Friday, 29 January 2010

Red Pandas at Marwell

Today was another wet and grey day, so I decided to check out Marwell Wildlife Park, near Winchester. After a slow start it was a fun day. I think the highlights for me were the Arabian Sand Cats - which were beautiful (but in an enclosure too dark for photographs) and the Red Pandas.

On my first pass I walked straight past the enclosure because the Panda was not visible. It took me a short while to realise that it was up in the tree watching me. After that I spent a happy half hour with this most endearing creature. Utterly enchanting.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Grey and wet

The title says it all. Grey and wet. And cold. Mustn't forget cold!

Hopefully this weather will break soon and I can get back to photographing some wildlife. Tum ti tum...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Photography days and jays

After a final concerted fling on Tuesday, the snowy weather which has characterised the last few weeks has finally ended. Sadly in it's wake it has been uniformly drab and cloudy. As of this month I am working four days a week, giving me Fridays free as a dedicated photography day. Sadly, this Friday despite a very nice walk in the company of some fine wildlife - the light was too poor to bring back any shots. Hopefully that is not going to set the tone for the year.

So here instead is shot from New Year's day and a very shy jay which managed to hope behind a branch nearly every time I positioned myself to get a clean shot of it!


Sunday, 10 January 2010

Red Kite Diaries

On Monday I took what is becoming an annual trek to Ibstone to photograph the red kites. On this occasion I decided to arrive early in the hope of getting flight shots whilst the sun was still low enough to illuminate under their wings. It was a beautiful frosty morning, but the kites were not playing. Most were sat up in trees and not flying.

Red Kite

As the day progressed more took to the air - but they have a genius for being exactly where I am not. No matter where I positioned myself there always seemed to be more red kites where I had just come from. I'd get in a spot to put the sun behind me - and they'd all move behind as well. Still, over the day I managed a number of shots with progressively numbing hands.

In the afternoon I found a dead squirrel in a hedge row. Possibly dropped after an aerial squabble. Deciding this could be my lucky break I moved it into the centre of a field and retired to the cover of a frosty hedge to await the kites. I must confess I was dissapointed with these supposedly sharp-eyed scavangers. Two circled right overhead at one point, but neither moved in. I can only assume that they'd eaten their fill of chilly squirrel, or failed to spot it entirely. Nevertheless I managed a few more shots before becoming so cold I had to start moving agaun.

It's always a privilige to spend time with this majestic birds and despite the cold I had a most enjoyable day...

Red Kite

You can see more of the day's shots on my flickr stream.

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year Nuthatch

After a few cold, grey days, 2010 dawned bright and sunny. Still very cold, though, with the lightest dusting of snow. I decided to take a wander to my local nature reserve. It was a good morning for wildlife - my first spot of the new year was a beautiful urban fox walking jauntily along the road - mocking me for not having my camera out of my bag! That pretty much set the tone for the walk. Lots to see - long-tailed tits, goldfinches, greater-spotted woodpeckers - but mostly gone by the time my camera was brought to bear. My first photo of the year is a vacant twig - occupied by a long-tailed tit until less than a second prior to shutter...

I did, however, manage a few images, including this nuthatch. It like most of the birds spent far too much time in the shade, so most of my other shots were motion blurred.

I hope that your passage into the New Year has been as much fun as mine and I wish you all a blessed and prosperous 2010!