Sunday, 27 November 2011

Brent Geese at Titchwell

The main reason for my recent Norfolk trip was to photograph Brent Geese at Titchwell. I saw a few in the distance on Monday at Snettisham, but on Tuesday there was not a single one to be seen at Titchwell. The light was not good either, so a return trip was called for. Two in fact. On Wednesday the geese were out in force - but so was the cloud (and the cold!). Thursday, however, dawned bright and clear. I spent most of the morning stood at the southern end of the west bank path with the sun behind me, as throughout the morning small groups of geese took off and flew across into the adjacent fields.

Brent Goose

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Sunshine at Titchwell

Having had several days with fog, rain and poor visibility it was fantastic to get some early morning sunshine in Norfolk today. The weather seemed to inspire the birds too. I'd headed up to Norfolk primarily to photograph geese (of which more in a later post), but the unexpected highlight was definitely the Golden Plover at Titchwell. Present in large numbers and periodically taking to the wing to provide spectacular swirling displays. Add in a bit of sunlight and the odd lapwing and the spectacle was breath-taking. The photo really doesn't do it justice. This is just one segment of a much larger sky...

plover and lapwing

Friday, 28 October 2011

The silver lining

This weekend I was supposed to be meeting up with friends to walk in the colours of Forest of Dean, but my car had other ideas. So instead I walked my local patch, on what was a stunning autumn day. The kingfishers were out in force - but as ever too skittish for photos. I think I may have found the nest site though - so next spring with a hide, just maybe! A good day in all, with a sparrowhawk sighting, two pairs of goldcrests and loads of long-tailed tits.

Long tailed tit

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Urban Graffiti I

On one of my routes to the River Crane, I pass close to a sunken walled area which features some of the best Urban Graffiti I have ever seen. In the absence of any new wildlife shots this weekend I thought I'd post up the first of a number of shots I took there this weekend. I've adjusted the shot for perspective and cropped the surroundings which makes it hard to get a feel of scale. The original mural was probably about thirteen feet wide.

Urban Grafitti

After taking these shots I spent a happy half hour chasing three juvenile kinfishers. Sadly they were just a little too skittish to get any decent photos - but it was lovely to see them.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Grey Heron (Fish Supper)

Yesterday I took a walk through Home Park, and Bushy Park. Lots of fallow deer were in evidence, as well as the usual crowd of water-fowl. On one of the less-well trodden paths in the Woodland Gardens I came across this grey heron, struggling to down a rather sizable fish supper. I was impressed. It kept it up for a long time, finally managing to swallow the fish whole. I wonder if heron's suffer from indigestion?

Grey Heron

Monday, 12 September 2011

Habour Porpoise

A wet, windy, wild week in Pembrokeshire this year. Not a lot of great photo opportunities although I did see a lot of wildlife. Had a rather sad encounter with a deceased harbour porpoise on the beach at Abercastle, possibly after having run into trouble in the recent stormy weather. Sad to see such a lovely creature under such circumstances - but I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of it's teeth!

Harbour Porpoise

Friday, 2 September 2011

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly

Is it really six weeks since my last post? A combination of a few weekends with no spare time for photography and a couple of very good walks which yielded no photographs!

Today, however, I broke the dry spell. A fantastic, sunny exploration of Chobham Common in Surrey. It's a beautiful place. At first it seemed a bit quiet on the wildlife front. Eventually, however, I found an active selection of small birds. Stone-chats, various warblers, wood-peckers, coal tits and even a red kite.

Migrant Hawker Dragonfly

The highlight of the afternoon, however, was a happy half hour spent photographing dragonflies. I've always loved the coloration of the Migrant Hawker, but I've never seen one stay still long enough to get a photo. Today there were about three of them flying around one of the ponds, and pausing briefly to hover over the water. I wasn't 100% certain of the focus on the first few shots I got (the dragon-fly's body is longer than the depth of field of my 400mm lens at f/5.6) so I dropped the ISO and opened up to f/8 and was rewarded with this shot. Rather chuffed.

It looks much better if you click through to the larger image.

Friday, 15 July 2011


It was a beautiful day today, so I headed out with my camera. The morning proved to be quite frustrating. Lots going on, but never quite in a place I could get a camera on to it. There was a very active pair of tree-creepers in one section of the woodland gardens, but every time they came out someone would walk by and scare them off again. One chap helpfully walked right up to me to tell me where to find a heron just as I was lining up one of the best opportunities of the morning.


This improved a bit after lunch, although the tree-creepers did not come back. I'm quite pleased with this young rabbit. It seemed relatively unconcerned by my presence.

Sunday, 3 July 2011


The crane park kingfishers seem to have been much shyer this year. There is at least one pair still on the river, but I've hardly seen them since February. So on Friday I headed up to Rye Meads RSPB reserve outside Hoddesdon to see if I could get closer to one of the pairs nesting there. It was a good day with lots of sightings, although due to the position of the hide I was not able to get as close as I have been in Crane Park. I took a fair few photos - but I think I must have been a bit to impatient because hardly any of them were really sharp. This was probably the best of the bunch. Looks like I need to go back again!


Friday, 1 July 2011

Male Mandarin Duck

After Mary's comment about Mandarins looking similar to Carolina Wood Ducks I remembered this picture of a male Mandarin which I took back in April and had intended to use as a wordless Wednesday image - but somehow forgot about in the excitement of all the photos from the Farne Islands. It was one of those still, clear spring days where the sun is low and golden, and the ponds were mirror smooth. So thanks, Mary, and I hope you like the Mandarin!

Mandarin Duck

Monday, 27 June 2011

Mandarin Duckling

After several weekends of rain, we finally had some sunshine this weekend. The local park was rather quiet - just a few blackcap and a family of herons that have taken up residence above the reed bed. No sign of my kingfisher this year - which is a shame.

Over the last few weeks there has been a female Mandarin with a small group of ducklings. I think as many as five originally. Last time I saw them she had only two. This weekend only one was in evidence.

Mandarin Duckling

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Farne Island Terns

The week before last I spent a couple of afternoons on Inner Farne being entertained by puffins, terns, guillemots, shags and eider. It was the first time I'd made it across to the Farnes - previous attempts having been stymied by bad weather. But what a fantastic place to be.

The main target of my day was to get shots of the sandwich terns. These graceful birds nest in some numbers on the Farnes and can be seen fishing off the Northumberland coast. Inner Farne is a good place to get up close and personal

Sandwich Tern

Another highlight of the trip were the Arctic terns. Strong winds, good light and the need for the terns to run the gauntlet of scavenging black-headed gulls eager to relieve them of the fish all make for excellent photographic opportunities to capture these lovely birds in flight.

Arctic Tern

Monday, 18 April 2011


It's always nice to see woodpeckers, although they are much easier to hear than to spot. Recently however, I have come across a couple which seem less cautious than normal. This one I heard clearly hammering on a dead tree in my local park. It saw me approach and flew to a higher branch - but when I stopped to to watch, it returned to its original location and continued to peck away.


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Marsh Frog

Apologies for the lack of entries in the last few weeks. I twisted my ankle rather badly at an RSPB reserve in March, which rather restricted my mobility, and subsequently have been ill as well. This weekend, however, despite a continuing sore throat I made it out in the sunshine and was rewarded with an excellent birding weekend. Lots to see. Black-caps a plenty. Lots of kingfisher sightings. Some stunning light as well. Hopefully I'll post up some of those photos in the next few days.

On Saturday afternoon I spent a happy hour photographing marsh frogs behind a local bird reserve. Usually they're quite shy and hop away as soon as you appear, but on this occasion I was able to get very close. This particular shot was taken with a 400mm lens, but I managed to get a lot closer and took some with a 105mm lens as well.

Marsh Frog

The highlight was seeing a pair of juvenile tawny owls this afternoon. Sadly they were well hidden in the trees and the light was all wrong, so the images are not great, but it was lovely to see them. Kind of makes up for all the missed opportunities of the last few weeks...

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sanderlings and other shorebirds

On Friday I had a hankering to see the sea - so I headed to Littlehampton, intending to come back via Pulborough RSPB to take some photos. As it turned out, most of the day's photos were taken at the beach. It was low tide when I arrived and there was a large group of birds at the water's edge so I grabbed the camera gear and headed off to investigate.

Closer examination revealed lots of black-headed gulls, as well as herring gulls, oyster-catchers, knot and a large group of turnstones. Getting close to the first group, however, was problematical as an over-excited dog had the birds rather rattled. So I headed along the beach to a quieter spot and was rewarded by a smaller group of turnstones and a handful of sanderlings. Keeping quiet and laying low I let the incoming tide bring them to me, and spent a happy half hour or so snapping away.


Pulborough, in the afternoon was also busy - with lots of widgeon, teal and even a few pintails - but the light was fading and I didn't really try for any shots.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Little grebe

Friday was grey, wet, cold and altogether not looking very promising. I wandered up to Rye Meads RSPB reserve again, more out of a sense of not wishing to waste the day, rather than any hope of making great images. The morning confirmed my fears, and after a chilly lunch I started to head back to the car. I stopped at the Draper hide on the way back and suddenly everything changed.

In some indefinable way the light improved. It was still overcast, but just bright enough to yield a handful of lovely washed-out high key images. More of these later, perhaps. Because the highlight was still to come. A little grebe decided to hunt directly in front of the hide. These fluffy little birds have long been favourites of mine, and this is the closest I've ever been to one.

Little Grebe

At one point I scared it with the lens of the camera, but it returned after a crash dive and afforded me a few more shots. And to think I could so easily have made it a duvet day....

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Winter birding

This weekend has been overcast and windy. Not the best photography weather at all. But the birds were busy. In fact I think this was the largest number of species I've seen on a single walk since well before Christmas. Twenty-one in all (which is not bad for a West-London park I feel). The highlight of the day was definitely an extended sighting of treecreeper, a bird I see only infrequently and never to my recollection in that park.

The kingfisher flashed by and settled for a while, as did a female kestrel. Two greater-spotted woodpeckers made a flypast and a third settled in full view. Goldfinches were also out in force, interspersed with other finches. Sadly given the light I had to content myself with this one shot of another of my favourite birds. Long tailed tits seem to be getting more common and a lot bolder. This was one of a group which settled quite near me and popped up for a looksee.

Long tailed tit

Sunday, 30 January 2011


This weekend I wandered up to Rye Meads RSPB once more in search of that elusive kingfisher shot. I had a good day. Great light - but no kingfisher sightings. In the end I was beaten by the cold. Not before I managed this shot of a Gadwall in the evening sunlight...


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Quantum Tiger Website Refresh

Well, its been a long time coming, but I have finally launched the new look Quantum Tiger Landscape and Wildlife Photography Website. Now, here's hoping that 2011 brings lots of opportunities to populate it with images!

In the meantime here is a golden oldie to pique your interest!

To the sea

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Wishing all my readers a very happy and successful 2011. Its been grey and foggy the last few days, so no photography opportunities for a while. However, I thought I'd post up a photo that characterises the year just gone, and I opted for another kestrel shot - it having been rather a kestrel year.


This one was taken not far from St Justinians lifeboat station shortly after I'd broken my camera and lens. And yes it was taken with the broken camera. I was holding it together very carefully as the lens would no longer lock to the body. Not a bad shot for a piece of gear that was written off by the insurance company!