News

Wood Warblers
05th June 2012
One of our little gems the Wood Warbler usually arrives in April and May to the Beacons, inhabiting light airy woodlands with open canopies. Not the easiest to photograph as it flits around constantly, stopping to give its "spinning coin" song. This song is its give away, then you can see a beautiful, bright, lemon and white little bird. This spring they have been few and far between, I have not found any in the usual sites they inhabit so I was glad to find a few birds while walking along the River Usk yesterday.
Please see UK Birds.
Beacons Birder in Norfolk, Spring 2012
31st May 2012
We have just been to Norfolk again, our second home, not literally I'm sorry to say. As usual, we were based right up on the North Norfolk coast, this is a prime birding location and for us the best birding in the UK. We went a little later than usual because of commitments, while there we encountered the coldest spell of weather we have ever known in May. The wind blew from the north west and made the days very cold indeed, we always take warm clothes whenever we go to Norfolk and It's a good thing we did because we would have had to buy coats in order to go out, it was literally that cold.
The birding was a little bit slow, but the beauty of Norfolk is whatever the wind direction you always have nice birds to see all year around. We tend to keep away from the big reserves such as Titchwell etc., preferring to spend our time on small areas where things are a lot quieter, after all Norfolk is one big reserve! These big RSPB reserves, although they do a great job for conservation and I fully applaud and support them morally and financially through membership, they are not a place for a photographer. There is a palpable resentment from some birders for anyone with a largish lens, I suppose people dressed from head to toe in Camo clothing standing in front of people or taking up all the room in a popular hide with their equipment doesn't help the situation. I have given my wife permission to shoot me if she ever sees me dressed in this way. There are plenty of very nice images to photograph without this type of behavior. I stand by my mantra, "do your homework, get up early, keep quiet, be patient and work alone".
Moving on, it just goes to show what a difference wind direction makes in Norfolk, one day the wind blew strongly from the east and the following two days produced a plethora of very good birds: European Bee Eater, Red Backed Shrikes, Bluethroats, Icterine Warbler, Common Rosefinch, Red Breasted Flycatcher. It is quite remarkable when it happens, unfortunately it doesn't happen that often these days, weather systems seem to be predominately from the west driving the birds away from the east coast. It days gone by falls of birds were legendary in Norfolk after a good 'Easterly'.
We bumped into Tony Peach a gentleman we met on Hols in Cyprus some years ago, he and his wife Margaret, like us, were staying in a small hotel in Nikoklia, this little hotel which only had eight rooms was a little jewel and birders came from all over to stay there. It was a lovely time with very nice company and it was great to see him again, he lives in Norfolk and is a very active birder. He had come to see the European Bee Eater, he has been birding for thirty years and this was like me his first Bee Eater in the UK.
I managed to photograph a very nice selection of birds notably, Cuckoo, Marsh Harrier, Red Backed Shrike, Barn Owl and Short Eared Owl. I also photographed a variety of other birds and I have put together a portfolio of images.
Please see Norfolk Birds, Norfolk Spring 2012.
Cuckoos increasing, Is there hope ?
31st May 2012
This 2012 Spring has seen an obvious increase in Cuckoo numbers in the Brecon Beacons. Birds are being reported from all over, two separate sightings from seasoned local patch recorders have both recorded seven birds together in one area. Reports of two and three birds in an area are common. Earlier this week I was out birding on a beautiful evening up on a local mountainside. The air was still and everywhere was bathed in the golden sunlight of a warm spring evening, one of those evenings which make you glad to be alive.
I could hear male Cuckoos calling from a couple of areas, echoing across the valley, a real sound of Spring, I then saw a Cuckoo flying past which began a soft bubbling call, a female, she flew out of sight, however, this sparked a frenzy of activity from no less than three males all flying around together. One bird flew off probably trying to find the female while the other two began a territorial battle. I know from experience that when this happens these birds become preoccupied and this can lead to them perching closer than they normally would.
The Cuckoo is a very shy and unapproachable bird and will fly off at the slightest disturbance, therefore, you have to be very measured in your approach to photographing them. There were a few isolated trees in the area and they like to perch whenever they can, so I sat and waited until the action came closer, they were flying from tree to tree pecking at each other and making a variety of noises.
At last one bird landed on a hawthorn bush reasonably close, I got up slowly, the bird was looking in my direction but seemed settled, the sun although getting quite low was just falling on the bird, illuminating him in a warm glow.
I made slow measured movements and was able to take a few shots before the other bird came back in and it all started again. It was quite a spectacle and a privilege to watch.
Lets hope this year is the start of a resurgence in numbers of these lovely birds.
Please see Cuckoos, Shrikes and Waxwings.
Dotterel - a twenty five year wait!!
07th May 2012
It's been a very long wait indeed. I've seen Dotterel through a telescope drinking from a pool on the Belen Plains in Extremadura and running along a beach in Norfolk in their worn Autumn plumage. Never until now, have I had the opportunity to photograph one.
Last year I went to Lesvos in late April and when I came home I found that there had been birds on a easily accessible hillside not fifteen miles from where I live and what made it worse, it was in an area I know so well having walked there since I was a boy. I saw some lovely birds in Lesvos but I still felt I had missed out - what a strange feeling.
Dotterels are some of the most enigmatic little birds, they are very difficult to locate passing through the UK from their wintering grounds in North Africa to their breeding grounds in the far north of Scotland and Scandinavia during a very small window in late April and early May. They then appear only on remote hillsides, sometimes up to 3000ft. This year driven on by a burning desire to photograph these birds I have on three occasions walked the area where they were seen last year with no luck whatsoever. There have been very few reports of these birds on passage anywhere this year and I thought another year had gone by.
I was up in mid wales on Sunday looking for Cuckoos, with no success. I was parked on a hillside when a message came through on my smartphone at 16.00hrs from Birdguides - "a single Dotterel on a hillside just outside Brecon, last seen late morning". My heart rate increased I left immediately, I was about 15 miles away, I had to take the main road there was no choice it was the most direct route but I was stuck behind every conceivable slow moving vehicle, Buses, Campers, Bank holiday drivers, what a frustrating drive, now I know why I don't twitch!
I got to the top of the hill where the bird had been reported - no sign of anyone just a vast open space, I thought 'that's it, I've missed out again'. I got my scope out and began looking more in hope than expectation, then I spotted something hiding in a clump of reeds, I couldn't believe my eyes about 100yds away a beautiful female bird, my heart rate went up to a new level. Female Dotterels are more colourful than the males I was hoping if the bird was still there that it would be a female.
I had my kit on the back seat to save time, I walked quietly in an arc around the bird to avoid disturbance I compressed my tripod right down and kept as low as I could. She seemed to tolerate my presence and I took a few shots then moved 5yds forward then some more, etc etc. I knelt down on the soaking wet ground, I didn't care, then to my astonishment she came walking towards me inquisitively looking at me and just feeding by trembling her foot on the ground to catch worms. I stayed there for an hour with just the two of us in the middle of a sodden moorland. I took a whole raft of close up shots it was one of the best moments in many years of birding. I reluctantly left her still quietly feeding and made my way back to the car with one of my big ambitions finally realised.
Please see latest images, Dotterel.
Migration in reverse but Wheatears at last!!
29th April 2012
This horrendous weather we have been enduring for almost the whole of April must make the upland areas of the Brecon Beacons very unpleasant for Spring migrants, but come they must. Yesterday I saw a thousand Swallows over Llangors lake, swarming like flies low down over the surface of the water feeding on insects driven down by the bad weather, quite a spectacle, there were also around twenty Swifts there. Swifts are almost always the last to arrive over the lake, Sand Martins have been there for a few weeks, but conspicuous by their absence are House Martins. In years gone by House Martins were always here before the Swifts and the Acrocephalus Warblers like Reed and Sedge, but this is now the reverse.
However, at last there is some passage of Northern Wheatears showing on the Beacons. Yesterday I counted about eighty in my traditional sites for these lovely birds, some are starting nest building in old isolated limestone walls and conglomerate boulders. They certainly need some shelter in the inhospitable areas where they choose to breed.
These sites always provide me with some lovely views of what are some of the smartest spring migrants.
Please see UK Birds.
Peregrine Falcon, What a bird!!!
21st April 2012
While out walking in the Brecon Beacons yesterday looking for Spring Migrants, I had some success, seeing Redstart, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap. I also watched a Marsh tit with nesting material in its beak and a Pair of Bullfinches courting, always nice. However, I was hoping to hear a Cuckoo but no luck, perhaps it's just a fraction early for them to get going in the upland areas of the Beacons. We have been having some violent rain and hail showers lately here and if you are unfortunate to get caught out in one it's very unpleasant indeed. I was walking about a mile from the car, with one eye on the sky, as I looked up I noticed a huge black cloud moving quickly in my direction, I was near an old limestone escarpment with some overhangs so I got under cover just as an unbelievable hailstone shower started. There were stones as big as garden peas bouncing a foot off the floor, suddenly I heard a loud screeching and a Male Peregrine came zooming in and landed on a ledge opposite me and got under cover in a small cave, he must have had the same idea as me, shelter!
When the storm finished I could see him tearing at what looked like a Pigeon carcass, he must have hidden it there earlier and this place must have been his shelter. I put the lens together as quickly as I could and managed to shoot a few frames before he flew off into the now blue sky. These storms are a real nuisance but they certainly presented me with some nice views of a fabulous bird.
Please see latest images, Peregrine Falcon.
Chiffchaff / Willow Warbler comparison.
17th April 2012
Alongside one of our local reservoirs there is a small copse of Hawthorn and Hazel, just a few small bushes, quite close to the roadside. Nothing there to attract birds you would think and everybody basically ignores this area. There is, however, a little trickle of water which runs there all year round, it makes its way down from the opposite hill side, flows under the road and meanders through this little copse. The birds love this little oasis, they come there to drink and bathe and always land in the bushes first before dropping down to the water. If you are patient and quiet some nice shots can be taken.
I waited early one morning this week, tucked in under the Hazel hedge, it's best to be there early because the light is on the right side. I managed to get some close ups of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff which were my targets, I was looking at the images on the camera screen when I heard a small ' Wheet, Wheet ', I thought 'that's a Redstart ', I waited, and about five minutes later a first winter bird flew into the Hawthorn. He is not yet in full breeding plumage but is still a handsome bird. I was delighted, it's one of my favourite spring migrants.
For ID purposes;
With the Willow Warbler you can see there are lighter legs, a lighter coloured and blunter bill, a more prominant, yellow / white supercillium and a general lighter appearance to the breast and belly.
With the Chiffchaff you can see the dark legs, a much darker and pointy bill, a more buffy coloured breast, a small pale, indistinct supercillium, a darkish eye stripe that cuts through its white eye ring breaking it up at the front and rear. These are really the basic features I look for, but also one of my best ways of separating these birds, apart from the song is, the Chiffchaff flicks its tail down regularly, the Willow Warbler does not.
Please see UK birds.
Bramblings
10th April 2012
I have hardly seen any of these beautiful birds all winter and I was walking through a local conifer plantation when a flock of about 200 birds took off from the forest floor.
What a shock, I managed to fire off a few shots with my Canon 300 F4.0 before they disappeared up into the canopy. They were singing as they flew, what a wonderful sight and sound.
The males are starting to develop their summer plumage, absolutely stunning.
Please see UK Birds.
Duelling Ospreys
09th April 2012
Once again it's Osprey time, late March through April, they always turn up on passage around the various Reservoirs in the Brecon Beacons. I don't have many sightings, just the usual brief one off, then they seem to disappear. So when I heard about a sighting locally I went to have a look and there was one bird sitting in a pine tree on the banks of the Cantref Reservoir on the A470 Merthyr to Brecon road. It gave some excellent scope views and I took some shots for record purposes, While I was looking through my scope I heard a big splash away to my left and I realised there was another bird which had come over and dived straight into the water, it caught quite a large rainbow trout and when it tried to take off again it couldn't because the fish was too heavy, so it had to drag it across the water to the bank of the reservoir. This prompted the original Osprey to fly down and try and steal the fish, there started an almighty scrap with both birds struggling to take the fish. They were both pulling in opposite directions and then coming together trying to tear chunks out of the trout. The bird that originally caught the fish just about came out on top and managed to fly off with it's catch. It flew away to the East over the mountain, I thought that was the end of it, the remaining bird went back to its tree and settled down. However, about 30 minutes later the other bird reappeared, still with half the fish in its talons, it obviously couldn't eat it all in one go. It circled around and then settled in a Pine tree high up on the mountain. The first bird tried to catch a fish for itself but in my time there was unsuccessful, unfortunately the rain came in quite heavy and forced me to leave. There is a final twist to the story, and that is my mate, who was walking up on a mountain about five miles away reported that he had a very unusual sighting of an Osprey eating a fish on top of a 'Trig' point. Then it flew off west, my direction, with half the fish still in its talons. It must have been the same bird, it's too much of a coincidence, what an unusual and very entertaining series of events.
I took a whole raft of shots, unfortunately from a distance, so they are only for a record.
Please see UK Birds.
Red Kite
27th March 2012
There is a place that I always go to in late March to early April, to photograph Northern Wheatears, it's high up on the Brecon Beacons in a very quiet location. It's an ideal place to photograph what I consider to be one of the most photogenic spring migrants. They like to stay around a small cluster of broken Limestone rocks and they perch on top which makes a nice image. I was at this place yesterday, in glorious spring weather, but they haven't arrived yet. However, what happened next took me totally by surprise, I was sitting on my foldaway stool against a hedgerow when there was an almighty splashing from a pool which is about one hundred yards away, I thought an Osprey had entered the water, but there is nothing in the pool for a bird like that. After about a minute, much to my surprise, a Red Kite took off from the pool and landed on a fence post, it saw me and I thought 'that's it, it will take off now', it did, but it landed again immediately, its feathers must have been too wet for it to fly away. Usually you don't see Red Kites perched, they are nearly always on the wing and they are very shy and don't allow anyone to get too near to them. This was an opportunity that doesn't come around too often, so I took a few shots, then crept nearer and nearer, until I was about twenty yards away. The bird began to sun itself and fan its tail feathers out to dry, these are are an integral part of its flight, acting like a large rudder which it uses constantly to change direction. It began pulling its tail feathers through its bill to dry them and just sat there drying off and looking at me quite relaxed. When it was mostly dry it took off on its five foot wingspan and drifted across the valley. What a great experience!!
Please see UK Birds.
River Usk birds and Spring Migrants.
26th March 2012
What an unbelievable spell of weather we are experiencing presently, it is a real pleasure to be out in the countryside. I was on the banks of the river Usk near Brecon yesterday morning before first light watching the Dippers go about their nest building, it looks like they can't make up their mind which nest site to use, they have one nest in the ceiling of an old stone structure on a canal which runs alongside the river and another in an old recess on the same structure, they are back and fore to both. As I was walking through the woods in the dark to get to the river, Robins and Blackbirds were in full song, it's correct what the old saying says about the Blackbird, ' Last to bed at night, first up in the morning'. The woods are carpeted at this time of year with Wood Anenome and Celandine and added to these are areas of Daffodil and Primrose. The leaves are out in readiness for the Bluebells which will take their turn to carpet the woodland floor in late April and May.
I watched the Dippers and also a pair of beautiful Grey wagtails courting in the same area from where I was tucked away under an old Beech, this tree, which is right on the river bank, has its roots submerged by the river. The roots trap silt from the river when it's in flood and a mini beach has formed over many years, this a landing place for Otters and they sometimes sit on the roots of this tree, what a tale this old tree could tell of it's sightings over the last hundred or so years. One morning last year I was in my portable hide waiting for a Kingfisher to appear when I looked casually out of the small opening on the side of the hide and something broke the surface of the river, my first thoughts were, 'that's a fair sized trout', I kept looking and an Otter broke the surface, then another and another. They climbed onto the rocks on the far bank of the river and I could see it was one large and two smaller Otters, obviously a female taking two youngsters out on the river, showing them their new world. They slid off the rocks and quietly swam away up the river and disappeared into the morning mist.
This morning, from under the Beech tree, I looked up and I saw what must have been an Osprey drift over high up above the river, I can't think what else it could be having ruled out Buzzard and Kite by flight pattern, I looked in a tree above the canal and I could see a male Sparrowhawk sitting there watching me, he took off and left me to it. I took a few shots of the Dippers and Wagtails and left them to carry on with their courting. In the woods on the way back Chiffchaffs were singing everywhere and a single Blackcap was in full song, some singer he is too! Goldcrests were chasing each other throughout the woods and Wrens were singing from all over, what a lovely place to spend a few hours.
I took a few casual shots from my visit, please see UK birds.
Canon 500 V 600
05th March 2012
Please see 'Equipment Reviews' on the 'Home Page'
Northern Grey Shrike
18th February 2012
There's not much around at the moment, apart from the Common Yellowthroat that's thirty miles down the road near Newport, Gwent. I've seen plenty of these little 'sculkers' in the States and they are not easy to pin down, also given the amount of people there will be on a fist day twitch for a mega rarity like that, as a photographer, it's best to stay away for the time being. Therefore, I went out birding locally and thought I'd see if a wintering Northern Grey Shrike was up on a local moorland. This particular bird goes missing for long periods,( Weeks ), at a time, but he was there today.
He was perching on the tops of isolated small trees, silhouetted against a grey winter sky. These birds can be a nightmare to photograph because of this, you have to try and get them lower down, which they don't like. The bird was perched on top of a large Hawthorn bush which was no use for a photograph, for the reasons mentioned above. I decided, therefore, to wait lower down in some dense Gorse bushes near a fence line. I waited for about half an hour, until as I hoped, some walkers came along and pushed the bird off his perch, he could have gone further away but on this occasion he came down to the fence line. I quietly poked the lens through a gap in the Gorse, as one particularly vindictive piece was sticking right where the Sun doesn't shine, I had no choice but to put up with it as these birds are so spooky and if I had moved he would have flown immediately. I managed to get a few shots off before another walker came along and the bird was gone again. I couldn't complain because it was a walker that gave me the opportunity in the first place. I would have liked to have been a bit closer but you have to take what's on offer in these lean times.
Please see UK Birds.
Short Eared Owls
07th February 2012
It's been a fantastic winter throughout the UK for these birds after their huge breeding season in Scandinavia. Unfortunately Powys has not benefited from this population explosion with only a scattering of birds around. There is one fairly local site which has one or two birds most years but they never show much, it is a barren, post industrial site, high on a mountain side in Gwent. It is an extremely cold, bleak, inhospitable place with old abandoned coal and iron workings and their subsequent slag heaps scarring the area.
I spent two afternoons absolutely freezing with no reward whatsoever, but on the third visit I was on the verge of giving up when I scanned a line of old concrete fencing posts for the last time, I thought I was seeing things, there was a bird sitting quietly staring at me from around a hundred yards away. There was only the last pinky glow of the setting sun for light, I racked the iso on the camera right up and thought right this is my last chance and I made my way quietly towards the bird until I got to the edge of an old railway cutting about 40 yards away. I had to use a corded shutter release because my hands were shaking with the cold. I took a few shots with the shutter making a Kerchunk noise as it does at about a twentieth of a second.
The bird tolerated me there, I think it felt sorry for me, and after about twenty shots it glided off into the gloom.
I couldn't wait to pack up and head off home, I was frozen, but at least I had some local shots!
Please see UK Birds.
Nature - Red in Tooth and Claw
05th January 2012
Following on with the Sparrowhawk theme, the female is hardly ever seen in any detail by me, I know she's around because I get fleeting glimpses of her flying overhead and I saw here only last week as I was driving past the entrance to a farm which is just up the lane from my house. She had killed a starling and was sitting on a large stone by the farm entrance with it in her talons but she flew off as I passed.
However, it is quite ironic that over the last two days this female bird has given me the most detailed insight into Sparrowhawk behaviour ever.
It all started when she smashed into a Wood Pigeon that was flying over my garden bringing both of them down onto a grassy area. The pigeon briefly struggled but as she pressed her needle sharp talons into its vital organs it was all over very quickly. I was able to witness this at very close quarters, she then quickly started to pluck her prey but she obviously felt vulnerable in this open position because she dragged the pigeon across the garden to the shelter of a large hedgerow where she began to eat. I noticed that she became very anxious when the wind gusted and I thought a few times she might fly off.
I tried to take a few shots without disturbing her. I let her feed for quite a while and while she was absorbed I crept closer behind a tree. She ate her fill, taking about half an hour, and with a very full crop flew off. I thought that she had finished with her kill and would not return, although there was still quite a lot of flesh left on one breast.
I decided, just in case she returned, to set up more gear and wait. About three hours later she returned and began eating again, this time finishing the other breast. I was able to take some close up shots of her because she was so absorbed that she tolerated my presence. She left with another full crop and did not return again that day.
That night I fully expected the remains of the pigeon to have been eaten by whatever creatures move around during that time, Fox etc.
On this occasion this did not happen;
I knew that Sparrowhawks returned to their kills for a short time after, usually if they are disturbed but I never expected her to return the following day, but return she did. She immediately turned the pigeon over onto its side and began eating again, this time pulling out the entrails etc, she was obviously not going to waste anything. This time when her crop was full she dragged the bird into the hedge so it couldn't be seen by the local corvids etc, seeing this I knew she was coming back and she came back another twice that day and picked the pigeon to the bone. She was a proper hunter, killing to eat and wasting nothing!
I was surprised by the effort required to pluck a big bird such as a Pigeon.
After each feed she found a wet patch of grass to clean her bill and face, in this she was most particular, she also preened and rearranged her feathers as they became quite untidy during feeding.
I have not seen her since but over those two days I felt I knew her a lot better and I was grateful for the little insight into her world.
Please see UK Birds.
Photographing a male Sparrowhawk
05th January 2012

By regular observation I'm fairly sure there are two Sparrowhawks consistently operating around my local area, one male and one female. I have had numerous encounters with the male as he has been attacking song birds in this area, including in my garden, on a regular basis for a few years and I have photographed him on several occasions. Although he is an extremely elusive bird he does have a regular flight path and MO and he rarely deviates from them. However, in order to photograph him successfully I need to be in my permanent hide, hidden behind Camouflage netting. I have to predict which branch he is going to perch on because if he misses his target then he only lands on a branch for a maximum of two or three seconds before flying off. Consequently, there is rarely enough time to reach for a lens and focus it because these birds live on their wits and the merest of movements or slightest noise will cause them to fly off. To overcome this problem I select a branch and auto focus on it and then switch off the auto focus to prevent any 'Hunting' by the auto focus system at the critical moment, I also switch off the image stabilization because even the slight noise it makes is enough to spook him. I also have to choose a smaller lens eg 300mm instead of 600mm to have more chance of framing the bird, (300mm lens covers a wider area). I also use my 1D Mk 2 camera for an even wider field of view, so with these mounted on a tripod and with a three foot corded shutter release it's just a matter of waiting for him to land, hopefully on the right branch and then immediately fire the shutter and hold it down until he flies off. I can usually manage to fire off between ten and twenty shots, (8.5 frames / Second) before he realises I'm there. If he lands on the wrong branch, although it's tempting, I never try and move because he will fly off and not return; keeping still will give him the confidence to perhaps return later. This may seem very involved but it's what's required to photograph this particular bird.
I hope this may be of some use to anybody interested in this type of wildlife photography.
Bittern
28th December 2011
One of the most difficult Herons to pin down, the Bittern is a master of disguise, using its cryptic plumage to hide in the reed beds where it spends almost all of its time. It's usually seen flying a short distance over the top of the reeds before frustratingly dropping out of site. However, sometimes they briefly creep out into the open and the lucky observer is rewarded with a photographic opportunity.....
Please see UK Birds.
Great Grey Shrike
24th November 2011
I have been watching a Northern Grey Shrike for a couple of days on a very open area of moorland in the Brecon Beacons. This is a traditional site for these birds during most winters. This bird was, and still is, extremely elusive, flying away as soon as it sees anybody. These birds look conspicuous and with their habit of perching on the tops of bushes, you'd think they would be easy to find, however, in my experience they are very adept at disappearing. I watched it for a few hours, trying to establish a pattern to its behaviour and I could see it was favouring a particular Hawthorn tree. This was not its larder, just a good vantage point for it to look out from.
I decided the only way to get near it was from a hide so I got up at 06.00 this morning and drove to the site, using my usual MO, set the hide up in darkness and get undercover before daylight. It was very mild early on but within an hour a very cold wind had picked up. I thought I'd had a wasted journey because the hide began moving about in the wind and as these birds are very spooky I was afraid the noise and movement would frighten it away. I had to plant two feet on the corners of the hide to keep it steady, as I looked up the bird had landed on its favoured tree. I managed to get a few quick shots as it perched briefly in the wind, in two areas of the tree, then it was gone. The wind became even worse and the hide was almost blowing over so I called it a day by 09.00.
Please see UK Birds.
Crossbill flock increasing
11th November 2011
I have been up on the Brecon Beacons again trying to pin down a flock of Fieldfare and Redwing, the weather was a little better today but these birds are still remaining very spooky and will not settle in one place, I will have to be patient. However, without wishing to sound like Victor Meldrew, I don't believe it, its happened again, I was sitting in my car drinking a cup of coffee when in flew a flock of about 70 Crossbills. It was a sandwich last time, this time I had to jettison my coffee out of the window, but I had my gear set up ready. They perched in a Larch tree opposite me and began feeding, I moved closer and closer, never looking up and trying to hide behind the lens and tripod. I find if you approach a couple of yards at a time, taking shots as you go, then at least you have some shots for your effort. They allowed me to get quite close until I couldn't go any further because the ground dropped away and I would have been looking up - which I hate. I managed some shots of both Males and Females this time.
Please see UK BIrds.
Autumn in Norfolk 2011
30th October 2011
I've just spent a week on the North Norfolk coast experiencing fine, dry, mild weather with winds from the SE. Whilst this wasn't the best conditions for falls of birds it was still very pleasant conditions for photographing typical Norfolk birds with the odd rarity thrown in. I've been visiting Norfolk for over twenty-five years and the birding opportunities are still first rate. I've seen many rarities in Norfolk over this period of time but it's the general, all-round birding which makes this a very special place. Everybody there understands and appreciates birds as opposed to other parts of the country where birding is seen as nerdy. I met some very nice people during my stay, freely exchanging birding information to our mutual advantage. I've put together a small portfolio of images from my time there.
Please see Norfolk Birds.