Garth Peacock
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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

Romania Day 2 - 9th June 2019

Monday 24th June 2019

Romania Day1 - 8th June 2019

Friday 21st June 2019

Great Grey Shrike and others

Thursday 6th June 2019

The last ten days or so

Sunday 26th May 2019

Good weather at last

Friday 17th May 2019

View Blog Archive >>
Monday 2nd December 2019

Disaster strikes

A catalogue of bad luck and a disaster in the past three weeks have led to no activity to speak of.

The first week after my last blog was very poor weather - dull, dreary and wet with very little wildlife of interest. There is little point in wasting time in the field to take photos that are inferior to the ones I already have so I did not bother until the following week.

First was a walk around my local RSPB reserve at Fen Drayton Lakes for a few hours on Monday 18th November. It was sunny so I went for the excercise so I only took my 100-400 walk-about lens. I expected very little and got nothing.

The next day, I went to Wicken and Burwell Fen. This is where disaster struck as my camera etc. fell off the shelf in the hide. I knew that the converter was knackered but everything else seemed OK but there was still nothing to photograph and no Short-eared Owls on Burwell Fen either.

I decided to go out on the Friday but this is where my camera packed up completely so off to the Canon repair centre at Elstree. I took it in on Tuesday morning, got a text the same day to say that spare parts were awaited and then another text at the end of the following day to confirm that all was completed and ready for collection. That is service so I collected it all on Thurday morning and returned home £500 lighter. Ouch!!!

So last Friday, I went to Grafham Water to test it out. First on the dam where a Pied Wagtail was feeding.

A Common Sandpiper was around but far too flighty to get a photo. Next to the hide off Mander  for lunch and to see what was around. The usual Cormorants were drying off on the fence.

Three Common Gulls were also perched on the fence.

and finally, a pair of Goldeneye's paddled in front of the hide.

With nothing else around, I went home to check on the computer that all was well with my gear which I think it is.

 

Saturday 9th November 2019

It's still very hard work

This should be the time when the winter migrants are appearing in numbers to keep up the interest levels. Whether it is due to global warming or just unusually warmer weather on the continent I would not like to say but the expected flood of winter migrants is just a trickle.

Due to family trips and poor weather, I have not been out for 10 days so, in desperation, with decent weather last Monday, on 4th November, with nothing else of real interest, I went up the road for a couple of hours or so to the WWF reserve at Welney. The last time I visited, it was almost dry but this time, in front of the observatory, it was almost wall to wall water with only a couple of Whooper Swans. They were all feeding on Lady Fen due to the high water levels in the washes.

When there is only the usual species to see, I try to achieve something different with my photos, or, at least, rather better than the ones in my catalogue - not always successfully.

A close Whooper Swan.

The usual male and female Pochard.

And the only surprise, a Wigeon in front of the observatory hides.

Nothing at all from the other hides - not an inspiring trip.

So the same problem arose for Wednesday which I had planned for a trip with a friend. Where to go.

We decided to go to Barnwell Country Park in Northamptonshire which we had not visited for many months. If you take your own feeder food, it is possible to attract birds in front of one of the hides. We spent some time setting up the perches from old logs that were available and had some success with the common species. Blue Tit

Great tit

Nuthatch

and Marsh Tit.

For a couple of hours we had the hide to ourselves until a couple came in and told us that three Otters were showing in front of the other hide - quick exit!!!

After a while, one Otter showed distantly but we had fun trying to get good shots of the resident Bank Voles popping out from a pile of logs to grab the food others had placed there.

and a Wren put in a brief appearance.

It became cloudy so, with nothing else around, we made our way home.

Let's hope that the cooler weather brings in something of real interest.

Saturday 2nd November 2019

A quiet month overall

Not much going on as far as photography was concerned during October. Family visits and breaks away, interspersed with poor weather meant that opportunities were few and far between.

My last blog was 11th October and, since then, I have had just the one trip out, on 22nd, and, again, being away meant that I did not have the opportunity to sort the photos out. However, now completed successfully but with nothing to set the world alight, so to speak.

The trip was a speculative one to Norfolk, in the absence of anything in particular to go for. First visit, as usual, was Thornham harbour, where a small flock of Twite had arrived from their breeding grounds for the winter, posing nicely on the top of the old posts.

There were few Knot in the harbour but no photos worth keeping because there was a couple at the next call, Burnham Overy Staithe, that showed well.

Titchwell RSPB was the next call. It rarely fails to disappoint, as it managed this time again but a small flock of Sanderlings on the beach provided entertainment. They run so quickly it is always great fun trying to catch them on mid-stride.

Even time for a quick doze,

followed by a preen.

Now late afternoon so another visit to Thornham harbour on the way home. The Knot were now bathing and preening.

but, again  with nothing else of interest, it was time to head home.

Friday 11th October 2019

Week ending 11th October 2019

A very strange week altogether. As there was nothing more local to entice me, my first trip of the week was to Lackford Lakes Suffolk on Tuesday. I only intended to spend the morning there which is probably just as well.

First visit was to Reed Hide - well I think that is what it as called - to see if the Kingfishers were putting on a show. Typically rather full but I did manage to get a seat. A Great White Egret was feeding relatively close

with a Kingfisher appearing shortly afterwards but left rather suddenly, as did everything else within sight. There was a working party that started to burn the cut reeds within sight of the hides. Well that successfully messed up the morning.

Chatting to a couple of the locals, they said that they would go to 'The stump' to see if anything was happening. I did manage to find them just off the footpath with the stump of a large tree that had fallen down. One had very thoughtfully brought some fat balls that he had inserted in various strategic places with the usual Tits calling in and frequent Nuthatch's.

One of the locals was photographing Bank Voles. This would have been a first for me so, although quite dark (ISO 8000+) I concentrated on them.

Well that was a result so I then called in at the Double-decker hide where a very scruffy Green Woodpecker was feeding.

With nothing else around, I was home by lunchtime.

The next day, a friend and I decided to try Frampton Marsh RSPB. I have rarely been disappointed with this reserve but today was a total disappointment. All that was showing for a shot was a pair of Stonechats and even the male was not co-operative.

Leaving at lunchtime ,we decided to call in at Kings Dyke NR Whittlesey on the way home. That was not much better. I even took a photo of a Grey Squirrel, just to keep the trigger finger in action!!!

A pair of Mallards decided to mate but facing away although the resulting 'Geronimo' action was worth a shot.

There was always Reed Buntings coming in to the feeders but the opportunities for a decent photo were few and far between.

although a male decided to have a preen and a stretch.

Not a particularly inspiring day but that is wildlife photography for you.

 

Friday 4th October 2019

A quiet week

With unsettled weather at the beginning and end of this week, the only day worth venturing forth was Wednesday with sunshine and a light northerly breeze forecast. High tides were predicted for the Norfolk coast so I thought that could be interesting, despite drawing a blank the last time.

It did not start well. The coast road was closed at Holme and a diversion took me to Brancaster so I thought I would start at the harbour at Brancaster Staithe. Not a good idea as the tide was so high it covered the car park. So the only place to go was Titchwell RSPB and that was not inspiring. Water levels in the scrapes were good but only a few Teal were close enough for a photo and, with loads of photos of that species, it was a case of waiting for something to happen. Eventually, a female flew in.

With nothing else around, I walked to the beach where there was quite swell being whipped up by the strong northerly wind so, trying to get something different, I waited for flypasts over the surf. First the usual Herring Gull.

and a Curlew

and finally, a small squadron of Brent Geese, clipping the waves to keep out of the wind.

The afternoon produced nothing of interest and that was the result of the activities for the week - and this is supposed to be migration time!!!