Garth Peacock
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Archive

The last 10 days or so

Monday 10th May 2021

Something different at last

Friday 30th April 2021

March/April update

Tuesday 6th April 2021

Remembering the highlights

Monday 22nd March 2021

Three weeks of not very much!!!

Saturday 6th March 2021

Minor successes despite Covid

Tuesday 16th February 2021

Desperation strikes

Monday 8th February 2021

Keeping sane during lockdown

Thursday 28th January 2021

2020 - Out with a bang

Tuesday 22nd December 2020

The last month of 2020 - about time too!!!

Thursday 10th December 2020

Another month concluded

Monday 30th November 2020

Another lockdown!!!!

Monday 9th November 2020

What a week - NOT!!!

Thursday 29th October 2020

A couple of weeks to catch up on

Monday 26th October 2020

Mixed fortunes

Saturday 26th September 2020

A week in pictures

Tuesday 8th September 2020

The last few days of August

Thursday 3rd September 2020

View Blog Archive >>
Monday 10th May 2021

The last 10 days or so

Lynford Arboretum Friday 29th April 2021.

The object of this trip was to try to photograph Firecrest where at least two pairs were nesting. Firecrest is one of our smallest birds, with it's cousin, the Goldcrest.

The friend who I went with had been a week earlier so knew the locations to stand and wait. Firecrest is a Schedule 1 bird so using recordings to call them in is illegal during the nesting season so it was patience.

Waiting in a shady glade, a pair got used to us being there and carried on feeding allowing good shots.

A Goldcrest also showed up to join the party.

We then crossed the road and walked to the bridge, placing food on the pillars to see what would come in. Immediate reaction - obviously the birds there are expecting food to be used to attract them in. Ignoring the obvious more common birds, we had Nuthatch, Coal Tit and Marsh Tit.

More or less a repeat from last week at Kettlestone Woods.

5th May 2021 - Grafham Water and Stirtloe

First off to the dam at Grafham to see if I could find a Channel Wagtail but no wagtails at all except a Pied variety

There was a party of 25/30 newly arrived Swifts that were hawking over the dam. Great fun trying to get shots of them in the quite stiff breeze - many duff shots but a few that I was pleased with.

I then moved to nearby Stirtloe to see if there were any recently arrived warblers.

A Sedge Warbler showed well with a Reed Warbler behind it. Both were shots into the sun but that can often make the shot more interesting.

After a lot of walking and standing around, by mid-afternoon my knee began to tell me that it had had enough so off home.

Friday 30th April 2021

Something different at last

I am a week late in posting this but 20th, a friend and I had booked a day in a woodland hide in Norfolk owned and run by the well known professional wildlife photographer David Tipling. We arrived at 8:30 and settled in while David organised the bait and perches. The hide overlooked a small pool.

While there was not a great spread of species, we occupied ourselves with common birds bathing.

A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers made occasional visits

and Nuthatch's were frequent.

In quieter moments, we even occupied ourselves by trying to photograph the local Grey Squirrels jumping.

Late morning we noticed a Buzzard checking us out from a nearby tree. It eventually dropped down to the Pigeon carcass left as bait - an opportunity not to be missed

and it then started to strip the carcass before settling to feed

but not for long as another Buzzard aggressively flew in and they both departed together.

Another quiet period after that, surprisingly brightened by a couple of appeareances by a pair of Pheasants. I had few photographs of Pheasants, probably because I have been influenced by a comment from the late Bob Scott that they never do anything interesting - well this one did by diplaying right in front of us.

before settling down to feed with it's mate.

Late afternoon and we were treated to a visit by a male Sparrowhawk, first by sitting on a branch checking us out

before flying down to the remains of the Pigeon carcass.

It was briefly joind by a female but both were aggressively seen of by a different Buzzard

That was the end of the activity.

On Friday 23rd, I saw a report that a flock of Little Gulls were at nearby Dernford Reservoir. By the time I arrived, mid afternoon, the sun ahd moved round so I was shooting against it, with fast moving subjects so it took me while to get my eye in.

Loads of rubbish photos but as I had not photographed a Little Gull in breeding plumage before, I came away relatively happy although they are not the best photos I have ever taken by a long way.

Monday 19th April 2021

When will something of real interest turn up?

Even I was surprised. I was talking to a friend on the phone and looking out of my bedroom window when I noticed something strange moving in a corner of the garden. Obviously a bird but not one of the usual visitors so I collected my camera from downstairs - not vey quickly as I am still limping - and took a couple of shots but the clothes line was in the way - yes some people still use clothes lines!!!

It was a male Sparrowhawk eating a catch. so I went downstairs into the garden via the back door and crept as close as I could which was about 20 feet away and took a couple of shots.

Not bad but the downside was that it had killed my favourite male Blackbird that takes food from between my feet.

Next, 14th April and I decided to go to Grafham Water. No Yellow Wagtails on the dam, in fact very little except a couple of Pied Wagtails.

I moved to the hide at Mander - water levels very high so nothing of interest except a distant pair of Great Crested Grebes displaying.

Walking back to the car, a Chiffchaff was singing in a leafless tree.

and not much else so I went home.

Tuesday 6th April 2021

March/April update

Very little of real interest to report really, which is why it has taken me a while to get round to it. I am still very much inhibited by my post operative knee although, thankfully, I believe that recovery is heading in the right direction. I have made some plans for the future, now that covid lockdown is gradually being lifted. Let's all hope that there are no setbacks caused by people being stupid.

So, now down to business. 9th March, a drive to Grafham Water and a couple of hours sitting in the hide near Mander. I could just about walk that distance. Nice to be out but the only photo really worthy of interest was a bathing Coot.

Then on to Fen Drayton Lakes. Loads of people around so few birds to see from the car but there was a Grey Heron fishing near to the road.

Now to 29th March when I was able to manage a drive round with nothing of note. I ended up at Earith where the three Glossy Ibis were still in the roadside flooded field. With not being able to walk very far, it was a case of briefly pulling up by the side of the road and pointing the lens, hand-held out of the passenger side window. First time I tried it, just getting into position and some idiot in an Audi driving by decided to blow his hooter - off flew the birds.

I took a drive up to Chain Corner and back again and this time they were reasonably close and no sign of the Audi police.

Just time for a couple of quick shots.

1st April and I decided to see what was happening in my garden - just the usuals but sometimes anything is better than nothing.

At least these were better than some I have collected over the years so allowed some substitution and improvement of my back catalogue.

Next week, some of the reserves are opening - cant wait!!!

 

Monday 22nd March 2021

Remembering the highlights

I am at home, totally fed up after having an operation on my damaged right knee last Monday and unable to do very much at all. The garden needs attention for the spring and the car needs washing. Not problems under normal circumstances but when you are unable to attend to such matters, life becomes very frustrating.

So I decided to look through some of my old photographs, starting off with a trip to Iceland in June 2017 and that has refreshed my memory to some of the enjoyable moments that I hope you may like to share with me.

One of the most memorable couple of days was at the glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon. Situated at the head of the Breioamerkupjokull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and is a haven for birds. Icebergs drop off the glacier into the lake and gradually float towards a small opening into the sea, sometimes, even blocking the opening until they melt sufficiently to go through.

One of the birds I particularly enjoyed photographing was the colony of Arctic Terns. They had just started breeding

and were feeding on the lake itself, skimming the water for fish. After many failed attempts, I finally managed a shot worth keeping.

We spent most of the first day there until after midnight when the evening light was supplemented by the blue reflections of the icebergs. It was then that we noticed that Arctic Terns were having a feeding frenzy at the outlet to the sea.

After an hour of fascinating photogrpaphy, we all returned to our hotel very happy. A day to tremember.