Garth Peacock
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Mixed fortunes

Saturday 26th September 2020

A week in pictures

Tuesday 8th September 2020

The last few days of August

Thursday 3rd September 2020

Recognition at last!!!

Wednesday 19th August 2020

A couple of trips worth commenting on

Tuesday 18th August 2020

The last couple of weeks

Monday 27th July 2020

A disappointing day.

Monday 6th July 2020

Another week goes by!!!

Monday 1st June 2020

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

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Saturday 3rd October 2020

A mixed week that turned out better than expected

Monday 28th September saw a friend and I heading back towards north Norfolk. First point of call was Wells Woods where migrants had been reported, in particular a Red-breasted Flycatcher that would be a first for me.

A couple of locals kindly pointed us in the right direction after after a while, one showed but deep in undergrowth. Patience would be the keyword here and after an hour or more, we finally got a clear shot.

Despite waiting some more, we did not manage anything better so, after lunch, off to Holkham Pines for another first for me, Yellow-browed Warbler. A long walk and a lot more patience finally paid off with some long-range shots.

Not ideal and not the best shots I have ever taken but at least two new species to add to my photographic list.

By Thursday, with the weather poor, I was chomping at the bit for some more action. Still changeable weather so I stayed local for me and returned to Welney WT, not expecting much.

I arrived mid-morning, occupied a place in the hide tagged on to the Observatory and waited. Interesting the family of Whooper Swans were there with two maturing Cygnets. This must be the same pair that oversummer at Welney as the female cannot fly. I photographed them last year with two newly hatched cygnets.

A male Mallard was very busy chasing the females, with considerable success as I managed shots of the mating act on four separate occasions.

And then, at last, a shot worth turning out for. 6 Common Cranes were circling over the Observatory, showing well in the short patch of sunny weather.

Early afternoon, with the weather turning cloudy, I returned home. So, a mixed week.

Saturday 26th September 2020

Mixed fortunes

It has been two weeks since my last blog update so what has been happening?

Well three of my trips out produced no photos at all that were worth keeping. So that is the frustrating news. I am sure that many photographers would be sympathetic. Desperate measures so another session with my garden feeders on 11th September. Long-tailed Tits and Collared Doves.

Nothing to get excited about so on 17th, I drove to nearby Welney WWT where I am a member as some Cattle Egrets had been reported there. They were with the cattle near Nelson-Lyle Hide - not exactly close but we have to make do.

Back to the hide near the observatory for lunch. Mute Swan is a species that is so common that I rarely bother but there were several on the mere giving clear views without the winter flock of Whooper Swans around as their migration has not yet started. With nothing else to occupy me, it was the Mute Swans that I concentrated on.

A juvenile trying to be adult

and even a pair going through their mating procedure out of season.

18th September and I went to North Norfolk. North-easterly winds should bring in some interesting migrants. It was sunny but a gale was blowing on the beaches that maintained all day.

First call was the Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Holme Dunes. Surprisingly not much in the woods but we went to the beach to see if high tide had brought anything in.

An Oystercatcher was flying into the wind

and a juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit came close, accompanied by a Knot.

And then the surprise. Coming out of the surf was a Common Seal.

I have not photographed this species since 2009 in Shetland so this made the trip worthwhile. It pulled itself up the beach to a sandbank and proceeded to sun itself, totally oblivious to me or any other people around.

Next call after lunch was the RSPB reserve at nearby Titchwell, hoping for some wader shots from Island Hide but the wind was too strong and had raised the water levels too high near the hide. So on to the beach, braving the gales as it was low tide by now and the mussel beds were uncovered.

Another Bar-tailed Godwit.

A few Black-tailed Godwits

several Turnstones

and the bird photo of the day for me, a fly-by Ruff.

That's it for now - lets see what weather next week brings.

Tuesday 8th September 2020

A week in pictures

The last week has been good and bad. The good mainly in my garden, the bad elsewhere.

Grafham Water on the 2nd September produced a Yellow-legged Gull, a bird that I wanted to get improved photographs.

A Great black-backed Gull got in on the act too, firstly by flying in

and then conveniently landing.

Apart from that. very quiet.

The next day, I took it easy in my garden

Friday 4th and a friend and I went to Norfolk, hoping to find the Wryneck at RSPB Titchwell - disappointment, Titchwell generally was very quiet and the only birds worth exercising the trigger finger for during the whole day were some juvenile Ringed Plovers at Thornham.

Yesterday, 7th, I went reasonably early to Dernford Reservoir, quite local to me. A juvenile Spotted Redshank had been there for a couple of days, but, true to form, it had gone by the time I got there. The only bird of any note was an obliging Dunlin.

Later in the day, I had another session with my garden feeders, just to see what was about.

The usual Robin, now in it's fresh winter plumage.

and a flock of Long-tailed Tits again.

Certainly the best photo I have of that species.

Thursday 3rd September 2020

The last few days of August

Weather pretty poor for most of this period but I managed an hour with my garden feeders with the main visitor - a squirrel. Now I am not a fan of anything other than the Red squirrel. The name tree rat perfectly describes the Grey Squirrel in my opinion. However, there is a variant of the Grey squirrel that is anything but common - a Black Squirrel - and one visits my garden quite frequently. Smaller than the Grey and much more attractive - and this one has personality.

It saw me behing my camera, trotted up to me and stood head on, side view, other side view, just like it was posing. It just struck me as very amusing so that is one squirrel I am happy to encourage to my garden.

Then the rain set in.

On Friday 27th, a friend and I decided to go to Titchwell RSPB on the Norfolk coast as the good photographic hide was now open after being closed due to the Coronavirus. The weather forecast was decent when we decided to go but the next morning it was grey and dull, not good weather for photographing waders.

The Avocets were showing well but the grey water did not show them to their best, being a black and white bird.

Some attempts at flight shots. The first time at a high ISO with a 2x converter and the Canon 1DX MK2. First a Dunlin

and a Ruff.

I got quite excited when I thought that I had found the 1st Winter Citrine Wagtail that had been reported there recently. Not to be - a 1st winter Pied Wagtail - disappointment.

But then some improvement as the light improved - a juvenile Little Stint came close to the hide.

and proceeded to find a worm for dinner.

On 31st, another session in the garden with the flock of Long-tailed Tits that visit several times each day to feed on the suet pellets that I have recently started to use.

There are several species of Tit in the flock including an elusive Coal Tit. Should be interesting to see if any other species join the flock.

Wednesday 19th August 2020

Recognition at last!!!

Birdguides is an organisation providing national information on bird sightings and a medium for members bird photographs. I used to post some of my photos to it but not so much recently.

Each week, they pick the 10 or so best photos, called Notables, from several hundred submitted. From those, a Photo of the Week is chosen. I have won Photo of the Week several times over past years but not recently.

However, since lockdown started, and with not much else to do, I have posted the odd photo on that website. In April I posted this photo of a Starling, taken in my back garden. It was awarded a Notable.

A month ago, I posted this photo of an Avocet seeing off a Teal. That was also awarded a Notable.

A couple of days ago, I posted this photo of the Gull-billed Tern being attacked by a Black-headed Gull.

Surprisingly, that was awarded a Notable also.

Very pleased with three Notables so far this year but I am not holding my breath for a Photo of the Week.