Garth Peacock
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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

Iceland - Day 6 - Saturday 10th June 2017

Saturday 2nd September 2017

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

View Blog Archive >>
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.

 

 

Monday 8th January 2018

First outing of 2018

It has been three weeks since my last blog, due to the Christmas break and a rather nasty dose of the flue that many people have caught. Despite first coming down with it three weeks ago, it is still lingering althouh not really affecting me that much now so the worst is over thankfully.

So, after a long time without use of the camera, and suffering withdrawal symptoms, last Friday I decided to brave 2018, but with an easy trip to the RSPB headquarters at The Lodge Sandy for a quiet morning in the hide. Did not expect too much, but getting out was important for my sanity.

Usual common stuff there that gave me the opportunity of replacing some of my older photos that are no longer up to scratch.

Magpie

Long-tailed Tit

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Stock Dove. I have always found these very difficult to photograph anywhere else as they are so shy but not so here.

A rarish male Brambling made a brief visit

and a Blackbird and Blue Tit bathing.

I was hoping for a Sparrowhawk to visit - it did with a fly by and a landing on the perch for a split second so no time for a shot - disappointing so after three hours I had had enough and returned home.

 

Saturday 16th December 2017

A snowy start to the week.

last Sunday, we woke up to the current rarity of a fall of snow, covering the trees and bushes in my garden. An opportunty to get some photos of garden birds with a different background. An other advantage is that I can do it in comfort from my bedroom window.

A couple of hours resulted in a female blackbird

male Chaffinch looking quite bedraggled.

a Goldfinch

Collared Dove

Wood Pigeon

 

and a Blue Tit.

Quite a pleasing effort and somthing different, finally finished by a few Redwings that descended on my Cotoneaster tree.

Then the sun broke through and put an end to the session as my rear garden faces south.

This is almost certainly my last blog of 2017 so a Happy Cristmas and successful 2018 to those who follow mthisblog with my sincere thanks for your interest.

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Sucesses and failures in equal measure

The last couple of weeks have seen highs and lows for me. It all began on Tuesday 28th November with a visit to Santon Downham in north Suffolk. A flock of Parrot Crossbills were feeding in the area and I had never photographed them before.

They are very similar to Common Crossbills but slightly larger and with much deeper bills. They breed in northern Europe in pine forests and only occasionally migrate to the UK during winter.

There were loads of birders around so it was easy to find them but they never came close so only distant shots were possible but at least it was a new species for me. The males are quite reddish in colour with the females a pale green.

So that was that - a partial success.

After that, I had two trips out - to North Norfolk and to Fen Drayton Lakes with all images being deleted so two failures - well that is wildlife photography for you.

Finally, I revisited Santon Downham on Friday 8th December for another go at the Parrot Crossbills. This time we changed tack and went to another car park with puddles. All Crossbills feed on the seeds of pine cones so must drink regularly so the thought was that they would come to drink in the puddles.

Arriving, there were several people already there and they confirmed that about 10 had been to drink about 10 minutes before but there was a larger flock around and they arrived shortly after we had parked allowing decent shots of both males

and females

After they had left, we decided to wait for another session and this was where the trouble started. The flock arrived in nearby trees, but so did loads of birders/photographers that really had no idea of what was going on - walking in the puddles they wanted to drink in, hanging around without thought for anyone else except themselves and certainly no consideration for the birds. Absolutely disgusting behaviour by both birders and photographers so that the whole session was a complete waste of time as the birds did not come down to drink in these puddles.

After that, we made our way to the picnic area to park and have lunch. It is close to the River Little Ouse where Otters had been reported. We soon found a lone Otter, probably a male, near the far bank

that decided to fish in front of us.

So, overall, a decent successful day to make up for the previous failures.

 

Sunday 26th November 2017

A morning of common birds

Last week was a strange week. I was busy on sunny days and nothing to do when the weather was not conducive for photography, except for Friday - sunny and calm - but with nothing out of area to make a trip worthwhile, I decided to revisit Wicken Fen to see if I could improve my stock of photos of common wildfowl.

Sometimes, we overlook the enjoyment of trying for better of shots of everyday subjects.

The previous Friday, Charlies Hide produced some encouraging results so I returned there for another session, hoping to fill in some gaps from last week.

Although very slow this time, a drake Gadwall eventually made an appearance

a drake Shoveler also paddled into the frame.

Even Mallard were worth a shot - much underrated because of there commonality - but looking very striking in the sunlight.

Finally, a drake Teal posed.

with nothin else of note, after lunc, I moved acreoos the lode to Burwell Fen to see if any Owls were in evidence - unfortunately no - but a male Kestrel was a substitute.

Nothing really exciting, but an enjoyable day never-the-less.

A few more imaged in the Recent Additions section