to the long hours in the field and Iceland is very expensive so be warned. However, I am really pleased that I went and also rather pleased that I have now completed the editing of the thousands of photos so can get on with others.

Monday 25th September 2017

Iceland - Day 10 - Wednesday 14th June 2017

Sunshine at last for our penultimate day in Iceland so we decided to return to the pond off Lake Myvatn to get better shots of the Slavonian Grebe. The summer plumage definitely requires sunshine to bring out the colours.

Another early start to see the sunrise and with it billions of flies, not just small midges but house fly sized and they covered everything. At one stage my camera and lens were completely covered but I was prepared and had a head net to keep them off my face. Thankfully, they were not biting flies but still a nuisance. Well, Lake Myvatn is Icelandic for Lake of flies and it is the flies that attract the birds so there is the benefit.

First to appear was the Red-necked Phalarope - catching flies.

and then the real target bird appeared, the Slavonian Grebe

came very close, having got used to us before

and even showed it's boredom with being photographed

The Red-necked Phalarope totally ignored us

and carried on feeding.

We were then treated to real closeups of a pair of Scaup that unexpectedly flew in, first the female

followed by a far more cautious male

We almost missed breakfast but this was an excellent session.

Later on we returned to the River Laxa with Redwing around the car park.

and on the path up the side of the river, a Redwing chick.

Harlequin Ducks still performing nicely

so back to base for dinner and returning to the River Laxa for the evening session

On the way, the usual Reshank was performing on a roadside post, as if I hadn't enough already but I can never resist a decent shot

and a Snipe being particularly photogenic

Back at the river, I left the rest of the party and walked further up the river bank and found a quiet part of the river with Barrow's Goldeneye in one corner. This was one of my target species as Iceland is the only place in Europe where they can be found. Creeping up on hands and knees, I found a spot overlooking the area and managed some shots of the unsuspecting group

and they even came closer for individual shots of the male

and the female

Returning to the main river, I even managed a shot of the Harlequin Duck perched on an island in the middle of the river race, one of the sought-after shots but the high river level meant that there were few islands so opportunities were scarce.

Anyway, an excellent day overall.

 

Monday 18th September 2017

Iceland - Day 9 - Tuesday 13th June 2017

Another day in the area around Lake Myvatn. This time we were in specially constructed hides on the bank of a private lake, starting the day at 06.00 again. Weather cloudy and some rain, far from ideal for photographing birds in water but, once agin, we made the best of it.

Plenty of wildfowl, in particular Scaup that spent some time near the reeds on the opposite bank so a better background than grey water.

Mainly drake Long-tailed Ducks but they were in the middle of the lake so a plain backdrop.

Late morning, we went back to Dettifoss to try to find Ptarmigan that should have been common but none in evidence at all. Close views of Whimbrel.

very common in Iceland and usually quite nervous but this one was very tolerant.

And then a diversion where we eventually found one Ptarmigan perched on a rather distant outcrop of lava.

Whoopee - my first Ptarmigan after spending a whole afternoon on Cairngorm in Scotland with a guide a couple of years ago and still not seeing one. A result for me

Finally, back to the River Laxa for the evening but nothing really to show for it as the cloudy weather made any photos quite uninteresting except for a Red-throated Diver that popped up in front of me in the rapid part of the river - quite unusual.

Sun forecast for tomorrow!!!!!