Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pied Flycatcher


A male Pied Flycatcher in the Forest of Dean yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Great Northern Diver


This Great Northern Diver photo was taken last year. The Great Northern Diver is the largest of the UK divers. It's a specialist fish eater, and can dive as deep as 60 metres. Whilst watching this bird it would sedately drift on the surface of the lake, but once it was underwater, it could appear literally anywhere on the lake in a very short space of time. Since this bird, all other Great Northern Divers I've seen have been distant and at sea - which is more typical for divers.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bittern

One of my more unusual photos of a Bittern, taken last year. Usually solitary, the Great Bittern forages in reedbeds, which is where this one was photographed, walking stealthily or remaining still above a body of water where prey may occur. If it senses that it has been seen, it points its bill directly upwards and becomes motionless so that its cryptic plumage causes it to blend into the surrounding reeds: an action known as bitterning. It is most active at dawn and dusk.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Siskin


While searching for Crested Tits in the Cairngorms, a good number of Siskin were seen, including this male.

White-tailed Eagle


A rather closer view of a White-tailed Eagle compared to the previous post of this species, this one was photographed from Mull last summer. The White-tailed Eagle finally became extinct in Britain in 1918. On a third attempt, they were successfully reintroduced using birds from Norway. Since then, the population has slowly grown, but still these birds face persecution. Eggs have been stolen, birds shot or poisoned. Only two weeks ago, a satellite tagged eagle went missing over the North Glenbuchat Estate, an area the RSPB's Head of Investigations describes as 'a black hole for eagles'. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-27142843

Friday, April 25, 2014

Nightjar


Despite having seen countless Nightjar from dusk onwards locally in the Forest of Dean, this was the one and only time I'd ever discovered one in the daytime, at Ynys Hir in Wales, during last years Springwatch.

White-tailed Eagle pair


A pair of White-tailed Eagles on the isle of Mull, Scotland. This was taken from such a distance that I really needed the Hubble telescope for a decent shot. As it was, it was taken at 600mm using a tree trunk to lean the camera against, then cropped to death. They were barely just a speck to the naked eye, but their calls could be quite easily heard.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Meadow Pipit

This Meadow Pipit was photographed on a fence post in the fields above the cliffs of Martins Haven, Pembrokeshire.

Banded Damoiselle


Even when looking the other way, these seemed to know when a lens was being pointed at them. This one posed nicely though for a couple of seconds.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Arctic Tern


This Arctic Tern was photographed from a boat just off the Island of Coll in the Hebrides. I have to admit that the symmetry and composition was almost entirely down to luck, as the boat was bobbing about quite a lot, and we were surrounded by Basking Sharks, which is what I was really trying to photograph at the time!

Pine marten


A very brief video clip of a Pine marten, filmed last week in the Cairngorms, Scotland.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Capercaillie


On the fourth day in the Cairngorms, whilst walking the woodland at around 9.30am, a distant Capercaillie could be heard. It's a bird I'd never seen before, but the sound was unmistakeable. If you've never heard the amazing sounds of a Caper, watch this short clip. Then this bird came marching out of the woods towards the trail, and put on a short but stunning display, before settling down to feed on the heather on the forest floor.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Osprey


I'm back from another trip to the Cairngorm area of Scotland, but still working my way through the photographs. This one isn't one of the better pictures, and is a bit too distant, but I thought it was a bit different. The Osprey is approaching the nest carrying a Rainbow Trout. The weather was reasonably kind, and some rather special species were seen. Unfortunately my number 1 most wanted species remains just that - still wanted. A number of camera traps in well researched locations failed to turn up a Scottish Wildcat. It gives me another excuse to go back though...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

European Otter

This Otter was photographed on the River Stour in Dorset, August last year. It's become one of my favourite places to see Otters. Although there are obviously Otters closer to home, those on the Stour seem to be much more active in the daytime than their nocturnal Gloucestershire counterparts. The river also has a healthy population of Kingfishers, and in the summer an amazing display of demoiselles along the river bank.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Hawfinch

I'm lucky in that I live in a place which is something of a stronghold for the Hawfinch, but that often doesn't seem to make it any easier to photograph them. They're definitely my favourite member of the finch family. This photo belies just how dark it was when I took it, which in my experience with Hawfinch is typical - they're always too high in the canopy, or in the shade, feeding underneath it. This one was under a large yew tree, which was doing a great job of letting no light penetrate through it!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Great Grey Shrike


Back in November I posted a distant shot of a Great Grey Shrike. It was one of two that have spent the winter in the Forest of Dean. I've seen both on numerous occasions since then, and a couple of weeks ago I finally got some better photos of one of them. It's the same bird that I photographed back in Novemeber, at Crabtree Hill. I also noticed this small snack that it had skewered on to a hawthorn bush to eat later. No doubt both birds will be leaving for their breeding grounds in Scandinavia shortly.


Great Skua


While travelling between the islands of Mull and Coll in search of Basking Sharks and cetaceans, my attention was diverted by an incredibly close Great Skua. It's tricky to take in-flight shots from a boat as it lurches over the waves, but if you take enough shots, sooner or later some of them will turn out ok!

Badger


This photo is almost 5 years old, and is probably the first occasion I'd managed to get close enough for sharp and detailed shots. Over the next couple of years I made repeated visits to this sett along with one or two others. In more recent years I've not spent enough time with Badgers to get quite this close, but I still always enjoy seeing them. The Badger in this photo would be approximately 6 months old at the time the shot was taken - one of three siblings to make an appearance that evening.

A New Look

With spring arriving, bringing with it a host of migrant species, and others coming out of hibernation, coupled with the fact that I've neglected this site for a number of weeks, I decided it was time for a re-design and a slight change of direction. Hopefully visitors will find the new design to be cleaner and more attractive. There's still the odd tweak or two to be made, but I think it's sufficiently complete for me to start posting to it again. If anyone spots any bugs, etc, please let me know!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Black Grouse


This Black Grouse was photographed at the beginning of a trip to the Cairngorms three weeks ago. It was a pre-dawn start, with the hope of watching some lekking behaviour. The lekking didn't happen, but there was great views of both Black and Red Grouse, and it was a good way to start off the trip. I'm already looking forward to the next trip to the Cairngorms, which is taking place very shortly.