Garth Peacock
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Archive

Could be the last one for a while.

Wednesday 18th March 2020

We are into March already

Monday 9th March 2020

Wednesday 12th February 2020

Thursday 20th February 2020

Slimbridge WWT Gloucestershire

Wednesday 19th February 2020

To end January 2020...

Thursday 30th January 2020

That's the end of 2019 for me.

Friday 20th December 2019

Disaster strikes

Monday 2nd December 2019

It's still very hard work

Saturday 9th November 2019

A quiet month overall

Saturday 2nd November 2019

Week ending 11th October 2019

Friday 11th October 2019

A quiet week

Friday 4th October 2019

A week of mixed fortunes

Tuesday 1st October 2019

The final catch-up

Tuesday 10th September 2019

Post Romania

Wednesday 4th September 2019

Romania Day 7 - 14th June 2019

Saturday 17th August 2019

Romania Day 6 - 13th June 2019

Friday 16th August 2019

Romania Day 5 - 12th June 2019

Wednesday 24th July 2019

View Blog Archive >>
Wednesday 18th March 2020

Could be the last one for a while.

NOTICE. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS WEBSITE IS BEING ATTACKED BY SOME IDIOT FLOGGING FAKE WATCHES AND HANDBAGS ETC. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME - IT IS A TOTAL SCAM SO PLEASE IGNORE ANY ADVERTS THAT ARE NOT BIRDS OR PHOTOGRAPHY. I REMOVE THEM AS SOON AS I FIND THEM.

Now back to business.

Just another couple of trips to test the new camera before the expected close down due to the Coronavirus.

Wednesday 11th March - a trip to Norfolk, firstly to try out the new camera on the Fulmars at Hunstanton Cliffs. They fly very fast and even faster with a strong wind to push them along. After a few dodgy attempts, i finally managed to get decent shots with the 1 DX MK2, and the 500 lens hand held.

and even holding focus on one heading straight for the camera - amazing.

Then over to Wells-next-the-Sea for the juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard - it never came close.

No more photo opportunities after that either.

Final trip was to Welney WT, just over the border in Norfolk. Weather was supposed to be sunny - it wasn't - heavy cloud that did not clear so I was home by lunchtime.

The washes were full so few birds in front of the observatory hides. Only birds of interest were on the feeders - Tree Sparrows - so I indulged myself with them.

Now the real frustration - can I get out again within the next few weeks of close-down?

 

Monday 9th March 2020

We are into March already

2020 certainly seems to be flying by, or is it that I am just getting older!!!

The month started with a couple of trips to my local RSPB reserve, Fen Drayton Lakes. I rarely visit these days because there is not much of interest but a friend informed me that there were a pair of Stonechats around the access road.That gave me the excuse to go and see, even though I already have decent shots of this species.

It took two visits to get what I wanted, First the female.

and then the male.

The problem with this reserve is that it is very popular with dog-walkers, joggers and the like so the birds are often disturbed and wary. This is what happened on my first visit when I noticed a beautiful male Merlin sitting on a post. I managed to get within range and was just focussing when off it went, being spooked by a jogger. I have been waiting 10 years for that shot - disappointment does not begin to describe my feelings.

The second visit was late afternoon and I was very lucky to get a Barn Owl approaching and then hovering right in front of me.

Didn't make up for the lost Merlin shot though.

Last Wednesday, I went to Wex Photographic at Norwich to upgrade my camera. For nearly4 years I have been mainly using the Canon 5D MK4 with a 7D MK2 as the rarely used back-up. I wanted to upgrade the latter and had decided to buy another 5D MK4 but when in the shop, I started to play with the 1DX MK2 demonstrator. I knew that the replacement, the 1DX MK3 was out and in demand but decided that this one was a better deal for me and, after some negotiation, bought one.

So, after poring throught the 564 page instruction manual, on Friday, I was ready to test it, first at Paxton Pits for the flypast Cormorants

and then to Grafham Water, just shooting anything to get used to the camera. Loads of photos and some I was pleased with. Flying Greylag Goose

and some feeding Gadwall.

Finally, I called in at Fen Drayton Lakes on my way home and found a Common Buzzard sitting on a gate that did not immediately fly away.

Still did not make up for the earlier lost Merlin shot!!!

 

 

Thursday 20th February 2020

Wednesday 12th February 2020

Most of last week and all of this week have been an absolute write-off. Weather poor and no birds of consequence. I am quite happy to be out in good weather, even though there are no exciting birds around - you never know what could turn up. But I fail to see the point in venturing out to take photos that are no better than those already in my catalogue.

Anyway, a friend and I had this dilemma at the beginning of last week so I suggested that we went to Norfolk. We had already visited the Alaskan Yellow Wagtail at Sedgeford but the bird did not stay around for long and the weather was dull so I hoped to improve.

Result!!! Sunny blue skies and the bird was feeding on a dung heap in the sunshine for as long as we were there.

We then moved on to Thornham where the winter resident Twite were showing well in the sunshine.

We then moved on to Wells, hoping to see the Rough-legged Buzzard. That is just what we did - see it. It was in the field several hundred yards away but never came close so no photos.

And from there we did not take another photo during the whole afternoon.

That is how it is sometimes.

 

Wednesday 19th February 2020

Slimbridge WWT Gloucestershire

On 3rd. 4th and 5th of this month, a friend and I visited the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust main reserve at Slimbridge. My first visit with the main objective of photographing the Bewick's Swans . There are some around East Anglia but almost impossible to get close to for decent photography.

There were a total of 91 and close to a hide so that part was easy but the weather on the first day was cloudy and dull so few keepers from that day. but fine sunny weather during the next couple of days was a real bonus.

Of course there were lots more opportunities for photography.

Redshank

Pochard

Black-headed Gull

Common Crane

and even Barnacle Goose.

There were more Pintails than I have ever seen - one of my favourite birds.

There were various ponds with other species, some wild and some captive so, at times, it was difficult to sort one from the other.

Here are some more shots of such birds, some obviously captive but still on the British List.

Wood Duck

Bufflehead

Barrow's Goldeneye

American Wigeon

Redhead

and some not so obviously captive.

Smew

Goldeneye

White-fronted Goose

Lesser-White-fronted Goose

Lesser Scaup

Hooded Merganser

For the purists that may read this blog, please ignore those that you think are photos of captive birds but, I still include them in this website as they are passable photos of very difficult species to see, let alone photograph.

More generally, we were both very impressed with Slimbridge, as well as being very surprised that it was so busy, and not school holidays either. Unlike many reserves, as photographers, we never felt that we were  compromising other birders or the many families that were visiting.

The RSPB would do well to study the set-up at Slimbridge and learn from it - far superior to any RSPB  reserve in East Anglia. And we took loads of photos - the reason why it has taken me so long to edit them. Load more photos from Slimbridge, either in the Recent Additions section or in the British and European Trips section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday 30th January 2020

To end January 2020...

Since I am not able to get out again before the end of the month, I am updating the past couple of weeks, the last before February.

Monday 20th January - a fleeting visit to Wicken Fen. Beautiful sunlight for a change so I occupied Billy's Hide on Bakers Fen for a couple of hours in the afternoon. With the reeds as a backdrop, there is a lovely golden light on the subjects. - but I only had Shoveler and Gadwall as company.

The next day, a friend and I went to Frampton Marsh with the object of trying to photograph the resident Merlin which neither of us had previously managed. Surprisingly, the reserve was disappointing - loads of common birds but nothing out of the ordinary at all so it was a case of taking flight shots of anything suitable. There were hundreds of Brent Geese

The occasional Shelduck

and thousands of Wigeon to choose from.

The Merlin made a very rapid flypast, over the reserve and out on to the salt marsh where it sat for an hour or more on a post in the distance - much too far for a photo - so we made our way home as dusk set in.

Last Tuesday, with another friend, I went to Abberton Reservoir, Essex - weather very cold, blustery with some sunshine and some heavy cloud - a real British winters day. First off was Great White Egret in a tree from Layer-de-la-Hay Causeway

and on the opposite side of the causeway, a couple of distant Long-tailed Ducks amongst the thousands of assorted wildfowl. One eventually did something interesting - a wing flap.

We then moved to Layer Bretton Causeway as some White-fronted Geese had been reported earlier - well not on show for us!!! To brighten up matters, we found a couple of drake Goosanders that were feeding not too distantly for a change although the light was not in our favour but I did manage a keeper of one having a scratch.

and finally, a female Smew made a closer appearance.

Overall, not a particularly brilliant end to the month. Fingers crossed for a better February!!!