Thursday, 28 November 2013

NOTHING TO SEE HERE...MOVE ALONG PLEASE

 Every know and again you wish secretly you were Dr.Doolittle, just so every now and again you can ask an animal "what you doing". The above image of a Black Headed Gull was one of those moments. They love this little bridge, perching for long periods if the sun decides to come out (fat chance) or cracking the shells of snails, but this one just stood there on the bridge in this pose for about ten minutes, it would have been longer and I got bored and wanted to cross the bridge in question...any suggestions?
My boss (not my girlfriend but work boss) has relented after much complaining from everyone over the the switch of work patterns and I should be back on the beloved 4 days on/off  by next Thursday...just as well too because every weekend since we swapped back to a 5 day week it's been grim just look at those grey skies on the Buzzard shot below and at the same time remember I had to tweak the exposure a lot just to get some sort of usable image.
I've managed a bit of birding but no photography, mostly walking on foot and mostly concentrated down the Nene, getting off the bus at Earls Barton walking down the Nene towards Ecton or heading the other way towards Summer Leys. One bird that really stood for me was the numbers of Marsh Tits along here and have itchy shutter fingers waiting for some decent weather also a pair of Kingfishers disputing a fishing perch was, the Buzzard was taken near the A45 when I was walking towards Ecton it was circling to petrol station and perched on a lamp post near the entrance...I guess a good place to wait for some roadkill.

 On one of the walks I almost got mugged by a pack of dogs out hunting, I can't remember the last time I saw a hunt, even a man like myself who is used to large numbers of dogs it's still a bit unsettling being around so many excited dogs, but no harm and an extremely friendly bunch...so wish my pockets didn't smell of dog treats though, big mistake.
 So my only images I got in the last two weekends is Black Headed Gulls.....


 Thank god for gulls and the much anticipated switch back to continental shift patterns.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

REDKITE VERSUS CROW

Yesterday after work I went back up to Summer Leys, I took Breeze my Australian Shepherd with me so went off the reserve and around Mary's Lake. It gave her chance to go off lead, she's a good dog, comes to heel on command etc,etc...apart from a few small'ish flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare, it was bit quiet, 6 Golden Eye on Mary's Lake and a distant male Kestrel, I got up to the big lake behind Mary's Lake and found the two Redkites I saw on the previous visit.
 And was treated to an aerial battle between a redkite and a very determined crow who was trying it's best to mob the second kite.









 The turn of pace and agility of the Redkite is impressive at times it left me thinking "it can't do that", in the next sequence the kite comes from behind, then under and.....


 reveals it's agility, the next frame I call/titled "now you see it, now you don't"
 The kite got hold of the crow, sadly just two frames which weren't brilliant....

 Normally it's the crow being a pain in the backside, but this kite was determined to protect the other kite which settled in a tree, all took place a bit too far away for some great images but none the less it was a pleasure to watch such a battle and "have a go" at photographing, the dog got a good walk....eventually. The crow gave up.


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

ODDS AND SODS.

The weekend was a wash out, so no photography for me, and I hate saying that now I'm working a regular working shift pattern (Mon-Fri) instead of 4 days on/off, it's really sucks!
I watched in anger at the Moto GP, the anger from yet another sport being stolen by some horrible little old man, poor old BBC they'll be showing wrestling and scrabble at this rate, still won't subscribe to the old geezers satelite channel
I saw the weather today and whilst driving was glad I had stuffed my civvy clothes in the locker my shift couldn't end quick enough..well it would if I wasn't limited to 56 m.p.h, got back, got changed and figured I had about three hours before the sun disappeared, a quick look at the bird reports showed all the best birds were elsewhere so headed for Summer Leys
 On the way to the reserve two Red Kites were gliding/hunting one of the fields but never drifted close, the pathway to the Paul Britain hide had nothing but a dunnock, I stood overlooking the main lake and watched the Lapwings coming in, tried a few flock shots but wasn't what I was after for flock shot wise...I'm really trying hard to get the moment they all flee a predator, speaking off which I did see a male Sparrowhawk and a female Kestrel, the Sparrowhawk seemed keen on two species, some Fieldfare and the big'ish flock of Linnets and Greenfinches alongside one of the fields. It was good hearing the Fieldfare again I counted about twenty.
Since I only had a few hours to spare I headed for where I could visibly see a lot of activity, which was Mary's Lane.
As you might be able to make out from the image below there was a lot of small birds flocking in out of the trees and hedgerow, mostly Linnets, but there was good number of Greenfinches and Goldfinches, a few Bullfinches too and the odd Fieldfare
 I did have time to go to the feeding station but headed for the Linnets instead, the lane wasn't very busy with cars and was glad I did go to the lane, tried and failed on the Fieldfare, wouldn't sit still but stumbled across three Chiff-Chaffs, huh November and I'm photographing Chiff Chaffs! the below images were my best efforts.

Now the next images I was really happy watching this Willow Tit, but slightly gutted the light wasn't in my favour but also gutted they weren't quite as good (in focus/sharp) as I would've liked....BUT considering there wasn't much I could do about the light plus all I wanted to do this evening was stretch my legs and try breathing fresh air rather then diesel fumes I was happy just to watch the tit feeding off some teasels....though secretly I was happy with the sequence of shots....another on going picture project, reasons why I wasn't too happy with the images form the captions.
THIS ONE THE TEASEL BLOCKING THE BIRDS HEAD

AGAIN THE BIRDS HEAD BEING BLOCKED

OK, THIS ONE HAS THE BIRD FEEDING AROUND FOR SOME SEED BUT THE UNDERWING WAS BLOWN OUT...GUTTED


I moved around for the last shot to use the direction of the fading light, sadly the birds back is a little blown out, but ok'ish it's the birds head again though, just a little more upright in position and I would've been over the moon, instead I was just happy. Still it was the best way to kill a few hours that I know of.....

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

OUTRIGHT THEFT-SORRY FINDLAY-THE ANSWERS

In good "internet" style I'm stealing one of Findlay's ideas with just enough of a change to avoid any legal issues and having a "WEDNESDAY QUIZ" question....
When I finished work and was drifting between insomnia and comatose on the sofa last night I was watching some Pointless quiz programme (handy name as it was pointless) when they came up with a birding question that had me stumped and spouting feathers from my mouth, and I wanted to see if it was just me or had they got a question completely wrong....now I won't reveal where they got their answers from to prevent any smarty pants from cheating, the question was "Name any species of Owl found in the UK", easy peasy I thought and the contestants had to name the least popular to win the point and here comes the part that had me spitting feathers " there are nine to choose from", NINE!!
"Oh and you can't have Eagle Owl"...bugger, NINE, "calm down Dougie" said my girlfriend, "But there isn't nine"
So the question is for you guys to name all nine species of owls, I got seven, the other two really got me angry...GOOD LUCK, I'll print the answers later tonight once I calmed down a bit and print the name of the source the quiz programme used.....
Well, I've published the result via the comments, Trevor was close and but Richard Pegler was spot on. I have to admit I had seven until the presenter said "no to eagle owl", I didn't put Scop's Owl in until I was struggling, why no to Scops, well some "birders" told me I couldn't count any birds on Jersey as it ain't British nor is the Isle of Man...but you can the Scilliy Isles, I love "proper" birders, the list apparently was published by the B.O.U (British Ornitholigst Union...do they ever go on strike?) To me the Hawk Owl was the biggest eyebrow raiser as was the Tengmalms Owl, has anyone been lucky to see these two?