Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Good things come in small packages!

Little Grebes are lovely little birds, they have wonderful summer plumage of red and black and in the winter they have a much softer pinkish colouration. They are definitely one of those birds that i always like to see, always wish to get better images of and rarely do so! Most of the time i see these birds from a hide where they are drifting into the middle of a lake or skirting around the reedy fringes, occasionally i encounter them down a river on a small pond but once again they are wary and dive as soon as i get too close only to pop back up much further away.

On Monday Matt and myself took a trip down to St Albans, the cold weather has frozen the lake their moving the majority of the wildfowl onto the river that runs alongside it. Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Geese and Gulls were packed into this tiny stretch of river making one hell of a racket as they shunted each other out of the way to get food that passers-by were throwing down. In amongst all of this noise and chaos were a pair of Little Grebes, they were quiety going about their business catching fish, preening and tucking their heads in for a quick rest. As they drifted in and out of the other birds they seemed oblivious to the humans walking past, and most of the humans also didn't notice them...but Matt and I did and we spent a good few hours with them trying to get some nice shots. They hugged the opposite side of the river and were always on the move, factor in the grey conditions and it was tricky to get the right exposure settings to get a nice image but after a few hours we both left pleased to have such close experiences of these birds and with some nice snaps....will definitely be going back to see them again!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Couple of Thank You's!

Just a couple of big thank you's, firstly to Stephen Christopher who kindly provided me with alot of info, help and logistical knowledge when it came to birding in my recent Barcelona trip. If you are visiting Spain his website would definitely be worth checking out - http://www.catalanbirdtours.com

Also, thanks to Geoff Bickers who i met recently and took this great image of me "at work" photographing woodland birds, i honestly didn't know he was taking it but am chuffed he thought of doing so and that we swapped details, cheers Geoff! Visit his website at - http://www.imagemephotography.com

Sunday, 28 November 2010


This Woodcock was discovered in a Letchworth garden this morning trapped in some bushes, it has some small injuries to its wing and was struggling to fly so was picked up and has since been kept inside in a leaf filled cage eating mealworms and generally resting. Although slightly stressed it seems in good health, is at a good weight and is alert and will be released back into the wild tomorrow evening where hopefully it will find a suitable site to winter and continue to live a happy and healthy life.

Due to the nature of my work i was lucky enough to find out about this bird and had the truly amazing opportunity to see it up close and even handle it this evening, a wonderful experience and i do sincerely hope it's release is successful.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

More Woodland Birds!

Once again chose to photograph woodland bird species on Wednesday, i am still captivated by them and am forever thinking of new ways to capture them so that i have a good set on images that dont all look the same! Hopefully i have achieved that again this time and i am extremely pleased with some of these pictures, i may leave the birds alone for a bit soon and concentrate on something else but wont stay away for long, they are such facinating birds and of course feeding them for the purpose of photography does help them in these cold times! Enjoy the photos...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Birding Barcelona Style!

Spent 5 days with Erin in Barcelona last week seeing a lovely city and all it has to offer. Heading anywhere different is always exciting especially when it comes to the flora and fauna! It was great to see how the bird species differ even slightly around Barcelona, i hardly saw a Robin, Blackbird, Blue, Great or Long Tailed Tit let alone a Chaffinch but did record some species that i'm not used to seeing or never seen before at all! Monk Parakeets were definitely the most vocal bird in the city, everywhere you walked no matter how urban you were you could guarantee hearing them overhead flying or in a tree, in the cities parks they were found on the ground eating grass or fallen berries, extremely photogenic even if they are aliens!

One day we visited the wetland reserve of Llobregat near the airport. This was a great nature reserve consisting of large water bodies, reedbed and some small wooded areas. Rarities such as Bluethroat and Penduline Tit were briefly spotted but sightings were all to quick and no pictures taken! Erin was extremely chuffed to see the many foreign turtles wallowing in the pools basking in the sunshine...

Lapwings were probably the most photogenic birds of the day as they roosted on a small island in front of the hide and get getting put up by a Peregrine...

Other birds seen were Grey Heron, Cormorant, Wigeon, Shoveler, Grey Wagtail and Reed Bunting as well as this Little Egret

Back in the city parks one bird was always encountered which was Black Redstart. The males were extremely territorial "chacking" away in the bushes defending their females, both sexes were a little nervy and would only allow approaching to a certain distance but still lovely to see so many around...

I also managed to see Sardinian Warbler, Firecrest and Crested Tit in the parks although all of these weren't easy to pin down hence the terrible photos!

The marina/harbour area was an extremly popular area for tourists and for every scrap of junk food dropped there was a pigeon or gull to help clean up! This was a nice place to end each day as the sunset was always gorgeous on the water and with the large amount of black headed, black backed and herring gulls around there was at least something to point the camera at, it also allowed me to try a few of my camera settings out and try and be a bit creative! Overall a great mini-break and some great birds!