21 April 13 Woolston Eyes
22nd April 2013 - 0 comments
As the weather forecast for Sunday was rain I wasn’t really expecting to get out with the camera but lo and behold we had light!

By the time I’d organised myself time had moved on a bit but the weather still looked promising so I decided to visit “The Eyes”.

I always have mixed feelings about visiting “The Eyes”, it’s generally quiet meaning there aren’t hoards of people around so it’s easy to take photos without upsetting anyone. The cons being the hides aren’t that close to the water so unless you’ve got a very long lens you are going to struggle to take “quality” photos of the birds on the water. However I have heard rumours that a hide may be constructed closer to the water for photographers.

As I walked across the footbridge on to No.3 bed there were a couple of Great crested grebes looking resplendent on the water not too far away; always worth a shot or two but the results are never really flattering.

Great crested grebe

There were also quite a few Swallows and Sand Martins flying around and even some sitting on the hand rail of the bridge. Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot at them..

As I’d heard that the Black-necked Grebes were favouring the North West Pool I decided to visit there first. I counted six all up at the same time so there were at least six on No.3 bed.

I’d only been there a short time and a Redshank flew in followed by a second one shortly afterwards.


There were also five or six Little Grebes on this pool, a small group of Pochard, the obligatory Black-headed Gulls, Coots, Moorhens, Shelduck and Mallards.

Little Grebe

The Black-necked Grebe were quite a way out on the water but eventually a couple of them ventured closer to the edge so I fitted the 1.4x tele-convertor in the hope that I’d have a decent chance of the birds being larger in the frame. I’m reluctant to do this now as the drop in quality is significant and it makes the autofocus much slower.

Black-necked Grebe

Not a good photograph but better than none at all.
Soon after I could hear a Water Rail calling (likened to a squealing pig) and then I noticed the reeds twitching and out one popped, they are definitely skulking birds and rarely come out of the reeds into the open. Then when they do come out they don’t hang around and generally run at top speed to wherever they are going.

Water Rail

This one was as wary as the others I’ve seen and only gave a partial view initially and then it did come out but run quickly to another clump of reeds. It is difficult to get an absolutely clear shot on these birds there’s always something else in the frame. Eventually it did give an almost clear view without much else in the frame before it disappeared at high speed into the reeds on the other side of the cleared area.

Water Rail

I then walked back to the John Morgan Hide and there were quite a few birds on the water and the same Redshanks on the edge of the water. There were also a couple of Buzzards flying over the pool but they didn’t come that close to upset the other birds.

There were quite a few Coots doing what Coots do best, squabbling and generally chasing each other. I did have a go at taking a few shots but they weren’t that successful.

Coots on the run

Overall I had a really enjoyable time, some frustration but best of all a few reasonable pics but unfortunately not of the Black-necked Grebes.

Thanks for reading my writings.


20 Apil 13 At the Hide
22nd April 2013 - 0 comments
I visited the hide on Saturday filled the feeders with feed and sat and waited. Being truthful I was expecting nothing as it had been three weekends since I last visited and I received it in abundance.

It was about an hour before I seen a bird which was a Wren flitting about in the undergrowth but by the time I’d got the camera trained in the right area, it was on its way.

Great Tit

I had a few visits from Blue and Great Tits and male and female Chaffinch and a single Goldfinch. The only other bird that visited the area was a Long-tailed Tit that stayed in the conifers for a few minutes and then moved on.

Long-tailed Tit

No Robins, Sparrows, Blackbirds or even Pheasants so a really poor show.

There were plenty of Woodpigeons and Corvids flying over and I could hear Buzzards calling but couldn’t see any.

As it is light in the evenings now it should be easier to keep the feeders topped up and hopefully that will encourage the birds back.

Thanks for reading

04 Apr 2013 In the Garden
04th April 2013 - 0 comments
As I didn’t manage to leave the house other than to go to the shops over the Easter holiday I had to make do with taking photographs in the garden or indoors.

Luckily I do have some bird feeders in the garden and although I’m not keen on taking photos of birds on the feeders sometimes you don’t have a choice.

House Sparrow

Having looked at the list of the top twenty five garden birds found in the recent RSPB garden survey I think I can safely say the birds we see in our garden are consistent with the list certainly up to 15th although I’ve never seen a feral pigeon actually in the garden..

Goldfinch feeding on leaf buds

Rank Species

1 House sparrow
2 Blackbird
3 Blue tit
4 Starling
5 Woodpigeon
6 Chaffinch
7 Great tit
8 Goldfinch
9 Robin
10 Collared dove
11 Dunnock
12 Magpie
13 Coal tit
14 Feral pigeon
15 Greenfinch
16 Jackdaw
17 Carrion crow
18 Common gull
19 Long-tailed tit
20 Wren
21 Fieldfare
22 Song thrush
23 Rook
24 Pheasant
25 Great spotted woodpecker

From 16 to 25 we have seen Carrion Crow, Long-tailed tit, Wren,and Song Thrush.

Long-tailed Tit

During the last twelve months we’ve also seen Goldcrest and Redpoll and since Christmas we’ve also seen Brambling, Siskin & Reed Bunting; we regularly have five or six Reed Buntings in the garden.

Female Reed Bunting


Thanks for reading.

28 Mar 2013 Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve
29th March 2013 - 0 comments
I had the opportunity to visit Woolston Eyes NR yesterday and there were plenty of birds to be seen albeit at a distance.

View from the Centre Hide showing the effect of recent work to clear reeds and vegetation on No3 Bed

On the water were Gadwall, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Pochard Pintail, Mallard, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Great-crested Grebe and the obligatory Moorhens & Coots.


There were also lots of Gulls including Black headed, Lesser black backed and juvenile gulls but not sure what.

Displaying Black-headed Gulls

Around the feeders there were plenty of the usual suspects including Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Willow Tit, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Magpie and still some Brambling to be seen.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Magpie at the feeding station

A Buzzard also made an appearance that put the gulls into a frenzy.

Two Black-necked Grebe had been reported but weren't apparent during my visit.

Thanks for reading.

20130318 Last few Weeks
18th March 2013 - 0 comments
It’s been around six weeks since I wrote anything in my news section and it feels almost as long since I ventured out with the camera.

Poor weather, work, family issues and dog minding have curtailed my opportunities for outdoor photography but wherever and whenever possible I have tried to do some photography. This has even included in work taking photos of various pieces of equipment for reports. However most of the photography I’ve done in recent weeks has been indoors at home or in the garden.

I took some photos of the dogs, a Shih Tzu and a Bulldog that we’d been minding and there were a couple of those I was pleased with.

Bear the Shih Tzu

Alfie the Bulldog

The subjects for the indoor photography have been mainly flowers, and perhaps abstract photography may be the best description of the other subject.

Flower Photography

The equipment for the flower photography consists of Canon 5D mkll, macro lens 100mm or 180mm, tripod and cable release. Most of the shots have been taken using natural light although there may be some fill in flash or reflected light used.

Some of the resulting photographs were single shots but most are from three or four shots which are then aligned and stacked in Photoshop to produce a photo with an increased depth of field, which isn’t usually obtained in a single shot when using a macro lens.

Single flower shot using macro lens

Composite photo of a number of shots aligned and stacked in Photoshop

Abstract Photography

Most of the photographs are coloured lines and curves and if nothing else they are bright and colourful!

Lastly I visited the hide on Sunday and it was very poor morning. The only bird I saw for about an hour was a Robin and that didn’t come out into the open very often. The only other bird I got a decent view of was a Coal Tit and that didn’t stay long enough to photograph it. There were plenty of other birds around as I could hear them but nothing came near.

Robin singing in the bushes


C’est la vie.

26 Jan 13 Woolston Weir
28th January 2013 - 0 comments
It was bright and crisp on Saturday morning so I decided to spend a few hours at Woolston Weir as I had read on “The Eyes” website that there had been some Goldeneyes on the weir pool for a while.

Unfortunately they were quite distant and it did take me a while to pick them out amongst the hundred or so Tufted Ducks. There appears to be a few alternatives for the collective noun of ducks on water, including raft, paddling and team.

A raft or paddling of Tufted Ducks

Eventually a female of the species came just about close enough to get a photo!

Female Goldeneye

Luckily the Mallards and Canada Geese didn’t have a problem with getting up close and personal.

Female Mallard

Canada Goose

Just before I left I did manage to get a photo of a male Goldeneye and a pair, male and female together.

Male Goldeneye

Pair of Goldeneye

20 Jan 2013 In The Garden
21st January 2013 - 0 comments
A pretty miserable weekend weather wise although the snow was nice and added some interest, however the light was awful.

We've had Reed Buntings visiting the feeders in the garden for quite a few weeks now and Saturday was no exception with about six birds in the garden, males and females.

Most of them are ringed so I imagine most if not all are from "The Eyes".

Male Reed Bunting

Settings: ISO800 f4.0 1/1600sec +2/3EV 500mm

Female Reed Bunting

Settings: ISO800 f4.0 1/250sec 500mm

We've also had a Brambling or two frequenting the feeders which is a nice change from the usual Tits & Chaffinches.


Settings: ISO1250 f4.0 1/100sec 500mm


Settings: ISO800 f4.0 1/320sec 500mm

Considering the photos were taken at between ISO800 and one at ISO1250 and through a glass window the noise isn't that bad really.

Thanks for reading.

10 Jan 2014 Woolston Eyes
14th January 2013 - 0 comments
On Sunday morning I choose to visit Woolston Eyes as I needed a change of scenery and hopefully I would see some different birds. When I got up the ice on the car was pretty obvious but even so I didn’t think it had been cold enough to freeze the pools down at “The Eyes”.

Unfortunately I was totally wrong and there was no open water at all and consequently no waterfowl although there were quite a few Teal flying around the pools. Presumably looking for some open water.

Flying Teal

Unusually I met a few people to talk to and Douglas Buchannan told me the committee were considering erecting a photographers hide but this is still very much a consideration rather than a definite. I know I would be interested in using it depending on where it is erected i.e. how close it is to the water and the view from it.

Apparently the contractors carrying out the work on No3 bed have lost a digger to the water/mud and it is now submerged; an expensive error to make but no doubt it was insured.

I took my time wandering around the meadows and attempted to be artisitic with my photography, whether it worked or not I’m not sure.

Teasel with water droplets

I eventually made my way around to the Centre Hide and although there weren’t any waterfowl to see, there were quite a few birds using the feeders.

Although the feeders in my opinion are slightly too far away from the hide for good photographs, it’s always worth having a go.

Feeding Station by the Centre Hide

Just for information the above photo was taken with a 24-70mm lens set at 62mm and there is a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the RH Feeder.

Luckily even though the sun wasn’t splitting the heavens it was light enough to get a shutter speed of 1/500th at f4 and ISO 400; I don’t like using ISO’s >400 because the noise becomes more noticeable.

Neither was I tempted to use the 1.4x teleconvertor that I had in my bag, as that reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor and slows the autofocus. Of course it does increase the effective focal length of the lens by x1.4 so the subject appears larger in the frame. However I decided that if I got some interesting birds on the feeders I’d use a tighter crop with the Photoshop software that I use for editing the photographs. Swings and roundabouts!!

The cold weather must have made the feeders an attractive proposition for the birds as there were quite a few birds around, including Brambling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and Willow Tit.

Great Spotted Woodpecker



Willow Tit

Thanks for reading.

14 Jan 13 First Two Weeks
14th January 2013 - 0 comments
As this is my first post of the New Year I would just like to wish anyone reading this a very happy new year, better late than never as they say!

I think the last time I posted anything was around the 4th of December and unfortunately not a lot photographically has happened since then. My time has been spent with visits to family, Christmas shopping, Christmas and a load of poor weather. So in between working and what I’ve just mentioned there has been very little time available for photography!

Since the turn of the year however I have been to the hide a couple of times and made a visit to Woolston Eyes.

The birds visiting the feeders at the hide are the usual suspects which are mainly the common garden birds, Blue and Great Tit, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Robin, Pheasant, Wren, House, Hedge & Tree Sparrow. On Saturday however I did get a visit from three partridges but unfortunately no photo.

Usually the Wrens of which there must be quite a few from the noise they make, keep themselves well hidden in the undergrowth and rarely come out into the open. On Saturday however one did come out into the open and I managed to get a reasonable photo of it before it disappeared back into the undergrowth.


Of the common birds I listed above it may be worth mentioning the three sparrows, House, Hedge & Tree, strictly speaking the Hedge Sparrow or Dunnock isn’t a true Sparrow and is actually a member of the Accentor family of birds.
The Hedge Sparrow name dates back many years to when people were not as aware as they are now and lots of small birds were classed as Sparrows. Apparently the name Dunnock is derived from the old English word ”dunnakos” meaning little brown one.

Unlike our two true Sparrows the Dunnocks’ head is quite grey in appearance and it has a very thin beak. The true Sparrows have a heavy beak as they are seed eaters. Dunocks also flick their tails and wings regularly.

The following three photos should help any none or casual bird watchers identify these three birds.

Hedge Sparrow or Dunnock
Note the grey Head and slim or narrow beak!

House Sparrow
Male and Female together, the male being the upper one, note the brown head and grey crown, white cheek patch and black bib.

Tree Sparrow
The head of the Tree Sparrow it totally chestnut grey crown. Also note the black cheek spot which is absent in both the House Sparrow and Dunnock.

I hope that helps the none twitchers and casual bird watchers identify these three common garden birds, although I’ve never seen a tree sparrow in our garden.

Thanks for reading.

The Dogs
04th December 2012 - 0 comments
Anyone that read the earlier post "Been to the Dogs" may like to know that Jessie had five pups but sadly she died immediately afterwards.

Sarah and Claire are hand rearing the pups, they started on two hourly feeds but have now moved on to four hourly!!

Strange that they had the photos taken when they did.

23 Nov 12 A day on the Wirral
03rd December 2012 - 0 comments
Sometimes it takes a long time to actually do what you've talked about for what seemed a long time. Anyway a day out with my great friend Barry actually materialised and we spent the day photographing on the Wirral.

I've got to say I was definitely out of my comfort zone as I normally know where I'm going and what I'm going to take. The only thing I had decided was that I wasn't taking the 500mm lens.

We started off at Rock Ferry and although it didn't look a very promising location when we arrived, we did spend over an hour there.

I've seen lots of images using HDR on the web so I thought it was an ideal opportunity for me to try something different.

A rotting and decaying boat was the first subject then the legs of a working pier and a couple of shots of the wider view.

Decaying Boat

Anglican Cathedral from Across The River

Working Pier in Black n White

When we finished there we headed across to the other side of the peninsula to Heswall.

We had lunch at Sheldrakes which was pretty excellent and then headed onto the marsh.

For once I actually took my wellingtons with me and that was certainly a wise move as I was ankle deep in mud most of the time.

There was plenty to capture our attention and we spent the afternoon snapping away. We even managed to get some shots during the "Golden Hour".

I really like the last photo and I've had it printed onto Acrylic but at the time of writing I've not seen it yet. On screen it looks excellent but I know it can be deceiving on screen.

Anyway I had a great day way with excellent company so thanks Barry for an excellent day.


18 Nov 12 At The Hide
03rd December 2012 - 0 comments
Lots of birds flitting back and to, but nothing out of the ordinary.

All the usual Tits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Sparrow etc.


Tree Sparrow

Blue Tit

For no other reason other than I could, I decided to convert the above photo to monochrome and then add some of the blue back in.
To try and make the bird the centre of focus I also added a dark vignette.
I think it works so feel free to comment if it doesn't.


10 Nov 12 Saturday Morning at the Hide
11th November 2012 - 0 comments
It was lovely bright morning almost perfect for a bit of photography at the hide.

Considering I didn't go last week and the feeders were totally empty it's amazing how quickly the birds arrive after they have been filled.

The Robin or Tits are usually first to arrive and just flit back and to all the time.

Blue Tit

The Robin is obviously extremely territorial and although it doesn't appear to bother too much about the tits, he chases most of the other birds of equal size.


I could hear the Wrens calling for most of the morning and one only made a very brief appearance however I did manage to get a photo.


A number of Pheasants turned up, male and female, however because I'm using a 500mm lens I can only get the head in the frame.

Male Pheasant

Female Pheasant

A number of Goldfinch were back and to and although I did get some photos they aren't brilliant.


Last time I went to the hide I said that I hadn't seen any Coal Tits or Long Tail Tits, I can now say that I've seen Long Tail Tits but they were only there for a a few seconds before they flew on.

A Mistle Thrush made a very brief appearance before that also flew on.

A number of Blackbirds were back and to along with Dunnock, House Sparrow and Chaffinch. I also caught sight of a Goldcrest more than once but it didn't stay still long enough to get a decent shot.


House Sparrow

Mute Swan over, along with Crows and Wood Pigeon, I could also hear Buzzard somewhere quite close but I didn't see it.

A nice morning!!

Thanks for reading.

03 Nov 2012 Brambling
06th November 2012 - 0 comments
Bramblings are very similar to Chaffinch in size and shape although their colouring is somewhat different with the male having a black head, an orange breast and white belly.

Apparently you can see them from Mid September onwards but generally on the East Coast.

They are by no means frequent visitors to our garden feeders and I was very surprised to see one on the feeders on Saturday.

It is certainly the earliest I’ve seen one in our garden and it’s usually well in to the Winter months, January to March when they are struggling to find seed.


We often see Crows flying over the garden but up until Saturday they never land, so it was another surprise to see a Crow in the garden as well. We also get the one or two Magpies from time to time but Saturday we had five or six at the same time, presumably all from the same family.

The seed in the feeders generally lasts four or five days but the birds have been emptying them in about two days, I’m assuming they are feeding up for the winter.

So there appears to be some unusual activity going on in our garden at least.

Last but not least I found lots of light coloured feathers in the garden the other day so no doubt the Sparrowhawks visits to the feeders paid dividends. We do get cats lurking in the shrubs as well, so it could also have been a cat but I hope it was the Sparrowhawk!


Been to the Dogs
05th November 2012 - 0 comments
People say don’t work with animals and children so I’m obviously a glutton for punishment and worked with both in one photo session.

The children were really nice but the pets, dogs, were really hard work particularly the Bulldogs, the Jack Russell was easier.

It was also the first time I’d taken the studio lights and background to someones house for a photo session, so I can now say I have a mobile studio!

It took a little longer to set up than I anticipated but Sarah and Claire were ok with that.

The first session taking photos of the girls went fine but the second session with the dogs, that wasn’t so fine.

Sarah & Claire wanted some photos of the two dogs together so I started with that first, that was definitely a bit of a nightmare. If we could get one dog facing the camera, the other one would be facing in the opposite direction!!

Probably the best shot of the two dogs together

Not even enticing them with meat could encourage them to sit and pose together.

We gave up on that after about 15mins of trying everyone’s patience. Separating them and taking individual photos of them came next, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be but after about ten minutes of trying I eventually got some reasonable shots of the first one.

A very pregnant Jess - 2 weeks to go

Enter the second dog, and it was just as bad as the first so it’s a good job I have the patience of a saint! But I eventually did get some decent shots.


Last but not least in came Briersey the Jack Russell, apparently named after Lee Briers and just like its namesake, he was definitely a bit of a livewire.

Briersey was definitely more of a poser and a livewire all in one, so I got some really nice shots of this little Jack Russell.

Briersey the livewire Jack Russell

Overall a successful photographic session but very difficult to get some decent shots!!

Composite photograph of Jess & Ruby

30 Oct 12 Not The Best Weekend I've Ever Had!
01st November 2012 - 0 comments

I went to the hide on Saturday but after getting some nice views of the birds on the previous weekends it was very poor.

There didn’t appear to be many birds around even though it was quite bright and not too cold.

Even the frequent flyers to the feeders like Blue and Great Tit were intermittent and at one stage I sat for 45mins without seeing a visiting bird!

Even so I still managed to get a few decent photos.

Blue Tit



Some time ago I’d booked to go on a woodland workshop and it seemed a good idea at the time.

However when I woke up on Sunday the forecasted rain was well and truly lashing down.

With reservation I got myself ready, thermal vest, polo shirt, jumper, Fleece, Weatherproof Jacket, neck warmer, multicoloured stupid hat, weatherproof pants, boots.

Well that was me weatherproofed, I hoped.

Check of equipment, got everything, including flask of coffee, sandwiches and biscuits that my wife made me take.

Loaded up the car and got on the road. At this stage it wasn’t raining and I was hopeful that even if not bright and sunny it wouldn’t rain. After a 45min drive I arrived at Roddlesworth Woods.

It was still pretty miserable but not raining so I was still hopeful. I decided to pay a quick visit to the loo and things started to deteriorate. A zip malfunction on my brand new Paramo pants, a piece of material jammed in the zip and could I zip myself up, no I couldn’t, I eventually broke the zip messing about!! Not a happy chappy.

Shortly after the person running the workshop turned up and introduced the other three attendees and went through the format of the workshop, etc.

After that we made our way into the woods the first sight of which looked stunning with a bright orange carpet of leaves covering the ground.

We left the path and made our way down the embankment to take some pictures of a moss covered tree that Andy was aware of.

Moss covered tree

We spent 30mins or so in the area taking photos of whatever took our fancy. Unfortunately during this time the rain started again only lightly but it was raining.

I also managed to lose my footing and fall over; luckily the camera was in the bag at the time but I received a real mud bath.

We then moved to a different area to try and get some water shots, the rain had now turned into a downpour, not nice. Unfortunately I didn’t have any camera protection but luckily Andy had a spare camera cover that he lent me. It’s a pity my spectacles didn’t have windscreen wipers fitted because I couldn’t see what I was doing.

On the plus side the rain does enhance the colours of the leaves, especially with a polariser fitted on the lens.

Autumn Leaves on Rock/b]

After that we moved upstream to take some photos of a small waterfall. With all the rain that had fallen there was plenty of water flowing over it and apparently it wasn’t as photogenic as usual.

I did take some photos in the area and there is one I like but it has been heavily edited in Photoshop; It is very abstract for me and I don’t expect many people to like it but someone might.

Autumnal Reds

Unfortunately it was still pouring down, I was soaked and I didn’t think it was doing the camera any good every time I took the cover off the camera to take a shot. To be honest I didn’t think that any of the photos would be any good either due to the rain on the lens, so I decided to call it a day and left the others to carry on with the workshop.

On the way back I had to walk through a flooded stream and got my feet soaking wet as the level of water went over my boots. Then I managed to take the wrong path and had to retrace my steps eventually and it was still raining; I couldn’t have got any wetter though!

I eventually made my way back to the car and boy was I glad to sit in it!! After eating a sandwich I started the journey back and it was still raining.

I had phoned my wife to tell her I was on the way back and there was a nice hot lunch and bubble bath waiting for me when I got home.

Incredibly when I uploaded the photos onto the computer there were a few that looked pretty good. Even the ones that suffered from rain on the front of the lens don’t look too bad and I was wondering if I could get away with saying it is artistic effect.

I have now dried out along with the camera equipment without ill effect.


22 Oct 2012 Kats' Birthday
22nd October 2012 - 0 comments
It was my daughter Kathryns’ birthday and she had a small party at the Widnes Vikings ground.

Of course she wanted some photographs taking and dad duly obliged.

I could have been really organised/professional and taken the background and studio lights and tried some event photography but I made do with the normal flash unit.

I don’t like using the small flash as I’ve had some really bad times with it but
everything went ok and I produced some really nice shots.


22 Oct 2012 The Weekend
22nd October 2012 - 1 comment
It was quite a nice weekend and certainly bright enough for photography but where to go, I was torn between visiting the hide and going down to “Woolston Eyes”.

In the end I decided to go to the hide on Saturday and Sunday mainly because I know that I can get really close up shots of the birds even if they are the common ones that we can all see most days in our gardens.


Blue Tits & Great Tits are flitting about most of the time and Saturday was no exception.

Blue Tit

The other birds that put in an appearance were Goldfinch, Wren, Pheasant (male & female), Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Robin and Magpie. Buzzard, Crow and plenty of Woodpigeons were also flying over.

House Sparrow

After packing up and going home, I was looking at the feeding station in the garden and there was a juvenile Sparrowhawk perched on the fence. Sparrowhawks are quite frequent visitors to the garden but generally they disappear quite quickly, this one perched for a reasonable length of time and I managed to get some decent shots through the window.



Mostly the same birds seen again minus the House Sparrow and Magpie, they were however replaced by Blackbird and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I don’t see many Blackbirds or Greenfinch during my visits to the hide and definitely not Coal Tits or Long Tailed Tits. Which seems a little odd as I only live a short distance away and they are frequent flyers to the feeders in our garden. But when you can get really good views of Wren and Goldcrest; I don’t really think it’s a problem.

13 Oct 2012 Saturday at the Hide
15th October 2012 - 0 comments
I paid another visit to the hide on Saturday morning and had a really good photo session.

After topping the feeders up it didn’t take long for the birds to arrive with Blue Tit and Great Tit being frequent visitors.

Great Tit

I didn’t see a Robin during my last visit but that was soon remedied and he posed nicely.


After a while I heard the ticking of Wrens there was obviously more than one around but as they are skulking birds and spend most of their time in the undergrowth they weren’t easy to see. However one did come out into the open eventually and gave me my best shot of a Wren. I’m pleased about that.


I hadn’t seen any Goldfinch during my last visit but a couple turned up to feed on the Sunflower seeds but they didn’t pose at all.

A Dunnock made itself known and he posed nicely for a while.


A Magpie turned up but he only landed for a microsecond before he was off again. Magpies did come in earlier in the year but they do seem very timid and the slightest noise and they’re off. I’m hoping for a Jay to turn up as they are around in the area but from experience they are also extremely flighty.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in and landed long enough to take a couple of shots, I hadn’t seen Great spotted Woodpecker from the hide before so that was a first.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

A pair of Pheasants strolled in for a look around they didn’t stay long but long enough to get a few shots.


The Tits were flying in and out all the time offering a constant supply of photo opportunities.

I’d been in the hide for about three hours and it was reaching time for home when I saw a small bird fly into the Conifers that I was pretty sure was a Goldcrest, our smallest bird along with the Firecrest. I scanned the conifers and eventually caught sight of it and yes Goldcrest confirmed.

Unfortunately it is a bit like the Wren and doesn’t spend much time out into the open and it quickly disappeared into the conifers.

I was definitely reluctant to leave now and kept willing it to reappear and it did, even long enough for me to get a few decent shots. My only photos of Goldcrest have been taken on the feeders in my garden so I was pleased to get something more natural looking.


Shortly afterwards I went home feeling very pleased with my mornings efforts.

Thanks for reading.

12 Oct 2012 St Maries Team Photo
15th October 2012 - 0 comments
It is nice and does give me a bit of a boost when I’m asked to take some photos.

St Maries junior teams had just got a new kit and wanted a team photo taking but had been let down by other photographers; perhaps their charges were too high!

Anyway one of my daughters asked me if I’d take the photos after the training session at the Stobart Stadium in Widnes.

It must be 40yrs since I’d been in the ground and of course it was then Naughton Park; I even played there on a couple of occasions.

When I walked out on to the pitch I was totally amazed, the stadium looked superb nothing like the old days. The pitch was full of lads training and quite a few parents were watching the younger ones.

At the end of the session the lads went off and changed into their new kit. I was a bit apprehensive, as I couldn’t remember taking a team photo before and certainly not under floodlights!!

I had set the camera up before I left home, checked the batteries and all the rest of it so like a coiled spring I was ready for action.

The coach wanted to see if we could get the words Vikings from the stand behind in the frame, so we gave that a whirl first. There isn’t anything wrong with the photo but it doesn’t actually work as a team photo, the team are too small in the frame.

After that I zoomed in with the 24-70ml lens I was using and took a couple more frames.

Remarkably the lads posed themselves, made sure the ball was in the middle and the correct way up and didn’t mess about; obviously the pros of the future.

Original shot

I then took some photos of some of the players with the sponsors, I think they were their dads really, or if they weren’t they bore a remarkable resemblance to some of the players.

I then took photos of the players individually.

I think the session went well but one or two of the photos could have been better.

Final Team Photo

It took a bit of time to reach the end product but well worth the effort and seems to have gone down quite well with some people.