Thursday, 28 February 2019

I've Finally Made It Into Print

I've finally made it into the March 2019 edition of Birdwatch Magazine with a 'proper' photo.  Previously I've had a Brambling photo used as a backdrop to a double page article and a Desert Wheatear photo in a 'Reader's Letter' which I sent in.

But these are photos published on their own merit so to speak. Simon Warford wrote an article on behalf of the original finder Phil Rhodes about the rare Blyth's Reed Warbler which is currently at Hope Carr Nature Reserve in Leigh and asked if he could use the two photos I took to accompany his piece.  I was only too pleased to say 'yes'.

As a coincidence, Ed Stubbs, the content editor of the magazine also emailed me with the same request, because I'd already uploaded them to the BirdGuides Gallery, and indeed one had gained a 'Notable Photo' award last month.

'Congratulations Martyn Jones your Blyth's Reed warbler photos take up quite a large section in next months Birdguides :)

Thanks to Martin Loftus for posting the above comment on Facebook and alerting me to the fact that they had been published today and for taking these phone shots of the magazine pages - I just need to go out and buy a copy now!

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Old Moor RSPB

Paul Pennington, Kevin Forde, David Shallcross, George Pike and I went to Old Moor RSPB in South Yorkshire this week to do a reccy for an upcoming L.O.S. Fieldtrip next week. The weather was great and there was a good variety of birds from woodland and farmland to wildfowl and water birds. We met up with two of the local birders there (Dek Roe and Ian Unwin) who were very friendly and helpful.

Unfortunately none of the three star attractions (Bittern, Bearded Tit and Peregrine) showed up for us but we did have two Green Sandpipers, Water Rail, Kingfisher, Tree Sparrow, Brambling, Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler, Little Grebes (in abundance), a distant Barn Owl plus all the 'usuals' and a very interesting three-way spat between a Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed and juvenile Great Black-backed Gull. A grand day out as they say with a few decent shots and some record shots below.

Old Moor RSPB has good facilities including a visitors' centre, toilets, cafe, flat paths everywhere, at least six hides and mobility scooters can be hired if needed.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Barn Owls are Flavour of the Month

For some reason Barn Owls have unwittingly become my flavour of the month this February. I've seen them in seven different locations around the UK and got decent photos from three of them. These were taken today at Blacktoft Sands RSPB near Goole. I actually went for Marsh Harriers, but this delightful female Barn Owl provided me with my best shots when it hunted right in front of Singleton Hide this afternoon.

She hunted up down the ditch in front of the hide for five minutes or so, giving us great views in the late afternoon sunshine.

Eventually she caught some prey along with a talon full of grass and took it a nearby tree to eat it.


 The top photo was given a 'Notable Photo' award on BirdGuides this week.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Parkgate Over High Tide

With the prospect of a high spring tide over 10m I headed off early for Parkgate on the Wirral this morning, as I wanted to get a space easily on the Old Baths car park.  When I arrived, the weather didn't really seem to be conducive to a good tide, with very settled sunny conditions, high pressure and no wind.  All these things are needed to produce a spectacular wildlife event.

Monday, 11 February 2019

A Trip to South East England - Day 1

Last week Sarah and I went south-east to Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, where we joined up with the Leigh Ornithology Society on their annual winter field trip.  We started off on Day 1 at Burwell Fen in Cambridgeshire looking mainly for Short-eared Owls and also a Barn Owl.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Star Attraction at St. Aidan's RSPB

This little male Bearded Tit has become the star attraction at St. Aidan's RSPB near Leeds recently. It's a fearless little bird and will often pass very close to your feet as it picks up seed heads from the margins of the causeway path between two water courses.

But just like so many small birds that are actively feeding in reeds or other vegetation, it's very hard to get a clear photograph most of the time.  My best photo-opportunites today were looking straight into the sun which always provides a challenge in terms of exposure.  The shot below is probably the best I got of the whole bird.

Here's a more tightly cropped version of the same photo, I'm not sure which one I prefer, but probably the original one.

So here are a few more partial shots taken in the four hours I was there:

 Here's a few other shots I took whilst I was there: