Garth Peacock
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Wednesday 12th February 2020

Thursday 20th February 2020

Slimbrisge WWT Gloucesterdhire

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

Romania Day 4 - 11th June 2019

Thursday 18th July 2019

Romania Day 3 - 10th June 2019

Tuesday 9th July 2019

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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

Slimbrisge WWT Gloucesterdhire

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!!!

Monday 13th January 2020

West Norfolk again to start the new year off

Last Friday, 10th, was my first time out with the camera this year and, in fact, my first for three weeks. A busy Christmas abroad to stay with family, and also around new year staying with family, coupled with adverse weather so I was rather keen to take advantage of the sunny day forecast. Except it wasn't until lunchtime - such is life.

The first effort was to a rather remote part of west Norfolk, Walpole St.Peter, where a rare Lesser White-fronted Goose had been reported. Apparently, it was in a large flock of Pink-footed Geese but they were too distant for photgraphy and even birders with scopes had not seen it.

Next, off to Sedgefield, near Heacham, where a strange Yellow Wagtail was seen. It was reported as an Alaskan Yellow Wagtail but how these people see the difference in the winter plumage of these sub-species is beyond me. Anyway, it showed for a short time but the gloomy weather made photgraphy difficult so only a record shot was possible.

After visits to a couple of the harbours along the Norfolk coast, with nothing of note, I called in to the RSPB  reserve at Titchwell where a Woodcock had been showing. I have never photographed a Woodcock. They tend to be night feeders and roost in damp woodland with their plumage giving such excellent camouflage that it is rarely possible to see them.

This one was on show but deep in scrub. The sun was now shining so deep shade made matters worse but a few attempts resulted in one record shot.

Two new species for the day but record shots only so mixed fortunes.

Friday 20th December 2019

That's the end of 2019 for me.

Poor weather, family commitments and little of interest all conspired for a disappointing end to the year. Not to mention the work we are having done on the house at present.

In the meantime, I have been spending time on my project - to sort out the photos on this blog and get rid of those that are not up to standard. So far, I have deleted nearly 1000 and I am only half way through. I am also taking the opportunity to re-edit the remaining ones so they present better on this blog so it is a big time-consuming project.

But there was a chink of light last Wednesday 18th December. Sunny morning so I decided to visit Stirtloe, near Huntingdon where a Siberian Chiffchaff was found a few days before. With help from a friend, I found the area it was frequenting and waited.

I tested my camera settings on a Goldcrest.

and got excited to photograph a Chiffchaff

but then saw that is what it was - a Chiffchaff - but the Siberian Chiffchaff soon made an appearance and showed well.

and even sat on a branch in front of me and preened for a while.

A result as, despite at least a couple of other failed previous attempts, this was my first photos of one.

I then moved on to nearby Grafham Water but the only real opportunity was a Rook on the grass. Common enough but it is so east to overlook good photo opportunities if common species.

The weather was getting cloudy so I went home early afternoon, well pleased with my short trip out.

So to all readers of this blog, a very Merry Christmas and good health and fortune for 2020. See you next year.