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03 May 14 Down at "The Eyes"
04th May 2014 - 0 comments
The last couple of weekends I’ve visited Woolston Eyes NR and although I’ve not seen anything unusual or scarce I have enjoyed my visits nevertheless.

As you walk onto the meadows there is a small patch of Ramsons or Wild Garlic and the smell is wonderful, if you like Garlic that is.


Ramsons or Wild Garlic

There are also some small patches of Bluebell and Cowslips, I also seen some Snakes Head Fritillaries a few weeks back but they had been battered by the wind and weren’t really worth photographing.


Spanish Bluebell


Cowslip

I believe the maximum number of Black-necked Grebes that have been seen is thirty one, a pretty good total.


Black-necked Grebe

AS you can imagine the breeding season is in full swing, displaying birds, mating, nest building and broods of chicks.


Black-headed Gull with nesting material


Getting to know you


Up close and personal


On the nest


Black-necked Grebe displaying


Greylags with brood


Greylag goslings

There's plenty of behavior to keep you spellbound for a few hours! Well it does me.

Birds in a hurry


Coot on the run


Little Grebe water skiing

Thanks for reading.

Andy
15 March 2014 Woolston Eyes
16th March 2014 - 0 comments
I've been to Woolston Eyes NR a couple of times in recent weeks and an incredible amount of work has been carried out on No3 Bed to improve the habitat. A lot of the reed beds has been moved and new channels have appeared, the scrape in front of the John Morgan hide has been improved and bares no resemblance to last year.


Scrape in front of Morgan Hide


View from screen by Hogg Hide

Hopefully this will encourage more waders and perhaps even the elusive bittern!!

My first visit of the year was a couple of weeks back to see the Starling roost which was spectacular, probably in the region of 150,000 birds entertained those present for the best part of an hour. At time the sky was black with Starlings and the sound of 300,000 wings beating in unison as they flew overhead was quite amazing. We didn't see any raptors flying in to break the flock up and cause mayhem but the sight and the patterns produced in the sky was stunning. It did help that it was a pleasant evening and the light was also wonderful.


Shelduck in the last light of the day


First few birds


Building up


and there's more!


Monochrome representation - not sure if it improves it


Starling wave


bunching up


down to roost

As a photographer you have to decide how best to display your shots and in this case, I could have lightened the sky but I have left it dark as it was dusk. For the last few shots I kept the shutter speed slow to try and exaggerate the movement of the birds. Personally I think its worked but may be others would think not.

I visited again on Saturday with no particular images in mind but I was lucky enough to to learn that four Black-necked Grebes were present and one pair displaying.

It's never easy to to get good photographs at Woolston but you have to have a go and on this occasion the results were reasonable even though the birds were quite some distance away and the photos did require some very heavy cropping. For those interested I was using a Canon 5D Mk3, 500mm lens and 1.4x converter; I also used live view to help with focusing.


Black-necked Grebe displaying


Black-necked Grebe on north pool from Rotary Hide


Small Tortoiseshell butterfly


Black-headed gull from John morgan Hide


Black-necked Grebe on north pool from Rotary Hide
In The Final Twenty
11th March 2014 - 0 comments
It's great to have got a photo through to the last 20 final photos in the Bents Photography competition.

If you are a member of Facebook you can vote for my photograph on the Bents Garden Centre Facebook page and it's called Vole in the hole.

I've got to say of the photos I submitted it isn't the one I would have picked but they must have seen something I couldn't.


Vole in the hole

However if you could vote for it, it will be really appreciated.

The photograph of No3 Bed Woolston Eyes taken at dusk will also appear on the front cover of a local magazine and I'm really pleased with that as well.


No3 Bed at dusk

thanks for reading and voting if you do.

cheers

Andy
30 Nov 13 Woolston Eyes
02nd December 2013 - 0 comments
Saturday morning was nice and bright so I made my way to Woolston Eyes in the hope that something unusual may turn up.

There were a lot of cars parked up but I think most of the people must have been bird ringing as I only saw a handful of people.

As I walked across the footbridge I could see what looked like a raptor in a tree not too far away which turned out to be a common Kestrel; I usually see them on a lamp-post when I’m driving and without a camera.

It stayed there just long enough to take a couple of shots but they weren’t anything to write home about.


Common Kestrel

When I reached the first viewing hide I had a look over the water but couldn’t see very much however there was a digger over to the left that appeared to be making a bank of soil. I know there has been talk of building a Sand Martin bank so whether that’s what that is I don’t know.

I wandered off to the John Morgan Hide but on the way I found a tree and I thought the leaves looked stunning against the blue sky so I couldn't resist taking a photograph.



When I entered the hide and looked out over the water I was amazed to
see how much work has been done in front of the hide to improve the scrape. A lot of soil has been removed and the water was much closer to the hide and around five long islands made.


Work to improve the scrape

Probably due to the work being carried out, unsurprisingly there weren't many birds on the water but there were plenty of finches around the feeders and the nearby trees.


Robin


Greenfinch

After leaving the John Morgan Hide I went to the Rotary Hide and again very little on the water. However there were a couple of Canada Geese and a Magpie on one of the rafts.



I'm not sure what happened but the Magpie ended up in the water.



I watched the bird struggling frantically to fly out of the water but it was well and truly waterlogged; I continued to watch it for about 15mins and it was flapping and paddling it's way to the far bank. Unfortunately I had to leave so I've no idea as to its fate.

On the way back I found some fungi worth taking a photograph of.


Fungi

I also liked the natural curve of the branch and the berries on another tree.



I eventually made my way back to the footbridge and noticed the really nice reflection of the trees on the water.


Autumnal Reflections

Another successful morning down at "The Eyes"

Thanks for reading.

Andy
24 Nov 13 At The Hide
25th November 2013 - 0 comments
After the brightness of Saturday, Sunday was a bit of a let-down and the light was quite poor really, so a higher ISO than I like had to be used.

During the chill of the night the birds must have used a lot of calories just trying to keep warm as they were back and too to the feeders like BA frequent flyers.

I hadn’t seen Goldfinch or House Sparrows in recent weeks but they were very apparent on Sunday.

House Sparrows appear to prefer the fat balls and just squabble amongst themselves as to who gets pole position. The Goldfinch appear to alternate between the Niger seed and Sunflower hearts.


House Sparrow

The Robins just wanted to attack and chase anything that flew and I’m pretty sure that they spent more time doing that than feeding!!


Robin

I tend not to see Coal Tits very often but there was one or two on the frequent flyer list on Sunday. They seemed to be going for the Sunflower Hearts more than anything else.


Coal Tit

The other birds were Blue and Great Tit, Chaffinch and Dunnock; no Greenfinch though.


Blue Tit


Dunnock

I also saw a Sparrow Hawk flying low, skimming just a few feet above the ground looking for its next meal no doubt; I was hoping that it might have flew in my direction but no such luck.

Pheasants, Wood Pigeons, Rooks and Crows all flew over and I also had a Mistle Thrush land in front of the hide but only for a millisecond before it took flight again.

Even though it was quite dull for most of the morning it wasn’t too cold and the activity of the birds gave me a warm glow just watching them going about their business.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
16 Nov 13 ToughMutts
22nd November 2013 - 0 comments
We had a weekend of freedom last weekend, away from being carers and we spent the time with family in Gloucester. Unfortunately I didn’t have an opportunity to get out and about in the countryside so no wildlife photography again.

The main reason for going was to take photographs of dog beds with dogs on them so customers can get an idea of the size of the beds with various dogs on them.

So we started at about 11am and went through until about 4pm with a procession of dogs and dog beds.

Most of the dogs were small but there was one huge one, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier crossed with an American Bulldog, with teeth to match and it kept growling when I pointed the camera at it. Scary! Needless to say I kept a close eye on it.


Cross on Camo

With so many different dogs coming in and in such a small room, I did make a conscious decision to work with only three lights, one key light and two background lights. I think that was a wise move as I think we had four or five dogs in a small room at one stage.


Scruff


Louie

It was difficult enough to get one small dog lying on a bed but trying to get three dogs on one bed was a real challenge but something we achieved and they all looked at the camera; wow!


Spaniels on Camo

Luckily they were well trained and are working dogs.

Unfortunately there were a few mishaps and the steam mop had to come out a few times and a few of them got a bit excited and were showing there bits off.

We also had one dog in season and she had to stay in the garden otherwise that could have caused an even greater problem!

I think I took in the region of 400 shots so editing them is keeping me busy.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
09-10 November At The Hide & "The Eyes"
19th November 2013 - 0 comments
09 – 10 Nov 2013

Photos to follow

As it was nice and bright on Saturday morning I got out with the camera and went to the hide.

There weren’t many birds around just the usual Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Dunnock, & Wren.

The Robin posed nicely for a few shots, they usually do.


Robin

The Great Tits were back and to the peanuts I’d put out, picking them up then flying back to the shelter of the conifers to eat them; they were very active and they didn’t linger for very long.


Great Tit


Great Tit

On Sunday it was quite bright again but there had been a slight frost during the night so I went down to Woolston Eyes to see if there was anything of interest there.

As I crossed the footbridge over the bund there was a single Cormorant quite close by but as soon as I raised the camera to my eye it dove down and reappeared too far away to get a worthwhile photo.

There were a few other waterfowl on the water in the distance and that was about it.

I had a look at the South Pool from the first viewing screen and I was pleased to see water instead of dry mud, the recent rain had obviously been enough to get a decent level of water.

There weren’t any birds on this pool but there were Canada Geese, Shovelers and Teal in the nearest channel.

I then went to the Frank Lindley Hide but there wasn’t much activity immediately in front of the hide, most of the birds were on the far side of the pool. These were mainly Shoveler, Teal, Mallards, Canada Geese and Black-headed Gulls. A few Greylag Geese flew in, Cormorants flying over and loads of Greenfinch, Chaffinch and some Willow Tits on the feeders.


Greylag Goose


Cormorant

As there wasn’t much happening I went to see if there was anything down at the Rotary Hide but it was the same story there.

I did notice some fungi close to the rotary Hide so I took some photos of them in the absence of any birds.


fungi 1


fungi 2


fungi 3

As I was leaving and walking back over the footbridge there was another photographer taking some photos as he had spotted a Mandarin Duck (female) roosting in a tree not too far away from the bridge. I did have a go myself but it was very difficult to see and I got more branches and twigs than bird so that one went in the trash.

For anyone visiting “The Eyes” in the near future I understand that some work is being carried out to improve the scrape in front of the John Morgan Hide involving a mechanical digger, so that may disrupt your visit.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
Flowers and Portraits
15th November 2013 - 0 comments
I thought it was only two weeks since I’d written anything for the blog but having looked another month has slipped by.

I’ve not been out as much as I would have liked but as I really do love photography and I always try to get the camera out and do some photography during the week.

The standby subject is usually flowers and although a formal photo of a flower display is very nice I do like to tinker and try to produce something a bit different. I just like to play in Photoshop really!!







More recently I’ve done a portrait session two weekends running and as I don’t have a studio I have to deconstruct one of the rooms to put the background and lights up. It’s a bit of a pain in the bottom but it’s something I don’t mind doing.

The room I use is a bit on the small side and I can’t put the lights where I really want to but I can usually get some shots that people like and that is the priority I think. I look at the technical side of things and I like perfection or as near as I can get to it but the subjects and definitely parents look at totally different things.


Composite of three photos







The photos I produced prompted a flurry of activity on the website with a massive increase in page views, which was excellent news and I even got two comments even better!!

Whether it will lead to a paying photoshoot only time will tell but I have had a couple of tentative enquiries.

I’m going to Gloucester in the near future to take photos of dog beds with dogs on them! The old saying is never work with animals and children; I must be a glutton for punishment as I suspect children may also come into the equation somewhere as well.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
Brownsea Island
10th October 2013 - 0 comments
We had a few days away in Dorset last week, mainly just to get away from our duties as carers but as always looking for a photo opportunity.

A deal came up on the internut which looked reasonable value for money, well for the UK anyway, so I booked it.

I’d been to Dorset 30 or 40 years ago when I was lot younger and from what I could remember it seemed quite pleasant.

It was only after I’d booked the hotel and started researching the area that I realised how much potential there is in the area for bird, wildlife and landscape photography all within 20 miles or so of our base.

Unfortunately in the short time we had we couldn’t make all the visits that we wanted but high on the list was a visit to Brownsea island. If you don’t know it is a small island owned by the National Trust situated in Poole harbour. There are a few ferry operators that make the crossing to Brownsea from Poole harbour and one of them from Sandbanks.

We used Brownsea Island tours cost £9 return per adult from Poole on arrival at Brownsea there is also a National Trust charge of £6.50 for non-members.

The crossing was uneventful and took about 20 mins from Poole to the island.

Immediately after the entrance there is a public bird hide and with binoculars or a scope you can get reasonable views of part of the lagoon.

Immediately after this there is a walkway into A Dorset Wildlife Trust Reserve, there is a cost of something like £2 per adult and it is well worth paying and entering.

We had only walked about 20yards and up popped a Red Squirrel which kept us occupied for a good while.


Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)


Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

It was a real bonus not to see it on a feeding station, it didn’t bother about us as it was intent on collecting acorns and finding somewhere to put them.


Burying his nuts – that sounds more amusing than acorns!

It was in a wooded area so a high ISO was required to ensure a reasonable shutter speed; I probably went over the top with the ISO as I really wanted to make sure the photos were reasonably sharp.

After being entertained by the squirrel we moved to the first hide, where we had excellent views of Avocet, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Egret, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveler, Cormorant and various Gulls.

The light still wasn’t brilliant but good enough to drop the ISO a bit.


Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)


Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) in flight

There were quite a few Avocets around but the largest groups were located on the far side of the lagoon. So the flight shot is a little distant but givesw a good idea of the group size.


Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)


Redshank (Tringa totanus)

After that we moved down to the second hide which was on the end walkway into the lagoon.

Obviously the views were of similar birds and the list wasn’t any different from the other hide.


Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

After that we walked a little further to the villa where the wildlife trust has an office and there is also a feeding station. There were some hens around the feeders and quite a few finches, Robin, etc. What did surprise me were the two Jackdaws doing acrobatics to get seed out of the feeders, quite entertaining and something I hadn’t seen before.

We then moved to a hide/screen that overlooked a marshy area which has a Heronry; we didn’t stay there long but I did get a few shots of Heron in flight.


Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

We had heard that a Hobby had been seen a few times so we moved to the last hide to have a look there and sure enough it turned up.

Unfortunately I only had one shot at it and almost got it; just out of focus unfortunately.


Hobby (Falco subbuteo)

On the way back to catch the boat a couple of birdwatchers told us that a Grey Phalarope had been seen from the first hide so we visited there again on the way back.

Unfortunately it had attracted all the wardens, anyone interested in birds and the hide was filling up rapidly.

It was a fair distance away and I probably could have got a passable photo but I made do with a look through one of the wardens scope; a lovely little bird.

It was getting a bit hectic more like Euston Station than a bird hide so we made our way back to the landing stage.

While we were waiting for the ferry a Common Tern was flying around so a few shots of that was a good finish to an excellent trip.


Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

On the return journey the boat meandered back on a different route to the outward journey and the driver of the ferry gave an interesting commentary about Brownsea, some of the smaller islands and the harbour area in general.

A great day out and well worth the small amount of money it cost; I recommend it.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
06 Oct 13 Down to "The Eyes"
09th October 2013 - 0 comments
As it had been a few weeks since I’d visited “The Eyes” a visit was overdue, so I made my way there on Saturday morning.

The weather wasn’t too bad, a little overcast but enough light for photography.

I’m always hopeful of seeing something unusual or scarce even with the knowledge that taking a decent photograph of it would be a challenge; it’s a good job I’m always up for a challenge!!

Even though the temperature is dropping and we’re well into Autumn there are still a few insects, moths and butterflies around.


Comma (Polygonia c-album)


Micro Moth


Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus)

A quick look over the first viewing screen showed a large expanse of mud and no increase in water levels. Strangely I thought we’d had quite a bit of rain recently; obviously not!

As I walked along the path to the John Morgan Hide I came across a yellow fieldcap mushroom.

I then spent some time crawling around on my hands and knees still with my camera bag on my back trying to take a photo.


Yellow Fieldcap (Bolbitius titubans)

Note to self: take that dam bag off before you get on your hands and knees to take photographs!

After that I made my way to the John Morgan Hide holding my back.

I made myself comfortable in the hide and although there wasn’t a lot of bird activity it was very pleasant just to sit there and watch the comings and goings.

A couple of Black-tailed Godwits were around and one landed in front of the hide so that was useful.


Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)


Black-tailed Godwit(Limosa limosa)

There were a number of Canada Geese on the water a minimum of 150, then another large flock flew in. I’ve read on the Woolston web site there were 460 at one stage.


A small group of the Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Not the most popular bird to populate the water.

Over on the far side of the pool there was a group of about ten Common Snipe and a couple of Black-tailed Godwits.


Common Snipe (gallinago gallinago)

I don’t know how far it is to the far side of the pool but it is a reasonable distance, so the above is a very heavily cropped photo; I think they call them record shots.


Teal (Anas crecca)

After a while I had a bit of a wander and found some more interesting fungi.


Young Shaggy Parasol Mushroom (Chlorophyllum rhacodes)


Old Shaggy Parasol Mushroom (Chlorophyllum rhacodes

Many books and websites state that this is a good edible mushroom, but the Shaggy Parasol has been known to cause serious illness in some people and so picking it to eat, intentionally or otherwise, should be avoided.

Chlorophyllum (formerly Macrolepiota) rhacodes, the Shaggy Parasol, is a fairly common mushroom found mainly in or beside woods and hedges.

I also found a small inkcap mushroom and unfortunately they can only be identified properly by microscopic study and as I neither possess a microscope or the knowledge the identification is a guess.


Glistening inkcap (Coprinopsis micaceus

Thanks for reading

Andy
21 Sep 13 At The Hide
23rd September 2013 - 0 comments
I went to my hide on Saturday and things were very slow, the only thing that went quickly was time, tempus fugit and all of that.

After topping up the feeders it took some time for anything to come to them but as it happened the first bird to arrive strutted in and it was a male Pheasant, which was closely followed by a female.

When I’m in the hide I can generally hear the Pheasants before I see them as they make a strange noise whilst they are wandering about and I don’t mean the alarm call.


Male Pheasant

I think the plumage of the male pheasant is stunning but not many people comment about its iridescence, I suppose if it was less common more people would comment.

The only other birds that visited the feeders were Blue Tit, Great Tit and Robin.


Blue Tit

The Blue Tit was on high alert as soon as it heard the camera shutter however the Robin was unperturbed.


Robin

While I was sat in the hide with my mind wandering between this and that I noticed a spider just outside hides window and close enough to take a photo with the 180mm macro lens.

I’m not certain which spider it actually is but I think it is a Common Orb-Weaver.


Common Orb-weaver Spider

Shortly after it’s mate joined it and I think they had an amorous encounter.


Common Orb-Weaver Spiders

Having read up on these spiders the larger one of the two is the female and she spends most of her time if not on the web very close to it.

Apparently the male has to approach very carefully otherwise he may end up as lunch; the female of the species is deadlier than the male! In this case he survived to live another day.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
14 Sep 2013 No3 Bed
19th September 2013 - 0 comments
Although there has been a bit of a lull in bird activity over the last few weeks and a distinct lack of water in No3 Bed, there are still plenty of things to see and photograph.


Small Tortoiseshell


Speckled Wood


Red Admiral

The birds do seem to be building up again with a few waders on show, plenty of waterfowl and still lots of butterflies and other insects around.


Black-tailed Godwit

The above is a pretty rubbish photo but I only had one chance at it as they zipped past the John Morgan Hide; c'est la vie and all of that.


Common Snipe

A bit distant a group of ten Common Snipe on the far bank of the centre pool opposite the John Morgan Hide.


Canada Geese

A small group of the hundred or so Canada Geese cruising on the water of No3 Bed.

The trees are laden with berries and acorns are plentiful.


Elderberry


Acorn


Himalayan Balsam



I'm not sure what the above plant is but it's quite colourful and deserved to be photographed.

So yes there has been a dip in the birds, it is Autumn and there is still not a lot of water in No3 Bed. However there is still plenty to see and to capture our attention if you only care to look.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
08 Sept 13 - At The Hide
11th September 2013 - 0 comments
Again nothing special around however there was a pair of Pied Wagtail in a nearby field.


Pied Wagtail

A couple of Robins spent most of my stay at the hide chasing each other or attacking anything that went near the feeders.


Robin

Visitors were Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit.


Blue Tit


Goldfinch

I spent some time trying to take some in flight shots of the small birds with a modicum of success. Its one of the real bonuses of the digital age being able to take 100's of photos and it costs you nothing only time.

It was very hit and miss and being honest more miss than hit. The light wasn't brilliant and to get a reasonable shutter speed I had to use ISO 6000 and f4. The other thing to think about is the depth of field which is probably only about 1cm at the small distance of the hide from the feeders
with the 500mm lens.


Great Tit


Great Tit


Blue Tit

I also paid a visit to Redesmere and there are always photo opportunities there and some very nice ice cream from the van that is usually there.


Gulls squabling over bits of bread


Mute Swan


Looks a bit like a Greylag but it may be crossed with a Canada, whatever it looks a bit odd

Cheers

Andy
25 Aug - 01 Sep - At the hide
11th September 2013 - 0 comments
Nothing special around the hide, just the usual suspects, although a Great spotted woodpecker has visited on a few occasions.


Great Spotted Woodpecker

In the past I've not seen many Coal Tits but there has been one visiting the feeders quite regularly.


Coal Tit


Coal Tit

Sparrows appear to be in short supply and I've not seen a Tree Sparrow for some time, House Sparrows appear quite plentiful around the area but are only occasional visitors to the feeders.


House Sparrow

Many of the birds aren't in particularly good condition after breeding and most don't look particularly attractive and certainly not great subjects for bird photography.


Goldfinch


Blue Tit

There has been plenty of Pheasants around, male and female filling up on the seed that falls from the feeders.


Female Pheasant


Male Pheasant

Apart from Goldfinch there has also been Greenfinch and Chaffinch visiting.


Greenfinch

I don't get many Wood Pigeons dropping in but this one did and I only just managed to keep the whole of the bird in the frame.


Wood Pigeon

Last but not least the small Wren has been dropping in and did pose nicely at least once.


Wren

Well thats the catch up almost complete just last weekend to say something about.

So thanks for reading.

Andy
The last month or so
10th September 2013 - 0 comments
I’m very conscious of not writing anything since the 21st July and it isn’t due to not getting out anywhere, just idleness: so here goes.

27 July – at the Eyes.

Looking back at the photos that I took on the day, they were mainly insects and butterflies, however there were two birds that I managed to photograph, a Moorhen and a Lapwing and neither were worth showing.

The highlight of the visit however was getting a few pics of a White-letter Hairstreak butterfly; certainly a first for Woolston Eyes.


White-letter Hairstreak

Lots of insects around as well, Ladybirds including Harlequins, Hoverflys and different Bees.


Hoverfly (Epistrophe melanostoma)


Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata

03 August – Stratford-upon-Avon

Butterfly Farm

According to their website it is the largest tropical butterfly display in the UK with 250 species of butterfly from 20 different countries. There are in the region of 1500 free flying butterflies at any one time.


Unknown Butterfly - watch out for butterflies with damaged wings, you still find them even in a butterfly farm


Unknown Butterfly


Swallowtail Chryallis

In the flight area there is also an Iguana and some birds, Cockatiels and Chinese Painted Quails.


Iguana

I spotted the Quails running around in the vegetation but unfortunately didn’t get a photo of them.

There are also displays of Arachnids and other insects.

Well worth a visit if your in the area.

We also went to Ann Hathaways cottage which was interesting and there were a few opportunities to take some photos in the garden.


Ann Hathaways Cottage - an example of a frame within a frame


Sweetpea

A visit to Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon was interesting and I did take a photo of the organist just to try the camera at a fairly high ISO of 4000, hand held.


Organist – 1/60th sec f5.6

This organist was extremely good and the music being played was excellent.

I was also pleased with the quality of the photo!

I don’t know anything about cars but when we arrived back at the hotel this car was on the car park and I couldn’t resist taking a photo or two.


Car1


Car2

While we were in Warwickshire we also visited Coughton Court a National Trust property. The gardens and the house itself were very nice and there was an excellent display of sculptures in the gardens.


The stairs


Water sculpture


Shield

18th August – Woolston Eyes

Again no rain and very little water in the pools at Woolston, so another morning of macro photography and insects.


Snail


Hoverfly


Ladybird


Flies

23rd August – Woolston Eyes

Pretty much the same as the previous week although there were some birds around even though the water was still extremely low.


Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta)


Green Sandpiper


Shelduck
21 Jul 2013 At THe Eyes
21st July 2013 - 0 comments
I paid an overdue visit to "The Eyes" this morning, hoping to see some Black-necked Grebes and give my new camera a good try out.

When I reached the first viewing hide I was quite surprised to see how low the level of water actually was. There were a few birds on the almost dry pool, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck with chicks, Gadwall and Coot.


Tufted Duck

After that I went to the John Morgan Hide and spent the rest of the time in there.

There were plenty of birds around but I didn't see much in the way of Black-necked Grebes.

Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck with chicks, Gadwall, Shelduck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, and Cormorant.


Tufted Duck with an unusually large brood of 15 chicks


Shelduck


Moorhen on the run


Lapwing


Magpie

The highlight of the day was a Common Sandpiper on the scrape.


Common Sandpiper


Common Sandpiper


Common Whitethroat

So the new camera had a reasonable work out and I'm quite pleased with the results.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
14 July 2013 Around the Hide
15th July 2013 - 0 comments
I would have liked to have got out with the camera on Saturdau but unfortunately I had other things to do like buying new glasses and various other things.

I did however get out to my hide on Sunday and there were plenty of young birds around including Wren, Goldfinch, Greenfinch.


Wren


Goldfinch

Others included Blue and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pheasant and even a Wood Pigeon dropped in. There were also plenty of Swallows on the wing and quite a few Butterflies, mainly Commer Small Copper and Large White.


Pheasant

The photograph of the above Pheasant shows the nictitating membrane (from Latin nictare, to blink) which is a transparent or translucent third eyelid present in some animals and birds.


Wood Pigeon

Before I left I thought I'd have a look around in the undergrowth to see if there were any insects to try a little macro photography with. I got some nice photos and a near miss, the focus just wash't right.


Red-headed Cardinal Beetle


Red-headed Cardinal Beetle
So close and yet so far the above could have been quite a good photo.


Possibly a Shield Bug


Possibly Wood Gnat, Anisopodidae - Sylvicola

If anyone can confirm the Shield Bug or the unknown it will be appreciated.

Thanks for Reading

Andy
06 July 2013 Great Crested Grebes at Woolston.
09th July 2013 - 0 comments
I paid a visit to Woolston Eyes on Saturday in the hope of capturing some shots of the Black-necked Grebes but as it happened I didn't manage anything worthwhile as far as they were concerned. However I did get some reasonable shots of Great crested grebes with a chick.


Great Crested Grebe


Great Crested Grebe

All the usual culprits were still around, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard, Coots, Little Grebe, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Cormorant, Buzzard flying over and many more birds were around.


Reed Warbler


Coots

I was expecting lots of really good photos especially with the light being extremely good but for whatever reason the quality wasn't as good as I'd like.


Pheasant

I know I had the 1.4x convertor fitted to the 500mm lens and Canon 7D which does reduce the quality somewhat but even so they were not nearly as good as what I was hoping for.

I'll have to some experimenting to see how to increase the number of savers.

Thanks for reading.

Andy
30 June 2013 At the Hide
04th July 2013 - 0 comments
I can’t remember why I didn’t go out on Saturday as I don’t think it was raining or poor weather I think I was just feeling out of sorts with myself.

Anyway it wasn’t bad on Sunday morning so I I went to my hide for a few hours and all the usual suspects were there including the Mistle Thrush that were around the week before.

Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Robin were all present in abundance

And I also had a brief visit from a Great Spotted Woodpecker


Blue Tit/b]


Chaffinch


Great Spotted Woodpecker

Thanks for reading.

Andy
24 June 2013 On the Muddy Banks of No3 Bed
04th July 2013 - 1 comment
As my wife had gone off somewhere for the day with her mother and sister I had a free last day of my holidays and visited Woolston Eyes in the morning and my hide in the afternoon; a full days wildlife and bird photography/watching, that’s not happened for some time.

The weather wasn’t bad overcast but with some sun breaking through, the light does make a massive difference to the quality of the photos.

There were plenty of birds on the water all the usual suspects, Mallards, Gadwall, Pochard, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Black-headed Gull and Lesser black-backed Gull, many of them with chicks.


Shelduck with Chicks

For once the Black-necked Grebes were just about within photographing distance particularly on the south pool and they had chicks so that was quite good.


Black-necked Grebe

My shot of the day was of a Lesser black-backed gull with some poor chick that it had snaffled!!


Lesser black-backed Gull



Lesser black-backed Gull


In the afternoon I went to my hide and it was a case of all the usual suspects, Dunnock,
Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Robin quite a few of which were fledglings.
Only a stones throw form the hide were also a group of Mistle Thrush.


Mistle Thrush


Robin


Goldfinch

Thanks for reading.

Andy