Saturday, 29 August 2009

Pre-trip optimism...

Looking out of my window this morning the sky is a cloudless blue, and low morning is highlighting the first tints of autumn in my neighbour's garden. After a grey few days it is a wonderful sight. It fills me with hope for the next few days. I'm off up to Mull for a bit and then coming back via the Southern Lakes. Very much looking forward to it all; but rather hoping that the light is good

I've just review my last my Mull shots. Some potential there in terms of subjects, buzzards, curlews, sea eagles, seals - but all uniformly drab and uninteresting thanks to unhelpful weather. Hopefully this year will turn up something more noteworthy!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Kestrels in the park

Having spent the last few days solidly in front of the computer working on a new project (of which more soon!) I decided to head out for some fresh air this afternoon. On arriving in Bushy park, I'd not walked more than ten yards from the car park when I spotted a kestrel. She was perched in some small trees and diving repeatedly into long grass.

So intent was she on her activity that she seemed oblivious to my presence. Over the next half an hour she treated me to a display of her hunting skills. I'm not sure if she'd had a hard few days, but she seemed to mostly be catching beetles.

After a while she settled down in a larger tree, and we sat and watched each other for a while before she finally disappeared off in a display of high altitude hovers and swoops. A good afternoon in my book!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Stalking Oystercatchers

Today I spent the day on Littlehampton beach. Not the best spot for wildlife perhaps, but as I headed towards Rustington (away from the crowds), there were a number of birds working the shoreline. The usual collection of gulls along with the occasional ringed-plover, a couple of nervous groups of turnstones and a fair number of oystercatchers. Other than the gulls, everything was a little twitchy. I opted to use one of the beach groynes as a blind, and after a while the birds settled down and got on with their lives. It was uncomfortable and the sand was wetter than I realised. However, it as worth it. After about twenty minutes one of the oystercatchers worked its way along the beach toward me.

The last time I was this close to an oystercatcher was on the Falklands. There are two species there. The magellanic looks similar to our own, but with paler legs and eyes.

The aptly named 'blackish' oystercatcher is more obviously different. All three species have a squeaking call, but (unless my memory is playing tricks on me) I swear that the european oystercatchers is significantly higher in pitch.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Omissions and errors

Not a great weekend. Visiting family so I didn't take a long lens. Today, however, Dad decided he wanted to go to Fowlmere. So we did. Only as I took a photo a red-winged moth did I realised I also had no compact flash card. Doh! Beginner's mistake! We narrowly missed seeing a kingfisher from the spring hide (as a guy with a 1D and 300mm f/2.8 was keen to show us). Great shot! I was jealous. Actually I'm glad we missed it because I'd have been gutted if it was there and I had no lens or memory! And then my car broke down on the motorway on the way home.

Anyway. In lieu of a real entry for the week, and as a way of destressing myself here is young herring gull which kept me amused for ages on Caldey Island. This little chap was very active. Trying all the time to catch flies. On occasion I think it even succeeded. I'd wandered down the path to try and get closer to some common seals and found myself in a gull colony. I sat down and after a while they just got on with life.