Sunday, 31 August 2014

Kingfishers Battling - the intensity increases...

Lots more pics from this scrap to follow; it was a fight to near death as the birds tried to drown each other for over 5 minutes. This pic was taken as the challenger first approached the bird already perched on the stump:

Friday, 29 August 2014

So the birds improve...

There's been a lot more of interest around the Axe the last couple of days. I heard Spotted Redshank yesterday whilst I was in Island hide, and sure enough one soon dropped in to Black Hole Marsh. This bird was then joined by another; a juv and a cracking adult. Also Common Tern, Med Gull, Yellow Legged Gull, Ruff, Greenshank, Yellow Wags and battling Kingfishers are all adding to the interest. Here's a couple of pics. So much more to get on the blog when time allows it!!



Monday, 25 August 2014

Kingfisher Emerging from the Water (Pics, and waders)

I'm pretty tolerant of bad weather when it comes to wildlife and photography, but today was simply a no-go with the persistent heavy rain. Here's a few pics from recent trips to Black Hole Marsh; there are lots to sort through as the Osprey and Great White Egret took priority on recent posts!




Friday, 22 August 2014

SPECTACULAR birding on the Axe. Best day of the year??

With yesterday's Great White Egret seemingly spending the evening in the area, I went to Black Hole Marsh for 06:30 this morning. It was a bloody good job I did too! I had good views of the G W Egret from Tower Hide for about 10 mins (took me a while to locate it) before it flew high and South at 07:20. Fantastic bird, and I had it all to myself as nobody else fancied the morning stint (excuse the pun) at the marsh.

After a successful hour birding I went to work in a good mood. As soon as I'd finished I headed back out with the camera; target species was Osprey. I still haven't seen the Osprey fishing yet but did locate it on a post eating a fish. Using the car as a hide, I drove down a lane and set up quite distantly, perhaps 200-300 yards away. After a few minutes watching, the Osprey looked shifty so I prepared for some action shots (crank the ISO and the shutter speed settings up on the camera) and sure enough it took off. It then flew straight towards me until it was within 100 yards or so; still pretty distant but the pics came out okay considering the conditions. One of my favourite birds to photograph... There are more pics to come from today; I also had a Hobby perform a couple of fly-bys in the evening, as well as a posing Kingfisher. Those can be saved for another post; for now please enjoy these:

Thursday, 21 August 2014


What a fantastic day! After receiving news that a Great White Egret had flown south over Black Hole Marsh, I resisted getting my hopes up. BUT the next message which was only a few minutes later stated that the bird was ON Black Hole Marsh. So I dropped everything at work and popped out for a couple of hours; needless to say it had moved when I got there. This was a shame as such a big bird on BHM would have allowed good pics regardless of where about on the marsh it was perched. I eventually caught up with the bird on Colyford Marsh but it was pretty distant; just as well it's big then!

A bonus was a brief glimpse of an Osprey flying upriver with a fish.

I popped back out in the evening after work to see if the GW Egret was still about. It was... as was an Osprey perched in a tree... More pics to follow.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Posing birds of prey - Black Hole Marsh

BOPs are one of my favourite subjects to photograph. Below are pics of a Sparrowhawk and also a Kestrel. The latter was being hassled by a small flock of Goldfinches; the pics weren't good due to distance but they're interesting none-the-less.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

SUPERB photo opportunities around the Axe Estuary

I've got quite a lot to write on here as well as quite a few pics to post! I'll just deal with Black Hole Marsh waders first...
The Ruff gave good views from Island hide this afternoon; I had to wait for the Sun to hide behind some cloud though as the direction of the light was hideous, some of the resulting images were okay. Also a Redshank performed a flap or two which prompted me too offload a few rapid shots! Good numbers of Black Tailed Godwit around also, some of which get quite close to Island hide at times...

Apologies for this one...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Sparrowhawk over Black Hole Marsh

Just a quickie as I'm busy with various work (yes yes at 1am...).
A lovely Sparrowhak put in a brief appearance as it had a play around with the Black Tailed Godwit flock.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Photo - Another SUPERB Reflection

Again at Black Hole Marsh, the first near perfect reflection I've managed with a Black Tailed Godwit. The timing with the water droplet makes this photo all the better...

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Photo series - bathing WOOD SANDPIPER

Another quick trip to Black Hole Marsh this evening yielded views of 2 Wood Sandpipers sticking close together; there'll be some pics of these in due course. Here's some shots of a Wood Sandpiper having a bath which I took a couple of evenings ago. I could tell by the body language that it was contemplating having a bath so I cranked the ISO up on the camera (allows faster shutter speeds) hoping to get some decent splash action. It wasn't great, but this is what I managed:

Stunning birds.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

SUPERB summer plumage Knot

A text message informing me of a summer plumage Knot on Black Hole Marsh was a pleasant surprise this morning; I've never seen a sum plum example before. I popped down to have a look this evening and soon located it. It was pretty distant and hard to see from the hides, but I thought I'd wait out the heavy downpour in case it made the bird flighty, as I've seen previously with waders on Black Hole Marsh. It did become flighty. And it flew towards me and landed in front of Island Hide for a few brief moments...

Both taken at ISO 3200 due to the low light (heavy rain). Terrible conditions for photography, but stunning example of a Knot none-the-less; certainly the smartest looking one I've ever seen!

Wood Sandpiper giving crippling views

And I actually mean it! The term is normally used in a sarcastic manner so I thought I'd spice it up. Black Hole Marsh is gradually returning to it's status of autumnal (yeah, I said it) wader brilliance, with a long staying Wood Sandpiper showing well today. An adult Curlew Sandpiper was a pleasant addition, but pics of it are un-blog-worthy. It was distant. Very distant.
There'll be a lot of Wood Sandpiper pics on here when I get time to look through them. Here's an okay one though: