Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Northumberland at its best.

                                           Beautiful beaches and iconic castles.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Golden oldie.

No, not me.
My 400D with 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 Sigma lens.
The 400D was my first excursion into digital photography and the lens my first "wildlife" lens. Both getting on but still giving pleasing images. The camera feels old and "clunky" compared to my two recent purchases but i'm happy to stick it in my backpack when i'm out for a walk with a bit of birding thrown in. The lens fits nicely in there also. Compared to my 300mm f4 it's small and dainty.
A nice image of Lesser Redpoll follows captured at East Chevington last Sunday.

I caught up with the Glossy Ibis late this morning in extremely blustery conditions on Beaconsfield, Tynemouth. I have to admit to "twitching" the bird as I only left the house for an hour or so with the sole intent to catch up with it close to where I class as home in Cullercoats, where my missus and children were born and brought up. It would be nice if it popped up to the Rising Sun for a couple of hours before it departs.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hello, hello (it's good to be back)

I spotted a Great Crested Grebe on Killingworth Lake this morning and wondered if it had just arrived. This was confirmed on Killy Birders blog by Brians partner in crime Sam. Two days earlier than last year apparently.

Although the G.C.G. remained distant all the time I was at Killy the Scaup was much more obliging.

Elsewhere on the larger lake there were counts of 27 Pochard, 29 Goldeneye and 4 Goosander.
A pair of Oystercatcher moved between the fenced field and sports field. I have a feeling these have returned to Killingworth also as I saw a pair hanging around the same areas last year.
3 more Goosander were the highlight on the smaller lake.
An enjoyable ninety minutes.
Not much activity at the Rising Sun where I stopped off on the way home, more to stretch my legs than anything. The Med. Gull that's been frequenting the sheep field still eludes me.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Blackbird at ISO 4000

What do you reckon?
Took this image last week at the Rising Sun in awful light conditions on my recently acquired Canon 6D fitted with the 300mm f4 prime. The Blackbird in question was in at the side of a ditch foraging in the leaf litter under a hedge line.
I had read that the 6D operated well in low light conditions and this was a nice test for it. I haven't altered the image in any way, i've not even cropped it.
ISO 4000 f5.6 1/640 sec        IMPRESSED ??

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Gossy Park

Got there at first light to be greeted by a Song Thrush belting it out at the entrance. Twenty minutes at the feeding station was busy. A Robin with a half-cocked tail looked menacing as it fed on the ground. As soon as it left three other Robins dropped in for some bait. All the usual in attendance also.
Hide one was quiet.
The Mutes, Mallards and Wigeon on the water. Posturing and raucous Black-headed Gulls occupied airspace and the platform.
Hide two was initially quiet also before I had two Bittern within seven minutes of each other on opposite sides of the hide. I was lucky enough to have had the place to myself but that changed as the place started to fill up. There were eight or nine people in the hide as another Bittern showed. Initially there was a movement in the reeds in the centre and it was a question of time before it would reveal itself.

It is still like a quagmire between the two hides.
I had my first drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker as I continued on a circular walk.

Friday, 7 February 2014

The strange case of the Grey Heron.

In the eight short years that I have been birding I have never gotten near a Grey Heron.
I am down in Kent this week visiting family and this afternoon took one of the grandchildren to the local country park. As we walked around the medium sized lake the Grey Heron pictured below flew straight over to where we stood on one of the fishing platforms. It landed in front of us approximately two metres away. I had never seen this behaviour before as EVERY Grey Heron I had come across had always flown off if I had inadvertently drifted too close. Was this guy expecting to be fed ? NAH, I thought.
We made our way to the play area having left the lake and some forty five minutes later as we were loading into the car I noticed a young couple feeding the local waterfowl. Standing on some steps that lead into the lake was the Grey Heron, quite close to the couple. They threw it something and it fed. I shouted over "Excuse me, what are you feeding the Heron ?" "Bread" they replied.
They walked off as I went down to have a closer look and I slowly sidled up to the bird with my camera sporting the 40mm lens that I had been using previously. The bird stood there and I got to within a metre ( less than that, I reckon) and captured the image below.
Anyone else seen a "tame....ish" Heron before ?

Anyone gotta slice of Hovis ?