This was shot last year in Cornwall on the shores of the Camel Estuary, Padstow.
The mud banks of the estuary provide perfect feeding ground for many waders with the Dunlin being a favourite of mine.
Shot with the Nikon D300, Nikon 300mm f/2.8 prime + 1.7x TC giving 500mm.
This shot was taken at the Cornish Bird of Prey Centre.
It offers a great opportunity to get some photos of some otherwise difficult birds to capture. They offer talks and displays but also use sensible and useful props to allow for photos.
Excellent value for money and a very well run establishment.
Another from today’s outing at Aqualate Mere in Shropshire/Staffordshire.
These are fantastic little characters to photograph, their colours are very subtle yet pleasing.
Next time I shall spend some time on the Reed Bunting’s.
My better half had been told of a good place local to where she works for seeing interesting species of birds and wildfowl, so in the midst of a cold snap we thought we’d spend an hour checking out the site to see if it had any potential.
We were greeted with easy parking and good footpaths to the edge of the mere and well signposted marks to the hide.
An hour or so was spent and in that time we saw a good variety of birds and a massive first for me in the form of a Bittern! This is in the heron family and is very scarce in the UK, so to see one and grab a proof shot is very pleasing.
Marsh/Willow Tit’s were also a first for me so grabbed a couple of shots of those too.
Definately worth going back for a walk, especially in the spring.
Willow or Marsh Tit, not quite sure
Gentle bit of snow falling in the background
Last of the Willow/Marsh Tit
One from the archives back in September.
It’s always a pleasure to see these in their natural habitat hovering above their prey, seeking out the best opportunity to dive down and capture it.
Shortly after taking this shot the Kestrel changed location and managed to drop down and grab a vole, great to witness.
Taken with a Nikon D300, 300mm AF-S 2.8 + 1.7x TC, 500mm, ISO 320, 1/800s, F/6.3, manual.
Click for larger version
I opted to re-edit my Kestrel shot following some comments about tight cropping and the bird needing more room above and below, so here is it
My annual weeks holiday in Cornwall proved drier than the rest of the country it seems, of which I was mostly found walking, photographing some local wildlife and managing the odd pint of Guinness haha.
Please enjoy some of my favourite pictures from the holiday.
After what looked to be an un-eventful start to Spring with regards to any Redstarts nesting on our local patch I was delighted to pop out this afternoon for a little walk and see a friend of mine watching a pair taking food to a nest hole, result!
The weather was terrible really, poor light, rain was heading in and only a small window to try and get some initial shots of the pair.
It’s a great nest site with plenty of branches surrounding the hole so photo opportunities look promising without having to upset the parents in any way.
In came the rain so the male shots were all pretty naff, which only left me with a few frames of the female amidst some heavy showers.
I did manage a nice one of her bringing some food to the nest and perching before entering the hole, so I was pleased.
My first weeks holiday of the year so time to relax and fit some in with the camera on my local patch and maybe further afield.
I took a walk up to Cannock Chase for my usual round trip to look at a new Great Spotted Woodpecker nest that a friend informed me of and also for a look at a Green Woodpecker nest too.
The Green’s were playing hard to get as per usual so I put my efforts into the Great Spotted nest with my new TC-17E II teleconverter. I am now able to shoot at 500mm F/4.8 so was a great opportunity to try it out.
Great sucess at the Great Spotted nest site, nothing at the Green.
Heading back I thought I would pop by the Tawny Owl site to see if any of the young were still hanging around, and my luck was in! One youngster was in it’s favourite tree and I was able to make eye contact for a good few seconds before he flew off into a nearby location.
Not wanting to disturb too much I followed him patiently and found him perched high up but to my luck in an open space allowing for a quick few frames before leaving him be.
Result! My first Tawny and what a splendid bird it is
So I managed to miss the young fledging the nest, bound to have been in the morning while I was at work, can’t be helped I suppose, but I can’t complain at the shots and last 3 weeks watching them.
I picked up a Nikon TC-17E II to go on the 300mm 2.8 for a nice 500mm reach at minimum f/4.8. Hopefully I can get some decent shots now of things further away from me as 300mm alone simply isn’t enough for wildlife.
The first test seemed to show you can get useable images for sure, and that was in poor light and on my old Fuji S3 Pro body, but for some reason it’s only working in manual on the D300 & D200 bodies.
A roundup of the last few weeks in images are below.
Still no joy with the chicks showing at the nest although I’m sure this forthcoming week will be the one.
We had a lovely spell on light during the morning followed by glorious sun, which was a bit harsh one the nest itself so the best shots were early on.
Afterwards I took a walk into the ancient woods to see if anything was showing there but all seemed very quiet.
I took the D300 out today which I part exchanged for an old lens, so what better way tot est it than in the tricky lit woods where my Great Spotted Woodpeckers are nesting.
Initial impessions of the D300 are very very good! I have used a D300s before and this is no different in my opinion other than no video mode.
Low light shooting seems very capable and low signs of noise where my D200 would have been pretty terrible.
More to come tomorrow where hopefully we may see some signs of the chicks heads.
A little round-up of the Woodpeckers from the weekend.
Both parents have been non-stop feeding, tending to the chicks and also cleaning out the nest after almost every feed.
Please see images below highlighting some of the best moments.
Today spent at the Woodpecker nest proved difficult with the light and cloud that was wreaking havoc through the woods, but I did manage a couple of the male bringing food to the nest.
Feeding was busy as expected with around a week to go until fledging, it appears they have been feeding now for 2 weeks, sadly I mised the first week. However, I shall make every effort to visit daily this forthcoming week to see how the young progress.
Watch this space for the Treecreeper nest pictures that I managed to capture today in between visiting the Woodpeckers, they are remarkable little birds and hopefully the images will portray this.
Following on from the previous post, I managed to continue seeing the Woodpeckers feeding at the nesthole, and once the rain had stopped I was granted a spell of sunshine and decent light for grabbing some photographs.
Feeding times have sped up of late, and rather than taking turns, it seems both parents can be out at the same time and return closely together. If one is already feeding or has fed and is waiting for the other return it will tend to the chicks and await a returning call from the other and then leave the nest for the next feeding spree.
Another thing I have spotted is what looks like waste from the nest, either from the young, excess food or general rubbish from within the nest made up of wood etc. This cleaning operation appears to be made on almost every feed at present.
Living very close to Cannock Chase I am able to regularly see Great Spotted Woodpecker, a personal favourite of mine.
Spring is another favourite of mine especially with the Woodpeckers. I enjoy spending time seeing the male and female taking turns in the nest and out of it bringing in food for the young.
Today I was able to see some positive activity at a nest I found a few weeks ago, and that was the sight of a male bringing food to the nest hole and a female leaving – exact signs of young being tendered to inside.
I stayed out of sight for a while and managed to shots of both parents.
The next few weeks I will be visiting regularly to see how they are getting on and will be updating with images as and when.
This Nuthatch is a re-edited version from a previous attempt.
The Treecreeper is a very lively small bird that works it’s way from the base of the tree upwards, spiralling around the trunk looking for insects and bugs, then flies down to the next tree base. They can only climb up trees, they cannot come back down hence flying to the base of their next tree.
I found a pair feeding and did my best to try and get some photos, which is no easy task.
Upton Warren is a haven for bird photography and is home to some visiting species I’ve never photographed before, so I took the short drive down the M5 for a day to see what was on offer.
It basically consists of 1 main pool the Moors Pool, and 3 Flashes a little down the road, all home to different species and all with plenty of hides to view the wildlife from.
I’d read they had Avocets around the reserve and these were what I wanted in particular.
On the day I counted 6 in total, all at the 3rd flash which luckily had the best hide onsite with a lower tier which gives a great perspective for taking photos.
Here are the results
Out and about walking my local patch I have seen alot of Fallow Deer so far this spring on Cannock Chase, so I thought it capture some shots and share.
Not alot has been happening on the Chase so far this Spring, all seems to be on hold whilst this awful spell of weather is with us, fingers crossed it soons eases up and things can get into swing.
I took full advantage of this down spell however and got some practise in with the resident woodland birds to get my skills back up to scratch ready for when we do get a bit more action.
One bit of good news however is that at least one Great Spotted Woodpecker nest has been found and has residents, I managed a quick sneak peek yesterday at the female popping her head out every now and then, so my guess is that she is on eggs at present and in the near future we should see feeding taking place. Until then the nest should be left well alone so they dont’ become disturbed.
I had found a little site where Yellowhammer were feeding well, upto 7 at one point were ground feeding, along with some Chaffinch and some Tits. I’ve never photographed the Yellowhammer before so thought it would be a good chance to get them.
Spring is here and so alot is going on at the Nature Reserves nationwide, and wildlife in general everywhere should be very active.
I decided to take a trip out as the weather forecast looked good for Friday, so i chucked the gear into the car for a change of scenery from Mountain Biking and sports photography.
I find wildlife photography is relaxing and I can drop into my own little world forgetting work and the general stresses of life, so off I went to the RSPB Middleton Lakes reserve to see what was on offer.
Images below from some of what I saw. (The Kingfisher was teasing me but no shots sadly – no change there then!!!)
Another from yesterday’s outing from my RAW collection.
Really enjoying the 300mm prime lens with teleconvertor, seems to give pleasing results.
Easter weekend meant for a nice relaxing break from work, so Monday was a chilling day with a few films and chocolates, and Tuesday’s finer weather took me out to Cannock Chase with the big lens for some wildlife shots.
I enjoy this time of year with all the activity of Spring; nesting, feeding and fledging, so thought I’d start early and look at what was going on at my local patch.
Still only the resident birds to note, maybe things will take shape in the next few weeks – we shall see.
For now here are some of the Nuthatch which is a firm favourite of mine on the Chase, and also an obliging Great Tit which is also a year round resident at Cannock Chase.