Garth Peacock


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

5 days of not a lot

Saturday 4th May 2019

Week ending 26th April 2019

Monday 29th April 2019

The last couple of weeks or so

Wednesday 17th April 2019

Wales - Day 5

Monday 15th April 2019

Wales - Day4

Thursday 11th April 2019

North Wales - Day 3

Tuesday 9th April 2019

North Wales - Day 1 and 2

Sunday 7th April 2019

View Blog Archive >>
Tuesday 10th September 2019

The final catch-up

It seems that it has taken ages for me to get caught up on the editing of my photos. Well, yesterday I manged it so this blog is the catch-up.

A couple of visits to Frampton Marsh RSPB Lincolnshire, neither being too successful, the first on 15th August. Any activity seemed to be confined to the area to the north of the 360 hide with a small flock of Dunlin.

But mostly it was opportunistic shots of flying birds. Black-tailed Godwit;

and Canada Goose

and the Sand Martins - mostly ending up in trash. Our target bird, Curlew Sandpiper was always too distant.

The following week, on 21st, we tried again, still with flight shots,

and a couple of Ruff in front of the hide;

ansd then our target, Curlew Sandpiper, just as the sun came out.

After a couple of long weekends away, on 2nd September, I decided to spend a couple of hours or so at my local RSPB Fen Drayton. Not expecting much, I was not disapponted, the only opportunity was just as I was leaving with a covey of at least 30 Red-legged Partridges appearing on the access road but only one real opportunity for a shot without spooking them.

Finally, on 5th September, I visited Grafham Water, spending the morning on the dam.Surprisingly, the birds there totally ignored me. A small flock of Dunlin

with some juvenile Ringed plovers;

and even a few Yellow Wagtails.

The water level was too low for any decent photography elsewhere so I went home early. The current spell of dry weather in East Anglia has, so far, coincided with the autumn wader migration which hasn't helped Cambridgeshire as many of the local haunts are bone dry. If this weather continues, I can see a trip to Norfolk on the horizon, especially since it should now be much quieter as the school holidays are over.


Wednesday 4th September 2019

Post Romania

With the sorting of my photos from the Romania trip taking so long, together with a family holiday and other family commitments, opportunities for me to grace the birding world have been rather few and far between. So I have lumped three rather unremarkable trips into one blog.

Firstly, I said that I would report back on the unidentified Egret species from Romania. Well, it was not a Great Egret, and not really a Little Egret, so, after comparing it with some photos on the web, I have settled on a white morf version of a Western Reef Egret, similar to a Little Egret but the legs are yellow and black, not all black. It is also called a Western Reef Heron. Here is the only photo I have.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Now to the trips. 12th July, a friend and I went to North Norfolk. First stop was at Burnham Overy Staithe to photograph the Swifts that nest in the building behing the harbour.

Loads of photos from the mornings efforts, most of which went into the trash - well they do fly rather fast!!!

Next to RSPB Titchwell to the beach as I had heard that there are sometimes Little Terns flying past,

and some Mediterranean Gulls on the freshmarsh. A few adults

and juveniles too.

Next trip was 17th July to the RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen. Making straight for the hide, a Juvenile Bittern was showing well, even taking exception to a passing Moorhen.

But, apart from some good opportunities to photograph Dragonflies and Damselflies, the only other bird was a juvenile Great Crested Grebe.

With the waether changing we were home just after lunch.

The first week in August and it was time for our annual family holiday with our two sons and families, this time in Maspolonas in Gran Canaria. Not a time for photos but I did manage to squeeze in my 100-400 lens, converter and the 5d mk4 camera.

Just a short walk from the hotel, there was a freshwater lake called La Charca that was reputed to attract birds. So after a couple of days, with the rest of the family enjoying the hotel pool, I took the camera to see what I could find. Disappointing. The lake was very brackish, with the feeder stream dry, having suffered from the lack of rain in the mountains. Quite a few dead fish due to the lack of oxygen.

Also, the only vantage point was the promenade that was much higher than the water level but, surprisingly, a Greenshank showed well but photos had to be carefully taken as I really hate photos that look down on the subject.

Apart form a few juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls loafing around, there was a strange duck species that looked like a Ruddy Shelduck but was much too pale. It showed well during a couple of visits, once with a mate that had a broken wing.

From home, after investigation, it was indeed a Ruddy Shelduck but the plumage was most probably pale due to the lack of vitamins in the brackish lake. I have only ever photographed this species once before, at distance, so, despite the odd plumage, I was quite happy with it.

As I said earlier, some unremarkable trips but that is the joy of wildlife photography.


Tuesday 27th August 2019

Romania days 8,9 &10 - 15th, 16th and 17th June 2019

During the long drive from the delta to our new base in the Carpathian Mountains, we managed a few stops on the way, one of which produced Lesser Spotted Eagle, distant, but another new species for me.

After depositing suitcases etc, in the hotel, we went to the first of the three hides to photograph Brown Bears. After a steep and arduous climb, this hide was deep in the forest but we saw our first Bears, a black male and a brown female. High ISO was the order of the day.

The next morning, we went to the next hide, still in the forest and very much overcast but the best photos came from the final hide, reached after, shall we say, an exhiliarating ride in the FWD. Here, the sun came out and the bears put on a display for us,

even just in front of the hide

and a fangs bared display between a mother and her almost adult offspring.

The next day, it was the long drive to Bucharest airport, but still stopping on the way for a roadside Great Grey Shrike

and one of the many White Stork nests in the area but this photographable from an elevated vantage point.

Overall, this was an excellent photographic trip, well organised by Sakertours and with two excellent guides. I could even be tempted to do it again.

Saturday 17th August 2019

Romania Day 7 - 14th June 2019

The last day actually in the delta. Leaving the hotel early morning, the first to appear was a roosting White-tailed Eagle, waiting for the sun to warm the air.

We found another pair of Red-necked Grebes, this time preparing a nest.

This time, we only found the usual suspects again until we were returning to the hotel for lunch and eagle-eyed Zoltan noticed a perched Purple Heron. Always very shy, the boat approached very cautiously until we were able to get full frame shots before it flew off.

I was delighted with this as I have never managed a decent shot of a Purple Heron perched, always in flight.

After lunch, back to another lake where a lone Pygmy Cormorant also totally ignored us getting close.

Plenty of Black-necked Grebes still around, also in various stages of the nesting cycle, some still building, some on eggs and some with young.

Finally, while watching a lone White Pelican, we noticed that it was  re-acting to being harrassed by a Black-headed Gull.

A quick change of converter for a really close shot.

The photoboat was quite an experience. Although only 4 photographers and flat bottomed, it was necessary to time the shots between others moving about and also watch any wind-blown waves so there were plenty of duff shots but the facility to get in close to the subjects was amazing.

Tomorrow, it is travelling time. An hour and a half on the boat to Tulcea, pick up the minibus and then several hours drive to the Carpathian Mountains to photograph Brown Bears.

Friday 16th August 2019

Romania Day 6 - 13th June 2019

This was the first of two full days on the Sakertours photoboat. We started off just after dawn to a large lake where we stopped in the middle with nothing in sight. Zoltan, our guide, then began throwing  out the odd fish. First to arrive was an adult Pallas's Gull

with a White Pelican not far behind.

We than had a busy time with flight shots of both as more came in to see what the fuss was all about.

We then made our way into a channel where Zoltan knew of a Penduline Tit nest. It was really tucked away - how the driver got the boat in there was amazing. It was in shadow with no suitable perches but I did manage a shot of the bird leaving the nest.

Further up the channel, we searched for a Little Bittern, finding an adult in the reeds but very shy.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Wildcat den and, surprisingly, mother and two kittens were out and not at all disturbed by the boat getting very close.

After lunch, we headed for another lake, with a White Pelican the first to show closely

It was quite amazing how the birds were unfazed by the boat getting close.

We then saw an Egret that refused to move off it's perch. At first I thought it was a Great Egret and almost ignored it but after a couple of shots, when reviewing back home, I realised that it was not a Great Egret, nor a Little Egret. The closest possiblity is a Western Reef Egret but this is unconfirmed at present. Further news later.

We then moved on to a colony of Whiskered Terns.

The boat then pushed it's way though some reeds into a smallish pool where Zoltan knew of a pair of Red-necked Grebes with young, one of my target species. When the boat appeared, they took no notice what-so-ever, allowing close shots.

Approaching dusk, Squacco Herons were quite numerous, really showing well in the 'golden hour' before dusk.

On the way back to the hotel, another visit to the Wildcat den where the mother was showing very well in the dim light, necessitating a high ISO.

The mother has been proved, by DNA sampling, to be a true Wildcat. It has not been possible to test the kittens yet so their origins remain unresolved.

Now the backing up of the large number of photos taken today, recharging batteries and myself with some well-earned sleep.