Garth Peacock
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Just one visit during this week

Sunday 24th May 2020

Lockdown continues.

Saturday 16th May 2020

April lockdown

Thursday 30th April 2020

Local bird photography

Monday 20th April 2020

House-bound!!!

Friday 3rd April 2020

Could be the last one for a while.

Wednesday 18th March 2020

We are into March already

Monday 9th March 2020

Wednesday 12th February 2020

Thursday 20th February 2020

Slimbridge WWT Gloucestershire

Wednesday 19th February 2020

To end January 2020...

Thursday 30th January 2020

That's the end of 2019 for me.

Friday 20th December 2019

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

View Blog Archive >>
Sunday 24th May 2020

Just one visit during this week

It has been an odd week in many ways.  Very sunny days, far from being beneficial to photography, give a very harsh light during the middle of the day so I felt restricted to early morning or late evening. There are far to many people around during the evening, so it was a case of up early and this time, heading to Cambridge Research Park where several Cuckoos are about.

Only one distant flypast - frustrating as there were several calling most of the time.

While waiting, a nearby Whitethroat took to the air singing - worth a pop.

Returning to the car, I heard a singing Reed Warbler that performed rather well.

The next day, I concentrated on a flock of newly fledged Starlings in my garden. The shot I had in mind was backlit with the sun partly screened by a boundary hedge. Several screaming young allowed a close approach to get the shot, being far more interested in getting fed by a couple of very tired looking adults

It shows how a new approach can produce results. Under normal circumstances, I would never have spent a couple of hours in my garden photographing Starlings so the Coronvirus has at least one benefit.

 

Saturday 16th May 2020

Lockdown continues.

Early in May, I left my bed far earlier than my usual time to see what I could find within walking distance of my home. Quite frankly, even at 6.:30 there were too many people around for anything of note but I did manage a shot of my first Chiffchaff of the year.

With advice that one could drive a short distance for the daily constitutional, and out at 6.00am, I drove to Fen Drayton Lakes RSPB, hoping to see something before the inevitable rush. First was a family of Mallard, concerned that I was there at all.

and shortly afterwards, a singing Whitethroat..

and  then what I thought was a Chiffchaff feeding young, until I heard it's song that was more like a Willow Warbler. Posting a photo on the Cambridge Bird Club website, it was very soon noted that it was a Chiffchaff until I explained the song. The jury is currently still out on this and a discussion on Cambirds continues.

Returning to the car, I heard the song of a Garden Warbler very close. I have wanted better shots of this species so here was the opportunity.

With the site getting very busy, I headed home to return a couple of days later, still early am.

Near the access road, I noticed a pair of Long-tailed tits feeding young.

Parking the car, I looked over Ferry Lagoon to see a couple of Common Terns squabbling over rights to perch on a buoy. I tried a backlit photo into the rising sun

and then refound that Garden Warbler.

Then moving over to the reed bed, a male Reed Bunting showed well

and even a couple of newly arrived Reed Warblers flitting about.

Even managed a flight shot.

Once again, getting busy so returned home.

 

Thursday 30th April 2020

April lockdown

So we are at the end of April and still in lockdown for the forseeable future.

Over a year ago, I started a project to sort out this website. This entailed re-editing all of the photos on it - over 8,000 - to try to improve them by using the latest Adobe Lightroom and deleting those that were just not up to scratch. The only benefit of the lockdown - this project now completed and this website ending up just shy of 6,000 photos remaining.

Some of you may have noticed some spam adverts popping up on this website for fake watches etc. I deleted them as soon as I noticed them. Recent work by my webmaster means that this website is now secure so the adverts should not appear again. A small disadvantage is that it may take a little longer to fire up but certainly worth it to get rid of the idiot that thought infiltrating a small website like this was worth the effort.

So what have I been doing during the last couple of weeks? Concentrating on my garden that now looks reasonable tidy and setting up a couple of extra bird feeders to try to get some flight shots of the resident common birds - not easy since my garden is not large.

So far, the only takers have been Starlings as I have a couple of nests in the pantiles of my roof - probably the fifth ot sixth year running. The first attempt and I managed some shots of a Starling altercation

and a few days later, probably my best shot of a Starling coming in to land.

I have just found out that this photo has been awarded a Notable in the Birdguides Photo of the Week competition. I have not posted there for over a year so that was a surprise.

Today, a friend and I should have been flying to Belarus for a 12 day photo trip, unfortunately cancelled due to the Coronavirus but we have rebooked for next year. Small consolation though.

So lets see what May brings.

In the mean time, Keep Safe.

Monday 20th April 2020

Local bird photography

Lockdown!!! It will be a while before I am able to move any distance from home so it is a case of making the best of what is available.

My garden feeders often attract some of the local Feral Pigeon population that roost and nest in the church tower opposite. Well - here is one. Not a usual subject but needs must!!!

A pair of Robins are nesting in my garden and one decided to have a bath and settle next to me to dry off.

I had a call from my neighbour describing two unuaual birds in her back garden. The description didn't ring any bells so, bearing in mind the social distancing rules, I took my camera to have a look. Very surprisingly, they were a pair of Red-legged Partridges, quite unconcernedly feeding on the lawn. We are a good couple of miles from usual habitat and I have never seen one in this area. They were not ringed so where they came from is a mystery.

Now my experience of this breed is the rear end as they run away but these two were not unduly concerned with my presence.

Friday morning and I was up early (well for me) and took a walk around the local fields with my camera to see if anything was worth photographing. The answer - not much except for a female Blackcap.

However, I was able to test my new camera at high ISO. A perched Wood Pigeon was a suitable subject and the resulting image was quite acceptable at ISO 12800 although I have not added it to the website as I already have better perched shots of this species.

Lets see what this week brings.

 

Friday 3rd April 2020

House-bound!!!

Well, the Coronavirus has really struck hard so it's self-isolation for my wife and myself although we are both well - keeping fingers crossed!!!

However, catching up from my last blog, after reviewing the photos taken on my new camera, the Canon 1DX MK2, I was very concerned that the sensor was very dirty. I noticed a few spots after my first outing to Norfolk and tried to clean them off with a blowbrush - only partially successful. The problem was even more pronounced after my trip to Welney so I contacted Wex to discuss the problem.

Upon their recommendation, I e-mailed them with some photos and received a reply to return it for either a replacement, free sensor cleaning or a refund. The first two could take some time due to the virus and staff isolation. I noticed that they had just received a stock of new ones at a much reduced price (the one I had bought was a little used one)so I opted for that and received one last Monday.

After leaving it for a couple of days as an anti-virus precaution, I then spent some time setting it up but regretting that there was no opportunity to really test it.

Relaxing with a cup of coffee, I looked out in to my garden and a Black Squirrel was raiding my feeders. Black Squirrels are a rare mutation of the common Grey Squirrels and used to visit my garden but not for some time. What an opportunity to try the new camera.

And later, even one of the Grey Squirrels that are a real pest on my feeders.

Frustrated that I am unable to get out like the many others that who would agree with me but, to quote Boris

'Stay home, Save the NHS, Save lives!!!'