They must have had a really hard time naming this Plover! Yellow-legged Lapwing, Long-legged Plover? No, they settled on White-tailed Lapwing which for me isn't its most obvious feature as it's beautiful white tail is only really seen in flight. I photographed this mega rare UK bird at Blacktoft Sands RSPB in East Yorkshire yesterday. It's been there over a week now and is still there today.
Thursday, 2 September 2021
Wednesday, 21 July 2021
Wednesday, 14 July 2021
I spent a very frustrating eight hours trying to photograph this rare bird yesterday due the light, the vegetation and distance it was away. Most of my photos are destined for the bin except for a few record shots like this one - the main problem being the very bright light during midday and afternoon (yes, I should have known better to get there early) coupled with the heat haze generated by the good weather. Conditions got a bit better as the day progressed and the sun moved round and my best shots were actually taken between 7 and 8pm when it became overcast. Still not great though.
There was also a regular flow of birds going out into the bay, catching sand eels and returning, flying right over your head as they did. Young birds gathered on the shingle along the shoreline, some being fed by parents, others being chased out to sea by them as they enouraged the to fly or catch fish. In the late evening, the youngster seems to gather in a large group along the water's edge and would periodically all fly out low over the sea together in a flock - magical!
If you've never been to Cemlyn Bay you should get there sometime - June and July are best for the Terns but its a fabulous place at any time. And there's still time yet this year!
Monday, 5 July 2021
Thursday, 1 October 2020
Two birds of my most-wanted birds for sometime now have been the Wryneck and the Hoopoe. Well I got a Wryneck only 30 minutes from my home last month so now I was looking out for a Hoopoe. Since I've been birding, I've only known of a couple of opportunities to see one in the UK and they were a bit too far to travel. So when one of these lovely exotic birds appeared in West Yorkshire this week, it was too good a chance to miss.
I'm not really a twitcher, preferring to take the opportunities of seeing a rare bird only if they crop up within about a two hour drive from home. I have occasionally gone further, but with a backup plan of what I'll do if the bird is no longer present - birds can fly you know, and often do! So a longer twitch often involves planning an overnight stay and a visit to a nature reserve which I wouldn't normally get to see.
However, for this bird no such planning was needed - I just jumped in the car and drove up the M62 and A1/M1 for about an hour and twenty minutes and there it was. And I mean literally there it WAS! I parked the car in a suburban street, walked down a ginnel for about five minutes to the Collingham and Linton Cricket Club and there was the bird was feeding on the outfield of the pitch in front of a crowd of about fifteen people. Easy-peasy and just the way I like it!
The light conditions were variable throughout the day but the bird was never very far away and it was easy to lie done on the grass verges just outside the pitch boundary perimeter to get some low profile shots. It was feeding voraciously on bugs and grubs in the grass and could maintain extended periods of spearing the soil with its long, decurved beak, rarely moving off with out finding something to eat. This is well demonstrated in the video below:
Sunday, 20 September 2020
I also stumbled across this lovely Brown Hare which was laying low in the grass until it saw me - then it shot off into the distance never to be seen again.
Friday, 4 September 2020
Monday, 31 August 2020
Thursday, 6 August 2020
After after four month break, I returned to serious birding activities yesterday with a trip to see Derbyshire's celebrity star, the Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture. I spent over 12 hours in the valley above Crowden with fantastic company as we hoped to get some photos of this beast of a bird.
My best shot was taken at 7:24am after the mist had cleared to reveal the bird at one of its current roost sites. After that all I had were distant shots as we watched it riding the thermals in a number of places. I'll post a few more later (jobs to do today) but I had to get one out there after a great day out.
All these shots were taken from the Pennine Way footpath along with 10 other birders and numerous passing hillwalkers.
Sunday, 9 February 2020
- Siberian Stonechat - 5/1/20
- Long-billed Dowitcher - 12/1/20
- Purple Heron - 15/1/20
- Barn owl - 15/1/20
- Siberian Chiffchaff - 15/1/20
- Short-eared Owls - 27/1/20
- Starling Murmuration - 6/2/20
- Rough-Legged Buzzard - 29/1/20
- Wirral - 8/2/20
Wednesday, 18 December 2019
This is just a single tracked shot taken with a 500mm f/4 lens plus 1.4x teleconverter on a crop sensor camera - 700mm ISO 640 f/8 @ 3 minutes. Yes, it really is that blue.
Bode's Galaxy is a spiral galaxy about 12 million light-years away, with a diameter of 90,000 light years, about half the size of the Milky Way, in the constellation Ursa Major. Due to its proximity to Earth, large size, and active galactic nucleus (which harbours a supermassive black hole), Messier 81 has been studied extensively by professional astronomers.
The Cigar Galaxy is a starburst galaxy approximately 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. A member of the M81 Group, it is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and has a centre one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy's centre.
Vega has been extensively studied by astronomers, leading it to be termed “arguably the next most important star in the sky after the Sun”. Vega was the northern pole star around 12,000 BC and will be so again around the year 13,727. It was one of the first stars whose distance was estimated through parallax measurements.
But by now it was starting to get light so I struggled getting a decent image of these two galaxies. This is definitely a deep sky object to which I will be returning.
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Astley Green Colliery has the only surviving headgear and engine house on what was the Lancashire coalfield. The headgear is made from wrought iron lattice girders with rivetted plates at the joints. It has two large and one small wheel mounted at the top. It is nearly 30 metres (98 ft) high and was built by Head Wrightson of Stockton-on-Tees and completed by 1912.
When I got home I decided to get some (almost) full moon shots from my front garden before the clouds rolled in again.
Sunday, 1 December 2019
A total of 51 species were seen or heard during the day, so not a bad trip at all.