Garth Peacock
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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

That's the end of 2019 for me.

Friday 20th December 2019

Disaster strikes

Monday 2nd December 2019

It's still very hard work

Saturday 9th November 2019

A quiet month overall

Saturday 2nd November 2019

Week ending 11th October 2019

Friday 11th October 2019

View Blog Archive >>
Monday 6th July 2020

A disappointing day.

Monday 22nd June - a day out with a friend. In view of the restrictions, we met in the car park at WWT Welney, after pre-booking, as required. They are only allowing 30 or so pre-booked visitors per day so there was no problem with social distancing. Unfortunately, the birds were social distancing too,  the only ones that were close enough to photograph were the House Martins and Swallows that were nesting around or in the observatory.

These were a test for the low light abilitiy of the 1DX MK2.

It was hot and sunny so flight shots were marred by heat haze. These are the best but nothing to be proud of.

With nothing really worth going out for, but still with an itchy trigger finger, I concentrated on my garden feeders for a couple of hours a couple of days ago.

Not bad as I was sitting in our sun lounge, drinking a beer and hand-holding the 500 lens. Wish bird photography was always this comfortable!!!

Sunday 21st June 2020

Two further trips out managed, despite the lockdown

Well, my wife and I are still self-isolating as far as we can, like many others. Certainly gets to you at times although we are the lucky ones, being fully retired and with a garden to enjoy.

First trip out was to North Norfolk on 9th June, nothing particular in mind, just a day out with the new camera. I was satisfied with the last efforts but it takes a while to get used to a new camera. First call was to Hunstanton cliffs where the Fulmars were flying around. For flight shots, I used the Canon 100-400 F5.6  - perfect in sunny conditions.

A couple of Swifts flew past - just time for a quick couple of shots.

Moving on, Thornham produced nothing, the same as Brancaster Staithe harbour so on to Burnham Overy Staithe harbour where there was more activity. Plenty of House Martins buzzing around

but surprisingly, just the odd Swift and no photo opportunities.

I did notice a Little Tern diving and feeding another distantly sat on the far side of the harbour. after a few long distance shots that were not keepers, I managed to get some worthwhile shots

and the perched one eventually landed reasonably close, still waiting to be fed. A juvenile or a female being pampered - not sure!!!

Finally making my way home, with RSPB Titchwell still closed, I called in again at Thornham where a Little Egret was fishing in the harbour and very little else.

Next trip was locally, to Wicken Fen, hoping for flight shots of the Cuckoos. Depsite them flying around and calling, they were only ever distant, in fact, I did not take a keeper photo until returning to the car where a family of Whitethroats kept me entertained for a while.

I decided to move on to Burwell Fen, via Swaffham Prior where a male Yellowhammer posed well by the side of the road.

It was getting very warm now with heat haze becoming a real problem. While eating my lunch in the car, I noticed a Sedge Warbler singing in nearby cow parsley. I sat there for a while, taking a few shots as it climbed the plant to sing thankfully close enough so that heat haze was not a problem.

Moving on, I went to Aldreth to see if there were any Corn Buntings to photograph. Surprisingly, I only found three pairs with none prepared to pose for the camera so off home after a rather iffish day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 6th June 2020

My first proper day with the new camera

After the rules on lockdown being relaxed a little, I had my first full day in the field on Tuesday and the first proper test of the new camera with the 500 lens and converters.

Since Grafham Water had only just opened, I went there first to see of I could get some shots of Swallows in flight from the dam. About 100 shots later, and with an embarrasingly large proportion showing nothing but sky, I managed several shots worth keeping. Here is one of them.

Surprisingly, the reservoir was nearly full, despite the very dry weather but a walk around produced nothing of note, so I called in at a nearby village, Stirtloe, and walked the lane down to the back end of Paxton Pits.

A real hive of activity with opportunities to really test the camera. Fist a male Linnet

and a pair of Sedge Warblers feeding young.

Having a well earned drink back at the car, due to the heat, a Chiffchaff showed well

and, just afterwards, on the same branch, a male Blackcap gave me the opportunity for the photo of the day.

With the heat taking it's toll, back home to see if the photos have turned out OK. You can make up your own mind on that.

Monday 1st June 2020

Another week goes by!!!

Another week under lockdown although restrictions are being eased a little. Lets hope that the idiots do not mess it up for the rest of us!!!

One trip out - last Friday, 29th, to Cambridge Research park, arriving on site at 06:15. Very quiet initially but then I heard the Cuckoos calling although very distant. A matter of waiting but nothing doing - only saw a couple very briefly and very distant.

I did notice a pair of Willow Warblers searching for food and found where the nest was. Keeping away,  I quietly positioned myself with the sun behing me and waited. Not long after, one arrived, perched just where I was hoping, and then dropped to the nest. This continued with both birds for a while giving me ample opportunity for shots.

With nothing much else around, I returned to the car, but also having a look at the main scrape. Surprisingly, almost from under my feet, there was a big splash and a Great Crested Grebe appeared carrying a large fish, probably a Tench. The light was not good but there was an opportunity to see it fighting with the fish before it swam out of sight.

I was not able to see if it actually managed to eat it.

In the afternoon, in my garden, with a beer in one hand and camera in the other, I watched a newly fledged Blackbird - very entertaining as it was learning how to fly and drink from my temporary drinking pool.

Of course, the noisy Starling families were an ever-present entertainment.

The follow up to the Blackbird is very unfortunate. It was out in the open on my front drive when I drew back the curtains yesterday morning, only to be quickly caught and dispatched by the local Sparrowhawk.

Sunday 24th May 2020

Just one visit during this week

It has been an odd week in many ways.  Very sunny days, far from being beneficial to photography, give a very harsh light during the middle of the day so I felt restricted to early morning or late evening. There are far to many people around during the evening, so it was a case of up early and this time, heading to Cambridge Research Park where several Cuckoos are about.

Only one distant flypast - frustrating as there were several calling most of the time.

While waiting, a nearby Whitethroat took to the air singing - worth a pop.

Returning to the car, I heard a singing Reed Warbler that performed rather well.

The next day, I concentrated on a flock of newly fledged Starlings in my garden. The shot I had in mind was backlit with the sun partly screened by a boundary hedge. Several screaming young allowed a close approach to get the shot, being far more interested in getting fed by a couple of very tired looking adults

It shows how a new approach can produce results. Under normal circumstances, I would never have spent a couple of hours in my garden photographing Starlings so the Coronvirus has at least one benefit.