Garth Peacock


Catch-up time on nothing much.

Monday 12th March 2018

A trip to Northamptonshire

Tuesday 27th February 2018

What a delightful surprise

Monday 5th February 2018

What a week it wasn't

Sunday 4th February 2018

Week ending 19th January 2018

Monday 22nd January 2018

First outing of 2018

Monday 8th January 2018

A snowy start to the week.

Saturday 16th December 2017

Sucesses and failures in equal measure

Wednesday 13th December 2017

A morning of common birds

Sunday 26th November 2017

Wicken Fen Cambridgeshire

Tuesday 21st November 2017

The past ten days.

Thursday 16th November 2017

Birdguides Photo of the Week

Wednesday 8th November 2017

A week in pictures

Friday 3rd November 2017

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

View Blog Archive >>
Monday 12th March 2018

Catch-up time on nothing much.

Since my last blog, two days out have produced virtually nothing. Well that is how wildlife photography often goes.

My friend and I were looking to try somewhere different. Locally, there is very little of interest and Norfolk is also very disappointing at present. Anyway, an acquaintance suggested we try some of his haunts in Hertforshire so on Friday23rd February, that is what we did with our friend guiding us.

First stop was a churchyard where some Hawfinches has been photographed over recent weeks - well not for us. Sightings at the top of distant trees was the  closest we got. Next, on to a place called Tewinbury. All we saw were a few Canada Geese but at least they put on a mating display.

Next to Amwell with nothing showing at all except a rapid fly-past Sparrowhawk. I really surprised myself by getting one shot worth keeping.

The plan was to finish up at the RSPB reserve at Rye Meads. Well, quite amazingly we found out it was closed on Fridays due to staff shortages. Well done the RSPB - certainly not the organisation it once was. Seems the larger it gets, the less it thinks of it's paying members!!!

And then we were hit by the 'Beast from the East'. In Cambridge, we were not badly hit but the surrounding areas were so no chance to get out. There was one bonus however. The poor weather was forcing one of most attractive winter thrushes, the Fieldfare, to visit gardens for food so I set up my small feeding tray with an old log screwed to it, placed on it some sliced apples and waited. The first day nothing but on Saturday 3rd March, there was one that stayed all day, busily defending the food from all others. Opening the conservatory doors, I was able to get some decent shots.

Finally, last Friday (9th March), we revisited the north coast of Norfolk. Nothing that we planned for worked out, including the weather so all that I managed was one shot of a Linnet.

Things must get better - well, couldn't be worse!!!

Tuesday 27th February 2018

A trip to Northamptonshire

It has been three weeks since my last update, what with my partial immobility due to my leg problems. It appears I have either an inflamed tendon or a trapped nerve. Anyway, I think there is some improvement.

So my outings have really been confined to short walks to hides where I could sit in relative comfort. I have wanted to try a new venue - a hide at Barnwell Country Park just over the county border in Northamptonshire. It is a woodland hide so bright sunshine was not the ideal due to the strong shadows but we made the best of it.

Nothing of rarity value but there were repeat visits by several Nuthatches.

Also several Marsh Tits.

and the real bonus, a Treecreeper feeding on the ground in front of the hide, often too close to focus,

but eventually, it did perform on a nearby log.

Before we went home, we had a look round the rest of the park, with a drake Tufted Duck very conveniently in the sunshine. A very common duck so not one that I have taken much notice of for several years so these were probably my best photos of the species.

The next day, we decided to go to the Nene Washes at Eldernell where some Short-eared Owls had been performing. These Owls are diurnal - mainly hunting during the daytime - usually appearing mid afternoon. Three did but kept their distance due to four very noisy photographers that talked incessantly and very loudly. Disappointing so very few photos were keepers. This is one.

On 21st February, with the weather uncertain, I revisited Barnwell Country Park, this time on my own. It was cloudy this time so no problem with shadows. I set up some photogenic logs in front of the hide with some carefully placed food and waited. I had the hide to myself for most of the time so very relaxing.

The usual visitors appeared. Chaffinch

Great Tit


Reed Bunting


Marsh Tit

These were some of the best photos I have taken of these species so I was well pleased. Then a surprise, three Mandarin Ducks appeared and started to feed.

These were originally a far eastern species naturalised into this country but the male is very colourful. Not so the female.

The male became very inquisitive of my camera clicking away.

Shortly after this, a real bonus - a beautiful male Siskin appeared from no-where to feed for several minutes.

What a morning this was so I limped off home very happy.

Monday 5th February 2018

What a delightful surprise

Those who read this blog may remember that way back in November, during a visit to RSPB Lakenheath, I was fortunate to photograph a pure white leucistic Wren.

From time to time, I submit photos to the Birdguides website and was very pleased to receive Photo of the Week

Well, it gets better. I found out last week that this photo has been included in the final 10 for the choice of Photo of the Year. Birdguides receive thousand of photos every year so to be included in the final 10 is quite something.

Results awaited.

Sunday 4th February 2018

What a week it wasn't

The past few days, I have been dogged by a troublesome right leg, painful to walk on, that necesitated a visit to the local Physiotherapist. Keep off the leg as much as possible was one of the recommendations, especially not carrying heavy camera gear. Some hope there!!!!

Anyway, I decided to confine my visits during last week to the local sites where hides were just a short walk from the car. First off was the back end of Wicken Fen on Tuesday 30th January. I was very pleased with the shots I managed there in December and the weather was very similar. Unforunately, the birds were not. A pair of Coots has set up territory in front of the hide and took great exception to any intruders so visits were few and far between. So I shot the Coot (figuratively speaking) and it turnd out to be one of my better ones of this very common species.

A pair of Gadwall braved the war zone, the female appearing to show off in front of the male

and immediatley afterwards, the male reciprocating.

A 'little brown job' made a brief appearance in the reeds next to the hide for a couple of shots but I was then distracted by someone coming into the hide so forgot about it. Going through the photos on my computer, I was rather pleased to see that it was a Cetti's Warbler, not exactly rare but very difficult to photograph because of it's skulking habit.

By lunchtime, I had had enough so returned to the car. A male Pheasant was feeding in the field so I took a few shots. It was only when I got home that I realised that I had not photographed one for some years - too common to bother, I suppose.

On Thursday late morning, I visited Grafham Water to sit in the hide for a spell. Nothing close, no photos so wasted time.

Friday morning, I arranged to meet a friend at The RSPB headquarters in Sandy for a spell in the hide there. He very graciously drove me to the hide from my car and back so I was hoping that the morning would be fruitful. Quick answer - it wasn't, so we were reduced to trying to make something decent from the common stuff.

By lunchtime, we had had enough so called it a day.

Well that is wildlife for you. At present it is very hard work to get anything of note. This week, what with one thing and another, I am giving it a rest. Hope that next week improves.


Monday 22nd January 2018

Week ending 19th January 2018

Despite the adverse weather, I managed to test my camera gear twice last week. The first on Tuesday 16th was to re-visit Santon Downham in Suffolk (well on the Norfolk/Suffolk border really) to attempt better shots of the Parrot Crossbills. Being of the crossbill family, and feeding in the seeds of cone pines, they need to drink every hour or two and they had been reported comin in to drink in the puddles of a car park where we had photographed them before in December.

Once again, we only just had time to set up and they arrived, giving excellent views, first a male

and then a female

My shots of the female were substantially better than I managed last time so the trip was worthwhile, despite the disappointment of the Otters not making an appearance worth excercising my trigger finger for.

My next trip was to the Welney Wetland Centre, just up the road from me, despite being in Norfolk. I have been suffering with a pulled muscle in my right leg recently so did not relish too much walking and this seemed to fit the bill.

When you look back on old photos, they are often not up to current standards so it is useful to have the opportunity of replacing them with better ones. This is particularly true of common species that I often ignore in the field thinking that I have enough photos of them anyway. This trip to Welney was such an opportunity, particularly Pochard with the striking males.

and the less colourful females.

The flock of roosting Black-tailed Godwits was disturbed by an unseen predator.

A very close juvenile Whooper Swan.

and finally, some fly-by Bewick's Swans.

I was particularly pleased by these, although rather distant, as, being winter migrants from the Russian tundra, they are quite scarce this year.

After this, the weather became quite overcast so time to call it a day.