Saturday, 5 July 2014

JULY SUCKS really does. Birding wise things seem to fall into a comatose state, anything worthwhile photographing tends to stay hidden from view, I hate July can't wait for August.
The weather doesn't help especially this week, very hot and sultry during the day and if I opted to go out in the evening clouds seemed to have bubbled up from nowhere to ruin any chance of some flight photography.
Take this image below, as I cycled to the spot hot and sunny, by the time I got there a big black cloud was in place but weirdly bright sun and clear skies behind me.
 The main quarry from this spot was some Yellowhammers that would fly from one hedge to another disputing over territory over the tops of the field, thought it would make a nice image, sadly I was either disrupted by passer by's or not enough shutter speed, luckily there is a lot of July left to keep trying. But also Skylarks dropping down into the field was what I had planned.
There was quite a bit of bird activity from Greenfinches, Common Whitethroat, Kestrel and more common species but best bird was a distant Hobby.

 It wasn't a complete waste as the Hobby was chasing the Swallows around and by the time people had walked on by I was able to try a few flight shots at Swallows over the field, sadly not quite close enough but still makes a half decent image with those dark skies in the background.
 The other plan for me this summer was to use my mountain bike only for birding i) to loose some weight: coming off nicely thank you ii) see if birding in Northants is possible without using a car: a struggle to be fair, were the main two reasons. I have become somewhat an expert on Ordnance Survey maps, a must buy is the map as I have found out. The number of times (12 in total) I have had "landowners" shouting where I was going and being told I couldn't until the trusted O/S map comes out. On one land at the back of Moulton village a whole family including kids came out to challenge me, WTF! They had even blocked the gates/stiles with barbed wire (for any ramblers out there it's the footpath behind the adventure/activity centre) of course I wouldn't be me without a revisit with a set of tin snips.
Every know and again you stumble across a footpath that has been left to go wild like the one in the image above. I mean check the telegraph pole? But even I was left wondering if sometimes it's worth letting a footpath go, look at the image closely. This two mile footpath looked from the edge (as that's all I managed to walk) a butterfly and insect haven, not to be spoilt by human presence. There is even a bee in the image (top left) from my camera phone, I even counted 16 Ringlets and a few unidentified species. I could hear Chiff-Chaffs, Common Whitethroats and more Yellowhammers. I opted not to try and walk down it for fear of trampling on a I was only wearing shorts and there was plenty of stinging nettles. The road was a two mile diversion, but a farmer returning home said I could nip across his field, fair enough.
 So really apart from Swallows I have had a quiet four days off without much in the camera to show for all my effort, maybe I should start using my car again?



  1. I love front lit black clouds. The Swallow with the rape and against the cloud is a beautiful image.

    1. I was so desperate for something to fly against that cloud but low too. It should have been a lark or yellowhammer. A bit gutted but happy with a Swallow.

  2. Notorious July for lack of birds. You'll have to change to dragons and butterflies for a few weeks Doug.
    You got some very nice images here though. I love that Robin doing a Wren impression.

    My understanding of footpaths is they have to be kept reasonably clear by the landowner for hikers/walkers. (that's what I'm told is the case in Wales where I stay)
    Styles should be accessible too, and not blocked.
    Maybe some pictures of the barbed wire style could be sent to the local press and the Ramblers Association; then nip round with wire cutters. :-)

    1. When the Robin popped up I initially thought Wren, there is somewhere in the bush a wren family so perhaps it's learnt a few tricks?
      Most of the barb wire is gone I made sure of that as for clearing footpaths it's something I will have to look into.

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  3. OK, so I'm not overly concerned with flight shots (I'd like to do better) but I'm still finding plenty of birds to keep me working. As Keith says, you could always try Dragons and Damsels. As I found out last week, some of them can be quite demanding if you want flight shots!

    Anyway, there's nothing shabby about your offerings, above, Doug! Sunshine backed by dark clouds always looks fabulous to me.

    I think it's the responsibility of the Distric Councils to make sure that landowners uphold their duty to maintain the paths. However, it's the District Council's duty to maintain the signs. NW Leicestershire put up some really fancy expensive footpath signs - and then had to replace them all with new ones as they'd left the word "public" off all the signs (e.g. "Footpath to Snarestone" had to be replaced by "Public Footpath to Snarestone". On Thursday I noticed that someone had nicked the replacement sign beside my LO Site No.02!!

    1. I tried my hand at some butterfly and dragon shots whilst at the public footpath in the image but was defeated by the wind, it's definitely a different skill set.
      It is interesting what you say about footpaths I think I shall have a word about the barbed wire one but the one in the image I think it will be better off left as is...for nature, it doesn't really go anywhere plus there is an interesting barn, say no more:-)

  4. Yep you are bang on Doug, July does seem to have a bit of a birding lull about it. However, as of the other comments you could always turn your attentions to butterfly's, not really my thing though! Great Swallow images..........

  5. Thanks Paul it is me. Shifty weather not very interesting species just be a grumpy b.......

  6. Nice blog Doug with some decent humour (often missing in many).
    Love the shot of the swift and the Exocet Tern.
    You've piqued my interest with the barn - it would be a hoot to find out.....

    1. The tern does look like an exocet :-) The barn would be a perfect home, not much human footfall, some good hunting habitat, I am keeping my eye on it.