Garth Peacock
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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

To end January 2020...

Thursday 30th January 2020

View Blog Archive >>
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.

Tuesday 18th August 2020

A couple of trips worth commenting on

For wildlife photogrpahy, the last couple of weeks have been pretty dire, in my opinion. Most hides on the reserves are still closed and most other areas of interest overpopulated by dog-walkers, joggers, cyclists and staycationers.

However, 29th July, I did venture forth to Fowlmere RSPB but did not even take a photo. Giving up, on the way home, I called in at Dernford Reservoir to see if anything there was of interest. Doing my best to avoid the requisite dog-walkers and resulting dog-crap everywhere, I did manage to get within range of a feeding Common Sandpiper but that was all.

Taking the plunge, for the first time since lockdown, a friend and I decided to go to Alton Water in Suffolk last Friday as a Gull-billed Tern had been there for a few days. A totally new species for both of us but as we parked there, the heavens opened - not a good start!!! Eventually, the weather started to improve but still heavy cloud.

We crossed the dam to the outfall, from where the target bird was regularly reported. It had been seen that morning. While we waited, I practised on a flying Cormorant

and some Egyptian Geese.

After a short wait, the Gull-billed Tern flew in from the left and landed, although distant.

After flying off down the reservoir, the bird made a sudden appearance on railing closer than before,

where it was eventually attacked by a local Black-headed Gull and seen off.

We did not see it again after that although it was reported there later that afternoon but had disappeared overnight.

Never-the-less, a very worthwhile trip to add to my photographed species count. More photos of this bird in 'Recent Additions' on this website.

Monday 27th July 2020

The last couple of weeks

With July coming to an end, while some nature reserves have opened up, in the main, the hides are still closed, restricting photographic opportunities. This is not made any easier with many people still furlowed and taking stay-at-home holidays so the quiet places for wildlife are no longer quiet.

I have had a couple of trips locally to the RSPB reserves at Fen Drayton and Ouse Fen - not a shot worth keeping. Just to keep my hand in, I set up my garden feeder again for photgraphy with nothing exciting - Blackbird

and juvenile scruffy Robin moulting into it's new coat.

So, on Monday 20th, I drove to West Norfolk for the day. First call as usual was at Hunstanton Cliffs, no Fulmars but several Swifts popping up over the cliff edge.

Then to Thornham harbour but nothing around except 10 Motorhomes that had parked overnight and load of dog-walkers. Then on to Brancaster Staithe harbour - car park nearly full so too much activity for birds and the same story at Burnham Overy Staithe. Cars queuing in the road to park at Holkham told it's own story and nothing at Morston harbour either. This was proving to be a wasted day so I turned back to RSPB Titchwell that had just opened but the limited car parking area was full so back to Thornham for parking and lunch.

Just finished lunch and there in front of me in the channel was a juvenile Spoonbill making it's way up the channel and feeding. Suffice to say that, despite the people, I stayed to photograph that for nearly an hour.

Now feeling that the day was not a wasted one, I retuned to Titchwell, got parked this time, and went to see what I could find. Nothing to really excite me and, with the hides still closed, I sat down on one of the seats overlooking the scrape, evening sun behind me to see if anything occurred. I just took photos of anything moving of interest, not expecting too much as keepers. It was so relaxing and enjoyable, few people around and with the final surprise that I really liked some of the results

Flying Greylag Goose

Lapwing with a clean background

Landing Shelduck

Black-headed Gulls having a tiff

and a few shots of a very belligerant Avocet flying in to see off a Teal

So, nothing exciting but a really enjoyable afternoon - the first for quite a while.