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Thursday 28th July 2022

North Norfolk

Wednesday 13th July 2022

Wales Day 4

Friday 1st July 2022

Wales - Day 3

Sunday 26th June 2022

Wales - Day 2

Friday 24th June 2022

Wales - Day 1

Friday 17th June 2022

Some new garden visitors

Monday 13th June 2022

Colin

Friday 20th May 2022

A more interesting week.

Monday 16th May 2022

Not much to report

Monday 2nd May 2022

Frampton Marsh RSPB - again

Wednesday 20th April 2022

Cley Marshes NWT Norfolk

Thursday 31st March 2022

A trip to the Brecks

Tuesday 15th March 2022

A lifer

Monday 28th February 2022

Back to the Norfolk coast

Friday 18th February 2022

West Suffolk for a change

Thursday 17th February 2022

Failure followed by success.

Saturday 5th February 2022

What a week for good weather.

Saturday 22nd January 2022

The beginning of a new year

Friday 14th January 2022

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Thursday 28th July 2022

Home Patch

The last couple of weeks have been rather a saga. I decided to take the plunge and invest in a new lens for my mirrorless camera - a Canon RF 100-500. Lighter and far more portable.

I intended to trade in my other camera - the 1DX MK2 - and my old lens the Canon 100-400 that the new lens would replace. Having accepted the offers for trade in prices from Wex, I sent both of them off for inspection. Problem - the camera had dust on the sensor that required cleaning and that would take 3 weeks. As a member of Canon Professional, I asked for it back, took it to the Canon repair centre Elstree and got back the next day.

Resubmitting it to Wex, they still claimed heavy dust spots on the sensor, sent me photos to prove it, back to Canon, another clean and this time Wex accepted it. Relieved to say the least.

So I now having the new lens and matching 1.4 and 2x converters, I tried them out on Saturday in my garden.

Greenfinch

Chaffinch

Dunnock

and a very tatty Blue Tit

Three or four weeks ago, I noticed a flock of 9 house Sparrows in my garden - the first for 20 years - and they seem to have taken up residence so here was a great opportunity to take photos.

and a shot I particularly like, a female in the fuschias.

Now for a proper trial in the field.

Wednesday 13th July 2022

North Norfolk

I was bored on 21st June so decided to try the usual spots on the north Norfolk Coast. Weather sunny and warm.

First call was the harbour at Thornham. Nothing of real interest so I walked across the bridge and found an Oysteractcher sitting on a nest in one of the bridge uprights. It did not move as I walked passed it so a quick lens change required

After that, none of the usual places resulted in any photos - people everywhere so not surprising, and it was not even school holidays. I dread to think what Norfolk will be like during August.

So lunch taken in the Titchwell car park and then onto the reserve.

Now Avocets are really attractive birds but when they have young, they are so aggressive that there are few other species that will hang around and this was the case. Just in front of Island Hide there were three Avocet chicks

and then a real spat between two adults when one got too close to the others chicks.

There was very little on the beach - some distant Sandwich Terns feeding and drying out on the wing.

so back to Parrinder Hide - more Avocets, one actuallyu posing nicely.

and then two pairs of Avocets took offence at a Shelduck entering their territory and combined to see it off.

To the left of the hide, there seemed to be some panels that were almost totally covered by a flock of Starlings, taking it in turns to feed on the reserve and then return.

Just lately, Titchwell never fails to disappoint, this day being no exception..

Returning homewards, a call into Thornham harbour where an Oystercatcher was bathing in the ebbing tide.

So an enjoyable but pretty fruitless day overall.

 

Friday 1st July 2022

Wales Day 4

Sunday 5th June, still in the Rhayader area, starting off back at Gilfach Farm NR but the Wood Warblers just did not play ball. Weather was cloudy and showery so not surprising.

Just one photo from there was a Song Thrush singing it's heart out in the rain - distant but worth a shot anyway.

We drove to the Elan valley but nothing was really showing and it was rarther too dark for comfort among the trees anyway.

We had booked a session in the tower hide at Gigrin Farm, the Red Kite feeding station, for the afternoon. Choosing the tower hide was an inspiration as it was still cloudy and dull although not raining. Any lower hide would have meant shooting upwards into a grey sky - one of my real dislikes but at the height we were, we could keep the field and surrounding trees in the background - much more attractive.

After they dive down to pick the food from the ground, they feed on the wing.

One of the highlights was a leucistic bird - one that has no colour in the plumage - but still a very attractive bird and the first of this species I have seen.

Sorting out the 2500 or so shots has been a real challenge but, overall, I was pleased with them.

After that, it was all downhill. We left Rhayader to  drive to Cwmbran for some sessions in a woodland hide and night-time shots of Tawny Owls. Not to be. The first night there were few visits by the Owls and I did not manage one successful shot.

During the night, I could feel an infection coming on so we had to drive home early for me to urgently get some antibiotics. What a disappointment for us both.

Still, come the Autumn, we intend to go back to Cwmbran and hope that it will be more successful.

 

 

Sunday 26th June 2022

Wales - Day 3

Now the 4th June - my birthday. Was there anything that will make a good present?

First a trip back to South Stack RSPB to see if the Choughs would be any more amenable. No!!! only possiblity were long distant flight shots over the sea.

It soon got very busy again - well it was a bank holiday Saturday - so we started the journey south to Rhayader in mid Wales. This is where the BMW satnav got too clever for itself. The normal and direct route would be through Snowdonia but it picked up heavy traffic so redirected us off to the west. What a round about route that was - it took us 41/2 hours to do a 21/2 hour journey. The comments we made are unrepeatable here!!!

Anyway, approaching Rhayader, we realised that we were about to pass Gilfach Farm NR so we called in. This was one of our target sites for Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Wood Warbler, all species that are rare in Cambridgeshire.

We stopped at the hide and found a very pale-looking Nuthatch feeding young in the nestbox opposite. Not one of the target species but who can resist an opportunity for something different.

and even bringing in to the nestling a very odd insect - no idea what it was but it seemd too large for the chick but it successfully took it.

There were Dippers nesting under the bridge but too dark for a shot.

So we moved up to the top car park and started to unpack our tripods. A local then informed us that they were not allowed on the reserve because, a few years earlier, a child on a school trip tripped over a tripod, grazed her knees with damages awarded against the trust. Unbelievable? Most certainly.

Also, at my last visit several years ago, people were putting out mealworms to attract the birds with excellent photographic results. Artificial feeding has also been banned because, we were informed, some years ago, some Dutch photographers fed the birds with dried mealworms, not live ones. They were fed by the parents to the nestlings that died due to dehydration. That is understandable but I cannot help but think that whoever made that decision missed a trick by insisting that only live food bought on the premises could be used - control and revenue for the Trust but that is thinking outside the box.

Anyway, the local was amazing. He took us to an area off the beaten track and sat us down near a nestbox occupied by Pied Flycatchers. The male was very active

with just the odd appearance by the female.

He then showed us where Redstarts can appear - not as successful but still a couple of shots.

He also told us where to find Wood Warblers so we resolved to return in the morning.

We then left to check into our B & B for the nest two nights.

Friday 24th June 2022

Wales - Day 2

Since day 1 at South Stack RSPB was not entirely successful due to the hoards of people, we started off day 2 at 8.30 am in the car park, hoping for more luck. Weather was cloudy with occasional breaks of sunshine so with nothing showing around the car park we walked to Ellin's Tower which was closer to the cliffs.

Loads of Guillemots and Razorbills but too distant to photograph but there was good views of the lighthouse. A pro photographer once said that you should envisage an image and then try your best to get it. My image was a gull floating over the lighthouse, all in sharp focus - patience finally rewarded.

So it is only a Herring Gull but you get the idea!!!

We then moved round to the lighthouse steps - all 400 of them if we had gone to the bottom (which we didn't but still most of them). The only reward was a distant Chough with young.

By mid morning it was getting very busy again, so we moved further along the coast to Cemlyn Bay. This was amazing with a wide shingle spit into the sea enclosing a lagoon with a couple of islands and a colony of nesting Terns. The weather continued from the morning but with a strong off-sea breeze to add to the problems.

The birds were slightly too distant for comfort so  a 2x conveter was required for the islands, not ideal with a strong breeze. There was the odd Arctic tern flying past to feed in the bay behind us

but the main colony was Sandwich Terns - hundreds of them, flying past us to the bay and then returning to feed the mates sitting on the nest in the foliage.

They were slower flying out into the wind but keeping very low to the ground and the sea but returning at speed with the wind behind them - a real test of my reaction speed.

Once, something spooked them, putting most into the air.

and other were quietly bathing

and then drying out.

Anyway, a very enjoyable afternoon - more photos in the Recent Additions section.