Monday, 29 March 2010

Chiff Chaff And Martin

Bad weather again today, the old phrase that March comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb appears to be the wrong way around this year. As it cleared away around five pm today I walked the dog and the binoculars. I couldn't quickly put my hand on the compact so out I went without it. If only I new a stunning male hen harrier would pose for me about 20 metres away what sublime views I had of it floating on air as it hunted the field in front of me for 3 to 4 minutes. So with the same odds of winning the Lottery it would hang around I ran home ( in the car) and got the camera. You got it, no Hen Harrier so I walked on down to the good old waste disposal and photographed this new in Chiff Chaff and my first House Martin for the year, and that was a challenge!!

Sunday, 28 March 2010


Today I attended the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Photographic Group field trip.The objective was to photographic Purple Sandpipers at Penzance, Checkout Marazion Reserve and Newlyn Harbour. The weather was atrocious, rain all day. Today I struggled with the available light but got some reasonable results considering the conditions. Lens aperture set on F 2.8.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Today I did around six hours looking for migrants. First stop was the fields between Cot Valley and Nanquidno and around Cot Mill. Not much luck there other than a flock of around two hundred Linnet. Then on to Nanquidno and with luck I bumped into Steve Rogers, Nanquidno gave up three Chiff Chaff the first singing Chiff Chaff of spring for me. We got news of a Hoopoe at Lamorna so on to Lamorna and bingo we located several birders observing and there it was distant but stunning, a Hoopoe feeding in the opposite field. No Photo's but hopefully this link will take you to some staggering images of a Hoopoe on the SWOPTICS photo blog Hoopoe gets the bug. please click on the link


Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Toads and Golden eye

Another day of dismal weather and terrible light and mist. I had a couple of hours at Stithians today and grabbed the following average shots. Toads breeding and in view at the Golden Lion cut off, and Tufted duck, Golden Eye, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Buzzard, in view at the Stuart Hutchings Hide. The Southern cut off had all the usual around the feeders including a male and female GS Woodpeckers. However we were totally captivated by a actively feeding little Grebe right under our nose at the Golden Lion hide.

Monday, 22 March 2010

What A Weekend

What a weekend and the highlight was the obvious Red Rumped Swallow at St Gothian NR, although on Sunday late afternoon I helped out with counting in the Hen Harriers returning to their roost with John Swann and Dave Parker,two locally renowned birders and a gold mine of information. I had stunning views of a male Hen Harrier with a total count of four, two males and two females. We also notched up a Short Eared Owl and a Barn Owl, what a weekend!!!

On Sunday morning at Marazion I was rubbing shoulders with some of the birdwatching hierarchy from Truro, Hayle and Lanner so I remained humble, especially in the presence of Roystan Wilkins and Steve Rogers. The Kestrel is what I would call an over the shoulder shot, I was photographing over Bob Sharples shoulder and he was photographing over Steve Rogers shoulder. I have included another shot of the RR Swallow, I was talking to DP whether the Marazion bird was the same bird I saw at St Gothian and DP felt the Marazion bird had more red on its belly and breast than the one I photographed. This may be due to the camera settings. I under exposed the shots by one stop, this prevents bleaching of the white areas and increases the shutter speeds. The negative effect it may have is less saturation of the colours, so I have saturated the breast and belly of the RR Swallow and it has brought out its colouring.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Red Rumped Swallow

I went shopping with Lisa today and soon became stir crazy, so at 2.00pm I had a little diversion to Gwithian/ St Gothian Sands and that was the right decision. As soon as I arrived I noticed a dozen Swallows quickly noting one with different markings. Once I got the binoculars on it I recognised it as a Red Rumped Swallow and armed only with the Nikon Coolpix I set about nailing a photograph. A phone call to John Swan and Steve Rogers was enough to alert a few local birders and it was seen again at Marazion.

The Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It breeds in open hilly country of temperate southern Europe and Asia from Portugal and Spain to Japan, India and tropical Africa. The Indian and African birds are resident, but European and other Asian birds are migratory. They winter in Africa or India and are vagrants to Christmas Island and northern Australia.
Red-rumped Swallows are somewhat similar in habits and appearance to the other aerial insectivores, such as the related swallows and the unrelated swifts (order Apodiformes). They have blue upperparts and dusky underparts.
They resemble Barn Swallows, but are darker below and have pale or reddish rumps, face and neck collar. They lack a breast band, but have black undertails. They are fast fliers and they swoop on insects while airborne. They have broad but pointed wings.
Red-rumped Swallows build quarter-sphere nests with a tunnel entrance lined with mud collected in their beaks, and lay 3 to 6 eggs. They normally nest under cliff overhangs in their mountain homes, but will readily adapt to buildings such as mosques and bridges.
They do not normally form large breeding colonies, but are gregarious outside the breeding season. Many hundreds can be seen at a time on the plains of India. This passage was Referenced from wikipaedia

The two superb images below of a Black Tail Godwit in full summer plumage were taken by John Swan, so thank you indeed John for allowing me to post them on the blog. The equipment used was a Panasonic Lumix. All the images on this post captured by compact cameras.


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A Few More From Loe Bar

Here is few more from Monday, these are Lisa' photo's. The first photo. a Mallard Chick, was a surprise as it seems a little early and we could find only one.

Britain's favourite bird,
King of the Corvids, a majestic Raven.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Long Tail Duck at Carminow Creek

I took the day off today so Lisa and I revisited Carminow Creek or Loe Bar as I prefer. We had a fair days birding and got on to the first when got out of the car, a female Common Scoter sea Duck and male and female Stonechat
. As we walked out to Low Bar we stopped and scanned the sea as I noticed some gull activity some distance out and saw three Black Throated Divers. As we approached the beach and another scan of the sea at high level we nailed a Red Throated Diver. A tip for anyone with problems with Diver ID is to go on the CBWPS ( Cornwall Bird watching Preservation Society) guided walk at Gerrans Bay, St Mawes usually led by Steve Rogers (Swoptics). Back to today and my main objective was to photograph the Long Tail Duck that had eluded me on three previous occasion. As you can see below a window of around one minute allowed me to capture a few average shots,shutter speed was a problem. Species we saw is as follows 1, LT Duck, 3 BT Divers, 1 RT Diver, 1 Common Scoter, 1 King fisher 2, Chough, 1 GC Grebe, 1 Nuthatch, 2 Raven, 1 Kestrel 1 Peacock Butterfly, amongst the rest of the common or garden species. We also saw a pod of Dolphin near Halzephron Cove numbering around 20 individuals. I am not that pleased with the results and put it down to movement. Please click on the image to enlarge


Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Quickie on a Sunday Afternoon

The Rooks from the Vicarage behind us are raiding the garden feeders, this time of year they will visit the garden more often, especially when the young appear. As the spring rolls closer to summer the Rooks and Crows visit earlier and earlier and culminates in flocks of them landing on my roof at five thirty in the morning crowing and walking on our bedroom Velux window that is normally open. During the summer i have seen them behaving similar to Starlings with those marvelous flight patterns.
A quick trip to Drift Reservoir produced two Great Crested Grebe and they seem to be courting so with any luck they will breed at Drift. The Black Neck Grebe is still at Drift along with the Whooper. There were high numbers of duck in the distance, mostly Tufted and Mallard.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Loe Pool

We had a trip to Loe Pool today and as we were mobile I took the coolpix and left the D300 and lens at home. Scanning the pool from Loe Bar we had a reasonably close Pochard and further out in the lake we noticed the Long Tail Duck was still in residence, The distance (approx 100 to 150 metres) was to much for even mediocre photography, and armed only with a compact it made life more difficult. The photo's are record shots, and maybe should only be used for the rarer species.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

St Clements

Two hours at St Clements today gave up a green shank and 3 Black Tail Godwits. Photo's of the Godwits were abysmal so I have omitted them.

Five Great Crested Grebe at Loe Pool.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Three Posts For Stithians

I Shot ten gig of images at Stithians so I have had plenty to choose from. This last post for Stiths until I return, is dedicated to the Little Grebe, This little species gave me superb photographic opportunities with some shots virtually full frame, The last two shots of the Reed Bunting were taken at the Southern cut off feeding station.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Stithians Reservoir Part 2

Here is a few more of the Great Crested Grebe at Stithians Reservoir. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and pay credit to the CBWPS reserve warden Simon Taylor and the group who regularly birdwatch and contribute to the feed station. I have only visited the reserve a couple of times but I intend to do more there as I want to photograph the GC Grebe with the chicks riding on the parents back.

This last image was the final position of a courtship display right in front the hide, unfortunately the main display was carried out end on to the hide instead of side on. However it was staggering to watch, I felt so privileged to witness the event.