Garth Peacock
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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

Another week goes by!!!

Monday 1st June 2020

Just one visit during this week

Sunday 24th May 2020

Lockdown continues.

Saturday 16th May 2020

View Blog Archive >>
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.

Tuesday 22nd December 2020

2020 - Out with a bang

When scribing my last blog, I had doubts as to whether I would be out again before Christmas. I managed two trips, both local.

The first was to nearby Aldreth on 14th as a Dusky Warbler had been present for a few days,  a species that I have never seen or photographed before. Nice sunny morning, conditions underfoot very wet but after a couple of very brief views, it finally showed up.

Clouds came over about lunchtime so that was it for the day.

With a lovely day forecast for 17th, I went to Wimpole Hall as there was a Tundra Bean Goose and a couple of Russian White-fronted Geese there with the local Greylag flock. I wanted better photos of both.

Very muddy again and after a long walk, I saw them from a hill overlooking the lake. Going down the very muddy hill, I took a tumble and twisted my right knee rather severely. Using my tripod as a crutch, I started to make my way back to the car, very slowly, but thought that I would have great difficulty in making it. I phoned the estate office to see if they could provide me with a lift to the car - the duty manager declined to help. 'Phone an ambulance'. Very nice people there!!! Typical of the unhelpfullness that I have experienced a few times from the National Trust over recent years. Not one of my favourite organisations.

I did finally make it after two and a half hours of very painful walking but the damage my knee has sustained by doing it means that I will most likely be out-of-action for 4 to 6 weeks.

So here's to 2021. Hope it is better than 2020 for all.

 

Thursday 10th December 2020

The last month of 2020 - about time too!!!

I am sure that I am not the only one that does not regret the near passing of 2020. Not a good year for all but the most fortunate and certainly not one of my good years for photography. I have missed a trip to Belarus as well as a couple of UK trips but at least I have managed to stay healthy. Let us all hope that 2021 will be an improvement.

Now down to business. 1st December and I was making my second visit to Dernford Reservoir to see if I could catch up with the Kumlien's Gull. Short answer - no. While waiting, a pair of Stonechats were flitting about on the nearby fence so a quick few shots to alleviate the boredom - only to find that the first shot one was a Meadow Pipit.

The next few shots were Stonechats, just to prove that I am not going insane!!!

But that was that for this trip out.

My next trip was again to start at Dernford Reservoir on 8th December for the elusive Kumlien's Gull - drew a blank this time too. That is the third time that I have missed it - such is birding.

I moved on to Ouse Fen RSPB as some Bearded Tits had been photographed. Got there at lunchtime on what started out as a lovely sunny day - except when I arrived a large dark cloud arrived at the same time. Found the birds but my camera was showing ISO 6400  - not worth the effort so back to the car for lunch. After an hour or so, the sun came out again and the birds showed well for most of the remainder of the short afternoon at this time of the year.

 Happy with the result. More photos in the Recent Additions section.

With the weather forecast showing cloud and rain for most of the rest of the month, this may be my last blog. If it is, a Happy Christmas and excellent birding New Year to all those with the patience to read this blog.

Monday 30th November 2020

Another month concluded

Well, this is the end of November, mainly a month of lockdown. A fleeting late afternoon visit to RSPB Fen Drayton to see the Starling murmuration against the setting sun early in the month.

and then nothing until 26th when I decided to spend the day in West Norfolk. Usual first call is Thornham harbour but nothing there of note, so I continued to my usual second port of call - Brancaster Staithe. Surprisingly quiet - I was the only car at the far end of the car park and a couple of mussel fishermen there as it was low tide. A Herring Gull took advantage of the opportunity

and a pair of Black-headed Gulls were displaying for all their worth.

The a trio of birds flew in and settled on the waters edge - two Bar-tailed Godwits with a Knot, a strange combination, especially since a few weeks ago, at nearby Holme Dunes, I photographed a Bar-tailed Godwit accompanied by a Knot.

One of the mussel fishermen spooked a Little Egret that decided to land reasonably close.

and then it was a flurry of flying activity with the usual Redshank

and Turnstones

I still had the 2x converter on so I was really pleased with these shots.

Next I moved on to Holkham where a large flock of Pink-footed Geese were feeding by the side of Lady Anne Drive allowing good close shots - unusual for this normally very flighty species.

After that, I called in at RSPB Titchwell on the way home but the water levels again were so high that there was nothing close. Still, a productive and enjoyable day that managed to lift the gloom of the Covid lockdown for me.

More photos from these session in the Recent Additions section of this website.

Monday 9th November 2020

Another lockdown!!!!

My first blog for November and not too much to report on for the month so far.

First trip out was Wednesday 4th, starting out at Grafham Water. Four great Northern Divers had been reported but non showed for me and nothing of interest on or near the dam either.

At times like these, I try to photograph something different, whether the bird if rare or common. So, from the fishing lodge, I turned my lens on a Tufted Duck that decided to walk over the boom.

Adjourning to the hide to eat my lunch, the only birds within range were the usual Cormorants drying their feathers on the adjacent fence - nothing of interest there until another one wanted to get on the fence. First shot, I thought, was quite colourful with the reflection of the fence in the water

and then it climbed up to it's chosen part of the fence.

That's exciting, I hear you say - well if that was the highlight of the morning, imagine what it was like the rest of the time.

So after lunch, I made my way home, passing Fen Drayton village where some Cattle Egrets were in a field with the cattle, of course. Having found them, it was not easy to get clear shots but one in typical pose near a large bull

and then one decided to have a fly-around.

By then, the light was going so I made my way home.

On friday, I drove to Burwell Fen as a couple of Short-eared Owls had been reported. They normally start to hunt mid/late afternoon but not this time - nothing. I took a few other photos but not worth keeping so nothing to show for the afternoon visit.