Garth Peacock
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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

The last couple of weeks

Monday 27th July 2020

A disappointing day.

Monday 6th July 2020

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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.

Monday 8th February 2021

Desperation strikes

Lockdownitis struck hard last week. Despite still relaltively immobile, I went out in the car to take photos, using it as a hide. OK in theory but the sites to visit are very limited in this are.

2nd February I drove to Fen drayton Lakes RSPB. The previous week, I went to try to photograph some White-fronted Geese but they were too distant and in cloudy conditions, none of the photos were worth keeping so I thought I would try again - another abysmal failiure as the water level was so high I could not drive to where they were - in fact there was nothing on show at all.

I then drove to Earith to see if the Glossy Ibis were playing ball but the bridge was flooded and closed off so that was a waste of time too. Taking the long way back home, I drove around the farm track in the Aldreth/Haddenham area, not expecting too much, but a very obliging Common Buzzard put on a show.

At least I managed to get away from the house for a spell, even if the results were not earth shattering!!!

Another sunny day on 5th so this time I headed straight for the Pymoor/Welney wash road again. Nothing much until I arrived at the far end where a group of mixed Swans were feeding not too far from the road. Ignoring the Mute Swans, the majority of the flock were Whooper Swans where a sleepy juvenile attracted my attention.

and a much rarer juvenile Bewick's Swan even posed for the camera.

Driving back, a Buzzard was sitting on a fencepost looking for worms in the pasture. Even stayed there while I turned the car round.

Very surprising. Normally Buzzards take off way before you get close but now two in a couple of weeks were approachable.

As the sun was setting, I noticed a family group of Bewick's Swans flying to roost on the washes - rather atmospheric.

Snow is now forecast for the early part of this week, in fact there is already a light dusting. Snow photos from the garden? Will think about that.

Thursday 28th January 2021

Keeping sane during lockdown

Since this pandemic first hit, my wife and I have been having a daily walk for an hour or so as a replacement for a lack of gym activity. Since my knee injury, this has not been possible so I have been stuck at home since my last blog, slowly going stir-crazy.

Last Friday was a good day for weather so I decided to venture forth in the car to relieve the boredom. At the same time, I took my camera and drove to the fens. With the Ouse Washes flooded, the Welney road is impassable so traffic is very light and birds, particularly raptors, are pushed to the road side of the wash bank to feed. It is possible to drive this road by the side of the washes for a couple of miles or more and stop to take photos. This is the road that leads to the Welney Wildlife trust reserve but, of course, that was closed due to the lockdown.

First up was a female Stonechat that eventually sat on a post after giving me the run-round for a while.

A Kestrel sat on a farm barn looking for it's dinner.

Driving in to the WWT car park, a Chiffchaff showed quite well. These used to be summer migrants but overwintering is now relatively common.

and then something that made the trip worthwhile. A female Sparrowhawk, sitting on a post that allowed me to get surprisingly close.

In fact, I was able to reposition the car a couple of times to get closer until it eventually flew. Amazing.

Last Monday, I could not ignore the bright sunny conditions after a thin layer of overnight snow. So off to Fen Drayton Lakes where I should also be able to photograph without leaving the car.

Redwing were still feeding in the orchard and resonably close despite the plethora of walkers, joggers and cyclists.

and even a Fieldfare flew over although really at the edge of the range of my equipment

A Carrion Crow caught a worm.

But with more and more people arriving, I decided to move on and back to the Welney area of the Ouse Washes. The same Kestrel as before was hovering over the bank.

The Welney reserve reports that up to 7 Cattle Egrets are present. Two separate birds were feeding on the road side of the wash bank but shot over the ridge as soon as I slowed the car.

Right at the far end of the road, a small group of Red-legged Partridges showed well in the late afternoon sun.

And then a surprise. One of the Cattle Egrets totally ignored my car as I drove back so I was able to concentrate on it, with load of photos, even one with it eating a worm,

and a photo I really like, backlit against the setting sun on the top of the bank.

Not a bad day, despite my immobility. At least I have kept some sanity for a few more days.

 

Wednesday 13th January 2021

The start of 2021 and a national lockdown again.

I expected that the new national lockdown would severely restrict photographic activites but not this time as my damaged knee is still causing problems so I am unable to get out anyway. However there are still opportunities close to home.

In my garden there is a large Cotoneaster that normally gets attention from a small flock of Redwings during December so all the berries have been cleared by Christmas. This winter they turned up rather later than previous years, I first noticing them 7th January. The next day, I was able to take some photos from a bedroom window.

With the berries disappearing at a rapid rate, the local blackbird really got upset as it's winter store of food was being consumed.

Contrary to lockdown rules, I had a business appointment a few miles away from home so needed to take the car out for the first time since before Christmas. On the way back, passing Fen Drayton Lakes, I called in with camera at the ready and just drove the access road to see what was there. As I cannot walk far, I was tied to shooting from the car. The orchard area of the reserve is next to the road and was waterlogged so I sat there watching another flock of Redwings feeding.

An interesting shot although rather distant so quite heavily cropped.

And then a Green Woodpecker flew in to feed for a short time until being spooked by the usual run of joggers and dog-walkers.

Not too much to show but still worth the effort, if only to break the monotony of being indoors.