Garth Peacock
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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

Two visits to West Norfolk in one week

Wednesday 29th March 2017

The UK's most easterly point

Tuesday 28th February 2017

Fortunes improved - finally

Tuesday 21st February 2017

Last week in not-so-many pictures.

Monday 30th January 2017

My first day out in 2017

Thursday 26th January 2017

Locally based for a couple of weeks

Friday 23rd December 2016

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Saturday 19th August 2017

A quick visit to Norfolk

Not much wildlife photography recently. A family holiday with the grandchildren in Tenerife last week was a very pleasant interruption to my activities but last Wednesday, I just had to get out after a couple of days catching up with the effects of sun and rain on the y noe, overgrown garden.

So off to the closest place for a quick visit - north Norfolk and Titchwell in particular. Of course, Norfolk in the middle of the school summer holidays is not the quietest place on the planet but I left late, arriving early afternoon, aiming for a visit to the beach and then late afternoon and evening in the hides.

Not much from the first hide on the way through - a couple of feeding Shelduck worth a shot and 13 Spoonbills doing what they do best - sleeping!!!

Not much on the beach either, just after high tide, until I noticed some Sandwich Terns feeding off shore - rather distant but I had few shots of this species anyway.

It was great fun trying to follow them diving into the sea, failing miserably because the distance meant that the auto-focus kept picking up the background waves but eventually, I caught one just emerging from the dive.

Back to the freshmarsh where something disturbed the Spoonbills.

Unfortunately, they flew away from the hide and did not return. One of these days, I may get a decent close-up of one.

Just in front of the hide, it was calm and with a blue sky so quite photogenic although only common birds around.

Anyway, an enjoyable time if not too much to get excited about.

Tuesday 1st August 2017

Iceland - Day 5 - Friday 9th June 2017

Nearly two months have gone by and I am still only half-way through editing all the photos from this trip. Anyway, day 5 was the first full day at the glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon. We arrived early, before the tourists had arrived, to the usual cloudy skies but that should be beneficial as it was possible to take avantage of the light given off by the icebergs.Tried this theory out on a drake Eider.

When it started to get busy, I moved away from the lagoon to the large colony of Arctic Terns but first to take my eye was a group of non-breeding Barnacle Geese. These are seen in the UK but considered to be descendants of escapees so not really genuine. Iceland has several smallish genuine colonies in this area.

It was obvious that photographing Arctic Terns against the grey skies was a non-starter so the background became important to ensure reasonable images.

During this session at the tern colony, it started to drizzle so time to return to the hotel for breakfast.

Late morning, we returned and I concentrated on the Snow Buntings around the car park. Snow Buntings are quite common as winter visitors to East Anglia but not in breeding plumage. In summer, the males are very smart and also very confiding.

and even a female briefly showed as a respite from sitting on the nest.

I eventually noticed a female Eider sitting on her nest right next to the path used by hundreds of tourists.

Still drizzling but back to the tern colony for a second session.

Even they were getting wet.

but the rain did not stop them from doing what birds do at this time of the year.

We returnd for the third session of the day after dinner, when most of the tourists had gone. First to show was a Sabine's Gull, a rarity back home.This one kept it's distance, perched on icebergs

but then took flight.

As the evening progressed, the light from the ice became more pronounced, lighting up the underwings of the terns

and providinG interesting long range shots.

The Terns were feeding from the lagoon and eventually, my attempts to get an interesting shot paid off - at 10.30 in the evening.

Time for bed - a tiring day overall.

 

Friday 28th July 2017

It's the start of the wader season

Last Monday, I had a call from a friend to see if I would like to go to Frampton Marsh RSPB in Lincolnshire as some migrant waders has arrived, namely Red-necked Phalarope and Pectoral Sandpiper.

About this time of the year, the waders that migrated to the north for breeding are beginning to return on their southerly migration and with the common species, there are often rarities that loose their way and migrate down via Europe rather than the Americas. Pectoral Sandpiper is one american species that is quite regular. Red-necked Phalarope is another rarity but I have hundreds of shots of those taken in Iceland and not yet processed so that was not an attraction for me.

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The Pectoral Sandpiper was of interest but I was more keen on going for another one that was showing rather well at Titchwell on the Norfolk coast so off we went. Weather cloudy and dull.

Arriving we headed into the reserve, looked closely at a small flock of Dunlin but the target bird was not there but after a while, we found it, feeding near the path. This meant taking photos from the raised path so looking down on the bird - not ideal - so care was needed to achieve decent shots.

The bird helped a little by going out into the clear water for a bathe and a preen but it was still dull and cloudy.

After that we went to the beach but found nothing really photographable, returned via Parrinder hide where we found a moulting Curlew Sandpiper, recently arrived.

Another try at the Pectoral Sandpiper on the way back that produced nothing extra of note and that was the end of the days photography.

 

Saturday 22nd July 2017

Iceland - Day 4 - Thursday 8th June 2017

Day 4 was a day of travelling. We left our rather basic accomodation in Selfoss at about 8.00am and drove Eastwards. The first stop was at a typical Icelandic tourist attraction - an enormous waterfall called Seljalandsfoss, very popular with landscape photographers.

I got prepared with my Canon 5D MK4 and the 24-105 f4 lens, excellent for landscapes, and took some shots. It was an impressive waterfall and very busy with tourists, especially Chinese.

So why are there no photographs of it here? Simply because I have no ability what-so-ever to take decent landscapes so those images will not see the light of day beyond my computer.

There were many Fulmars flying around and Paul Hobson suggested taking shots of them flying across the waterfall - something I would not have thought of - the difference between a professional and an amateur - seeing the possibilities. So I had the wrong lens - but had a go anyway.

After an hour or so, we moved on, stopping at the next tourist hot-spot, Skogarfoss, another enormous waterfall, and with Fulmars flying too. This one was not as busy, tourist wise and with the 7d mk2 and the 100-400, I was ready for another go at the Fulmars with more success.

Moving on, we stopped at a roadside service area near Vick in rain and a little sleet but some Redwings were singing in the nearby bushes - worth getting slightly damp for.

And then on to our next accomodation near the tourist attraction of Jokulsarlon. Booked in at the the only nearby hotel - really good this one. Rooms comfortable and food good. Wish I could remember the name of it.

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After dinner we did an evening recce at Jokulsarlon. It is the largest glacier in Europe, leading to a large glacial lagoon, full of icebergs that had broken off the glacier and slowly melting before drifting down to the sea through a relatively small channel. It was amazing.

We spent some time on the beach photographing the icebergs (once again, for my computer only) before returning to the lagoon where we witnessed another amazing sight - a feeding frenzy amongst the icebergs by hundreds of Arctic Terns. It was late (11.30pm - yes you really can shoot for 23 hours a day) and cloudy so I took some record shots but it was impossible to show the real spectacle.

Time for bed but I must confess I was excited at the thought of returning to this awesome place tomorrow.

 

Tuesday 18th July 2017

Iceland - Day 3 - Wednesday 7th June 2017

Time is passing rather too quickly. The photos that are the subject of this blog report were taken 7th June - 6 weeks ago - still, better late than never!!!

Day 3 of my Iceland trip was also spent entirely at the Floi Bird Reserve. This was our last day before moving on and Red-throated Divers were to be the main subject.

The long access road to the reserve produced more Redshank sitting well. I have loads of Redshank images so it is time that I replaced some older ones.

There were also herds of Icelandic Horses in the fields.

An unusual subject but I was rather fascinated by the fact that they are direct descendants of those imported by the Vikings when colonising Iceland in the 8th century, and they are unique in that they have 5 gaits, two more than normal horses. A quick Google will reveal all, but interesting enough to warrant a photo, I thought.

Arriving on the reserve, it was grey and cloudy but a Whooper Swan family rapidly noticed us and made off in the opposite direction.

Arctic Terns were feeding on the ponds

and a Red-throated Diver gave us a shake but this was the sum total for the morning.

Arriving again early afternoon, the sun was shining so we settled down by the side of a pond where there was a Divers nest. The adults feed in the sea so there are comings and goings if one is patient.

However, the first to show was a male Red-necked Phalarope, noticeable because it is less brightly marked than the female - unusual for the avian world.

After a while the main subject made an arrival with a small fish fry,

and proceeded to call it's mate from the nest.

Surprisingly, she did not appear so he ate the morsel and paddled around looking lost. Then it became obvious why she had not appeared. When she did, it was with a recently hatched chick

Was he showing his pleasure with this pose, or just showing off in front of his chick?

It was time to depart for dinner, and return mid evening for another session, with low sunlight and that orangy glow, so liked by landscape photographers.

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The drive down the access road produced a Whimbrel.

We settled down by another pond with a different pair of Divers, not wishing to be too intrusive to the first pair.

Not too long, and we were treated to a take off.

An Arctic Skua was hunting in the distance

and then flew right over us.

By now is was getting rather late. The absent Diver made a quick return splash-down, taking us all by surprise as it was getting cloudy and gloomy. It swam around with a Sand Eel in the gloom, diving and then surfacing right in front of me so I tried a different shot

and it then proceeded to present the catch to it's mate on the nest.

This last image was taken approching 11.00pm so time to head back to the hotel.