Garth Peacock
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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

Final post for 2021

Friday 31st December 2021

Lakenheath Fen RSPB Suffolk

Monday 13th December 2021

Still testing the Canon R5

Monday 6th December 2021

Nothing to report

Tuesday 30th November 2021

Further testing of the Canon R5

Monday 8th November 2021

Test driving the Canon R5

Wednesday 3rd November 2021

No photos

Sunday 24th October 2021

View Blog Archive >>
Friday 20th May 2022

Colin

So who, or what, is Colin. To most photographers, Colin is known across the country as a very obliging Cuckoo spending his summer at Thursley Common in Surrey.

Cuckoos are not the easiest bird to photograph, usually very shy, but Colin had been performing for the cameras for the last nine years. Must be the most photographed bird in Britain. He only eats live mealworms, the bigger the better, and usually attends the site around early to mid morning and late afternoon.

A friend and I left for Surrey mid morning, arriving at the car park at lunchtime and then trekked the nearly 11/2 miles to the field where he performs. Arriving, there were 10 or so others waiting for him but he had not been seen - always worrying. We were informed by a local that he flies into a nearby tree, calls and then flies down to the perches already set up - no hide necessary.

Well, at 4-o-clock, without a sound, he suddenly landed on the furthest perch and surveyed his audience and called.

The sound of the cameras going off was deafening!!!! He then flew into a closer perch to feed.

He then tookoff

to land on a different perch and pose, calling again.

And so it continued for 40 minutes or so, providing fantastic photo opportunities.

He finally flew off, fully fed to leave the supporting cast - two pairs of Stonechats, taking the opportunity to feed the mealwroms to their young in nests behind us.

And to end the day, the usual booring Pheasant strolled in {well they rarely do anything interesting).

We had booked rooms at a nearby hotel so we went there and returned in the morning to see if Colin would oblige us with another session.

Strategically placing the mealworms, the Stonechats came in again.

and a female Chaffinch joined the feast.

Finally Colin arrived.

headed for the food perches, feeding very close.

before taking off again

and continuing his performace although it was cut short by him being spooked by two dogs, both off leads, despite all the signs saying 'Dogs on Leads'. Some people are just plain ignorant.

Finally heavy clouds and forecast rain ended the day by lunchtime.

An amazing experience.

More photos in the Recent Additions section of this website.

Monday 16th May 2022

A more interesting week.

After the previous week being a non-event, with the sun shining, I ventured forth to Dernford Reservoir for a couple of hours on 4th May. The previous day, a Black Tern had been showing really well for the cameras but it had moved on by the morning.

First to show was a pair of Mandarin.

There was a few Common Terns around, always an interesting subject for the camera.

and then a pair spending a long time mating - loads of photos but just a few kept. Here's one.

The next day, with the sun really shining. I went to Norfolk, specifically to visit RSPB Titchwell Marsh for the afternoon, my first visit for quite a while. First to visit though, as usual, was Thornham harbour where a Wheatear posed nicely.

Arriving at Titchwell, there were a few Avocets on the freshmarsh.

and then a 'paddlepast' of a pair of Greylag Geese with 20 goslings in tow.

I find it difficult to believe that one pair had successfully hatched 20 goslings. Was this a creche but I have never heard of it with Greylags, only Eiders - curious.

But the main activity was on the beach with low tide. Turnstones showed well

and a couple of Ringed Plovers.

A Bar-tailed Godwit was flighty at first but soon settled down allowing some close shots..

Surprisingly, it was still in winter plumage - probably a juvenile.

A lot of noise came from a small party of displaying Oystercatchers

and then time to move back to the reserve. The usual Gadwall

and a drake Pochard

overall, a decent day, if not that exciting. Still, look positive - better than last week!!!

Monday 2nd May 2022

Not much to report

The past couple of weeks have certainly not been exciting  so I will keep this brief.

20th April - Needed petrol so went to the local Tescos to fill up and took my camera for a couple of hours walk around RSPB Fen Drayton. Result - one photo of a Whitethroat and nothing else.

21st April - a day at the WWT reserve at Welney  where Glossy Ibis and a White Stork had been reported and 'showing well'. Well they didn't for me - no photos worth keeping.

25th April - Grafham Water where all sorts of interesting stuff had been reported on the dam - once again, not for me. The only bird worth attention was a Pied Wagtail.

Now this should be more interesting. a friend phoned on 24th to say that he had spent much of the day in a private hide overlooking a  Green Woodpeckers nest with plenty of activity with Great Spotted Woodpeckers too. The owner, Kevin Robson, a well known local photographer had a booking clear on Tuesday so a quick phone call to confirm and on 26th around 8.00am I was in nearby Fen Drayton settling down for an interesting day.

During the day there were several visits from a female Great Spotted Woodpecker,

a Grey Squirrel that I studiously ignored and a Black Squirrel. Black Squirrels are really a melanistic version of Grey Squirrels but much rarer. Personally. I quite like them because they are usually smaller then their grey cousins and more interesting. I do get them in my garden at home but this one showed well so I succumbed to another few photos.

So what about the Green Woodpeckers? Well, from 800.0am to 3.30pm, not a sign of one so I went home disappointed yet again. And the disappointment was made even worse when I saw that my friend had some good photos from his day on Sunday and Kevin saw frequent visits the next day.

With such poor luck, I resolved to hang up the camera for a few days.

Hopefully my next blog will be more interesting.

Such is wildlife photography!!!!

 

 

 

Wednesday 20th April 2022

Frampton Marsh RSPB - again

This reserve is proving to be one of the better ones for bird photgraphy, now that the water levels have stabilised so it was worth a trip back there earlier this month (8th April) to check it out.

First from the 360 hide where several Snipe were feeding.

and a shot to show the near perfect camouflage of resting Snipe.

A drake Shelduck looked respemdent in the morning sun

as was a Lapwing feeding right outside the hide.

Moving round to the East Hide, very little of real interest so it was down to making the best of what was there. Canada Geese very close

There was still large flocks of Brent Geese around which I foiund surprising as I would have thought that they would have already migrated back to the continent for breeding.

With little else, back to the 360 hide where some recently ploughed land next to the hide attracted a Pied Wagtail

and a Skylark

On the island, some very noisy black-headed Gulls were parading and mating.

and fighting for the right to mate.

Relocating the car to the small car park near ther sea wall, a Ruff showed well.

and the pick of the day, although against the late afternoon sun, a Spotted Redshank.

A quick run (or hobble in my case) back to the car to avoid a heavy hailstorm, it was time to return home. When there is not much of real interest, it can be quite challenging to get photos worth keeping. Out of total of 1800 taken on the day, only 28 were really worth the effort but that's wildlife photography.

 

Thursday 31st March 2022

Cley Marshes NWT Norfolk

It has been some time since I last visited Cley Marshes - no particular reason - just didn't get round to it. The reason for this visit on 24th March was that several Garganey had been reported there. Migratory ducks, usually not that common, but there has been a larger than usual influx from Africa this year.

There was a pair with the local Teal on the island outside Billy's Hide but they were asleep and stayed there for most of the morning - remeniscent of the Black-tailed Lapwing a couple of weeks ago. Occasional appearance but that was it until later.

While wating for something to happen there were other species to tempt me to excercise the trigger finger - Shoveler

female Teal after a bath

a few Black-tailed Godwits.

and a Little Grebe resplendant in it's breeding plumage.

A male Pied Wagtail showed well, singing

and catching lunch.

Finally the Garganey moved to bathe but rather distant. Took loads of photos but nothing like I wanted.

Had lunch - treated ourselves to a bacon bap from the cafe and some kind birder pointed us in the direction of the small car park where a pair of Garganey were much closer and provided the opportunity for the photos I was after, both male and female

and the opportunity for some flight shots too.

Taking the coast road westwards and homewards, we called in the various harbours with nothing really of note except for an Oystercatcher at Thornham conveniently posing.

Quite the reverse of the previous outing. This time the morning was fruitful and the afternoon a waste of time - the previous trip the morning was a waste of time and the afternoon worth the trip. One of these days, both morning and afternoon may combine to make a cracking days photography.