Tuesday 30 April 2013

Whimbrel (and Hobby) in flight pics!

I was frustrated to see messages and tweets about Hobbies at Black Hole Marsh whilst I was busy working, they're one of my favourite bird species so I don't like missing them. Hopefully I'll be able to improve on last years pics soon, if I'm very lucky some'll pass through on Bank Holiday Monday (only time I get free as I STILL work at least 6 days a week and Hobbies aren't an evening bird).

And here's a couple of Whimbrel shots from this evening:

Very close up bird pics...

I spent a while lying down in the garden over the weekend in the hope that something would land in front of me. It did! Only a blackbird, but it allowed me to use the 70-200mm lens without much post-production cropping being required. There's also a few pics from Friday which didn't make the blog because the Monties took priority! I headed out after the Wood Warbler which Steve found but frustratingly could hear it but not see it. I waited for a while and it eventually started singing at around 19:00. Hopefully it stays for a bit and I'll give it another go as soon as I have a free time slot (likely to be late Friday).
Well worth clicking on all of these, especially the blackbird pics. Just look at the feather detail...

I could probably edit the twig out but don't really have the time. Hopefully I'll get some better photo opportunities of the lovely Sedge Warblers soon!

Sunday 28 April 2013

OSPREY River Axe (about b***** time)!

I didn't have time to see the Egyptian Goose this morning, but just after I got home I received a text from Steve saying there was an Osprey opposite Tower Hide so I got on the bike and headed over. I saw Tim Wright leaving Tower Hide just as I approached it, and was met with the news that it had just flown off... great! I had a quick scan of the tram line posts and relocated the bird. Here's the evidence; although very poor image quality as it was late, distant, dark, drizzly and the pic is also heavily cropped:
My first of the year so it'll do!

VERY distant for this one, but I just had to post it anyway!

Saturday 27 April 2013

Lovely light, close up pics from Black Hole Marsh

I popped over to Black Hole Marsh after work and was rewarded with superb views of 2 Dunlin which could be seen from the peep holes at the entrance to the pathway leading to Island Hide. Here are 3 of the shots:

Friday 26 April 2013

MONTAGU'S HARRIER, River Axe !!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was just one of those special birding moments. I was talking to Steve and Jess and we were just on the topic of me missing EVERY rare bird of prey so far this year including Osprey, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Hobby and Marsh Harrier...
BUT THEN the gulls on the estuary go up and Steve says to look out for a Red Kite because there are a few around at the moment. Then I spotted an interesting shape flying over, pointed the camera skywards and took some snaps of a distant bird of prey which gradually came closer (still pretty far away, a couple hundred metres at least). Steve got his bins on it and said it was a Harrier; lovely slender wings with tapered tips. We weren't entirely sure on the ID at the time due to the distance, but I sent the pics to Steve and he confirmed that his initial suspicion of it being a Monties was correct!
Patch tick for Steve, lifer for me. Bloody BRILLIANT!!!
Pics are pretty low image quality as the bird was very distant and I had my short lens on (70-200mm, pics are cropped to show approximately 2% of the original image area. Yes really, I calculated it) but this is one of those incredibly rare occasions when I simply don't care:

Thursday 25 April 2013

Catch up post, lots of pics

I haven't had time for birding or blogging this week, with the exception of an out-of-the-bedroom-window job. Here's some pics from the weekend and some Starling pics from the house:

And here's a pic of the Moon which I took on Saturday. It's not particularly close (it's been cropped), my lens is ONLY a 300mm... Well, I say 300mm, but I combined the lens with stacked 1.4x and 2x extenders, and with the 1.6x crop factor of the APS-C sized sensor in my camera body, this set up gave a focal length of 1344mm. Only downside of this is needing to take the shot with the aperature set at f20 (all in manual mode obviously) and needing to use a tripod and remote release to try and combat blurring caused by slow shutter speeds. It's worth clicking on this pic and dragging it around in the enlarged view...

Craters are nice and obvious!

Friday 19 April 2013

More of the Blackcaps

More pics from my bedroom window! I took these after work today but the sun was  at a terrible angle. Not often will I wait for the sun to go IN before taking pics.

I tried for the Barn Owl again, but it didn't show until 20:40. Obviously trying to take pics by this time would have been a complete waste of time! Think I'll give it a go in a morning instead.

Thursday 18 April 2013

Some half decent pics from the Axe Valley

Despite persistence, I'm still managing to miss the Barn Owl at Black Hole Marsh. It's been very windy the last two evenings so I guess perhaps it was reluctant to show. I did get some shots of the 3 Pintail yesterday evening though. Dark and distant but it's a flying shot so it deserves a spot on the blog:
I cropped the 3rd bird out of this pic

A very familiar pose!
Here's a pic of a Redshank from the weekend taken from Tower Hide. I took this with the old camera and lens arrangement as it wasn't quite close enough for the new bit of kit:

Here's a pic of a distant Redwing taken in Colyton over the weekend:

And two pics of a Green Sandpiper from this evening. These are the half decent ones I referred to in the post title. Again, these were taken with the old kit as it was too far away for the new kit, but I'm pleased with how they came out. DEFINITELY worth clicking on them to enlarge the view!

Monday 15 April 2013

More pics from the Axe

I'm determined to keep up this spree of regular blog posts! Here's some pics from this evening. Pretty dark for all of them (between 19:30 and 20:20 and VERY dull and cloudy) but they look 'daylight-ish' because I know what I'm doing with a camera. I went primarily to see the Barn Owl which appears regularly near Black Hole Marsh but it didn't show... better luck next time hopefully.

The lower 3 pics were taken over the weekend in slightly less dull conditions. I confess to a high level of desperation when I took the Gull pic; there was nothing of interest about and I was determined to take some more BIF shots with my new lens. I'm quite pleased with how it came out considering it was dull (mildly preferable to harsh back-lighting mind you). Now all that needs to happen is for an Osprey to do a similar pass, with two 12 inch Mullet dangling helplessly from the bird's talons... Hey, what's wrong with a bit of fantasising occasionally eh?!

Friday 12 April 2013

Blackcap Bombardment and pics from the bedroom...

I was watching a female Blackcap in a bush outside my bedroom window yesterday evening. At least one seems to be there fairly regularly from about 18:30 til dark. I took some ropey pics of 2 on the same bush (far apart so pic quality isn't blog-able) but then a 3rd and 4th joined in the fun! These consisted of 3 males and the aforementioned female. The pics of the 4 are again not blog-able as they were flying around being aggressive towards one another. Here's a few pics of the individuals; not particularly aesthetically pleasing but they're VERY unusual in this part of Colyton so they certainly deserve the blog space.