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Monday, 6 July 2015

Ospreyitis !!!

One bird has dominated my thoughts these last few months, a bird that is without doubt my absolute favourite, the Osprey.
Ospreys are astonishing birds, despite looking so good, they are birds that are perfectly equipped for their existence, and their annual migration to western Africa and back is just amazing. Not only that they migrate thousands of miles and then return to the very same nest, and the same partner. Each spring it is fascinating watching and learning about the different birds returning to the various nests.
They are one of the conservation successes of recent times, recovering from just one breeding pair in Scotland in the 1960's, to hundreds of pairs now, not only in Scotland but now in northern England in the Lake District and Northumberland, to west Wales, and to another conservation success story their reintroduction at Rutland.
I have travelled a lot these last few months, 4 separate visits to Rutland, and the long drive to Aviemore in Scotland, with another Aviemore trip this coming weekend. And also hoping to fit in a trip down to west Wales and see the birds that are nesting on the Dyfi Estuary.
Below are a selection of my Osprey images from these trips....

post dive, getting a good grip of the fish

about to take off

lift off from the water with a nice trout

clearing the water

A beauty

off he goes back to the nest

female landing at the Loch of the Lowes nest

Blue XD complete with Satellite tracker leaves after a successful dive

Male leaving a nest

this nest is on a secluded Scottish Loch, with three chicks

another stick comes in to the nest

Blue 01 leaves with a nice trout from Ryhall near Rutland

giving me a stare as he flies above me

The nest in Manton Bay on Rutland Water

Manton Bay male.... Blue 33

Manton Bay female having a wash after feeding the chicks




Friday, 19 June 2015

Little Owls and Stonechats

I have recently had the good fortune to be shown where a pair of Little Owls have a territory and have enjoyed the last couple of weeks getting used to them and their habits... it is proving quite a challenge but today managed the first really clear shots off the male bird.

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One of my favourite little birds is the Stonechat, but it has always been a struggle to get decent images as they mainly inhabit the open fell or moorland and getting close to them is very difficult. Today we went over to Conwy on the North wales coast where there is a healthy population that seemed to have bred well this year. Trouble is they inhabit an area thick with gorse, the males calling from the highest bushes in their territory. It was a bit of a painful session crawling through gorse bushes, of course dopey but a thin pair of pants on that now have some nice blood stains on them. But it was well worth it to get close to these enigmatic little birds... these are some of the images i managed.

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I think this is a juvenile

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and a pair

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female

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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Lots going on ....

Its been a while since I last posted, as the title suggests there has been lots going on this last month or so since I last posted, so I will let the photos tell the story...

Earlier this month I travelled up to Dumfrieshire, and to the hides belonging to Alan McFadyen, the morning session focused on photographing Kingfishers, some lovely perched shots and then trying to catch them diving. Was great fun but extremely difficult to catch them full frame and in focus, even at a shutter speed of 1/4000 I still couldnt freeze them completely...these are my efforts

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Whilst up in Scotland I had the exciting opportunity to photograph a Cuckoo that Alan has got coming in to feed, this is very much hit and miss, happens very quickly but a massive thrill to see and photograph

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I have been searching for a long while now for Little Owls, I know they are in our local area but finding them is another matter. This week I was put onto a pair by a friend, minutes from home and living in an old oak tree, great to see.... these were the first few shots I grabbed, almost dark and shot at ISO 6400 but looking forward to more shots over the summer

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I am still getting down to see the Hares when I can, these are from the last couple of visits

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Another objective completed this month was to photograph Whitethroats, seen plenty before but never photographed, so a couple of trips to RSPB Conwy where I found a couple of nests and I eventually managed to get some clear shots of them through the thick brambles they inhabit

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A local river is home to a pair of Dippers and it was with great excitement that we caught up with them not long after their young had left the nest.

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Wherever we go at the moment the lovely sound of Chiffchaffs is all around, not easy to get in front of the camera but glad I stuck at it...

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Also lots of Willow Warblers about on the North Wales coast

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A local site called Bettisfield is well known for Stonechats, still not seen any here but its a great place for Linnet

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Here also are lots of Skylarks, set myself a challenge of getting one in flight...far from easy this was my best effort...work in progress I think!

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And finally, a lot closer to home the garden pond once again has a healthy population of frogs who have again bred well with lots of tadpoles.

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Up to date at last, apologies for the long post, but as the title said there has been lots going on.... see you soon