Garth Peacock
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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

Recognition at last!!!

Wednesday 19th August 2020

A couple of trips worth commenting on

Tuesday 18th August 2020

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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.

Saturday 6th March 2021

Three weeks of not very much!!!

With the flooding of the river Great Ouse receding, on 15th February, I drove to RSPB Fen Drayton to see if I could catch up with the small flock of White-fronted Geese that had been associating with the local flock of Greylag Geese. Unusually, this year there has been quite an influx of these geese from Russia and their summer breeding grounds, mainly into the East of the UK. Before Christmas, I went to Wimpole Hall to photograph some - rather ill-fated as that was where I had my accident.

Anyway, I found them, rather distant, although an afternoon of sitting and watching from the car was more successful as they wandered into the middle of the field before taking flight.

Even managed a wing flap.

During this period, and being severely restricted in my activities, I have been trying to establish a small reflection pool in my back garden. Lots of changes to it before things started to happen but I must confess, I am still disappointed with the results so far. These photos of a Robin and a Long-tailed Tit are really the only ones worth showing.

I will keep trying.

I have driven into the fens a couple of times to see what was available to photograph - nothing is the short answer. However, yesterday, I did take a different route and managed to find some Barnacle Geese amongst a flock of Greylag Geese.

Some would claim then as 'plastic' i.e. not really from wild origins, but still a very attracive bird.

With an operation on my injured knee pending in a few days, it may be a while before my next blog.

Tuesday 16th February 2021

Minor successes despite Covid

With Covid restrictions still in force, and being severely hampered by my injured knee, last week I was still restricted to the only two local places where I could take photos from the car.

Wednesday afternoon, I headed to Fen Drayton Lakes, passing a rather obliging perched Kestrel by the side of the road,

but that was the only opportunity. I drew a total blank at Fen Drayton Lakes.

So the following day, I made for Pymoor/Welney wash road as the crossing was still flooded. The usual Stonchats were evident .

and right at the end of the road, a group of Whooper Swans were feeding unusually close to the road.

and one even came really close for a close-up.

On the way back, yet another Kestrel was hovering.

This winter there seems to be far more Kestrels that I have ever seen before - last year must have been a good breeding year.

And then I noticed Barn Owl perched on one of the roadside fence posts.

Photographing from a car is of benefit for perched birds but a major disadvantage for flying birds so I was disappointed that I was not able to get any flight shots.

Driving home in the setting sun, I could not resist a back-lit shot of a Lapwing on the edge of a frozen field - not everyone's cup-of-tea but I like it.