Wednesday, 27 December 2017

December 2017 A Rare bird in the Uk and the Costwolds the Great Grey Shrike

There is something really charismatic about the Great Grey Shrike.  I love the way they sit high on bushes looking out for prey.  I am always amazed at the reports of different prey they catch, voles lizards, newts and small birds.  To me they just don't seem big enough but the must be very feisty hunters with plenty of aggression.  An amazing bird to see and near to my Cotswolds home too!

Great Grey Shrike on the lookout.

Under carriage down - Red Kite
As always I could never resist getting a few images of a Red Kite as they pass by.

Monday, 18 December 2017

December 2017 Rare bird in Gloucestershire, the Penduline tit

It was so near to home that I could not resist a short trip to try and find the Penduline tit that has been reported on a local reserve.  After an hour of waiting and searching it finally turned up.  A lovely bird to see and also catch up with a few birding buddies while I was there.

Saluting his followers

Penduline tit
It is also great to find a new local reserve that is easy to get to, with good parking.  I will definitely visit there again.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

December 2017 Goosander on my local park lake

I got a notification that there was a male Goosander on my local park lake at Pittville Cheltenham.  This is only a few minutes drive away from my home.  So it was grab my gear and off to the lake within a few minutes.  I spotted the Goosander as soon as I arrived.  What a handsome bird and it was great to get some images.  Even the light had improved during my journey.

Male Goosander looking serene

Time to stretch those wings

Lovely sunlight
This really is a handsome bird and I was well pleased to spend some time with it.

Monday, 11 December 2017

December 2017 Lots of wintering thrushes around at the moment in the Cotswold Hills UK

At this time of the year there are many wintering thrushes here in the Cotswolds.  It is relatively mild here and they come in there thousands from Northern Europe and Scandinavia.  I always enjoy seeing them as they come in flocks into the trees that contain berries.  I bet the resident blackbirds and thrushes feel under threat the way they quickly strip the trees of berries.  I would imagine in these great numbers that they are welcome addition to the menu of the resident Sparrowhawks!


These redwings were on my garden holly tree and this must be one of my shortest ever birding trips!

Monday, 4 December 2017

December 2017 During each time spell I always seem to get a favourite character. This Water Rail is amazing!

This is definitely my favourite bird of the moment.  These are really nervous and shy birds, but this Water Rail seems to appear consistently and is quite confiding.  The Willow Hide at Slimbridge is so well designed for photography having really low positioned openings.  With limited time to spare this was a great morning.

I particularly like this last image with the drop of water on its bill.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

November 2017 A walk on Cleeve Common, Gloucestershire UK

I had a walk on Cleeve Common this morning.  This beautiful Kestrel was around most of the time.  Hovering as it hunted, or sometimes keeping an eye open for prey from the thorn scrub bushes.

Always on the look out!

Typically hovering while hunting
The beauty of this bird was the highlight of the walk for me.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

November 2017 Early morning in the Forest of Dean

I got up early and decided to go and look for the Great Grey Shrike that has been reported for a few weeks now in the Forest of Dean.  It was beautiful early morning sun light and I really enjoyed the walk.  There was no shrike to be seen but I managed to get some images of Fallow Deer.  Sometimes its good not to have too exact a target, enjoy the day and be satisfied with images of anything else that comes with the day.

I caught these fallow doe in lovely sunlight

A group of bucks came out of the undergrowth
Always enjoy the walk and the occasion and do not be disappointed when pre-planned targets do not appear!

Friday, 10 November 2017

November 2017 A quiet walk around my own patch. Native Roe deer.

If you walk around quietly sometimes its surprising how you can catch wild Roe deer very relaxed.  You have to stop and stand quietly when they pay you attention and move slowly toward them.  Being down wind can be a big advantage but I must admit that did not go through my mind on this occasion.  I am still happy with these images.

Roe Deer doe.

Roe deer buck.
It was great to catch this buck asleep under a hedge.  I had to choose my moment to catch him with his eyes open!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

November 2017 a sunny morning trip to Slimbridge WWT

I thought I would have a trip to Slimbridge as the sky was clear and it looked like it was going to be a great day.  All of the images were taken from my favourite hide there the "Robbie Garnett" hide.
This is a great hide where the windows are wide enough and the sun comes from behind for most of the day.

A flock of Curlew across the "Tack Piece"

Part of thirteen cranes that flew past

Shoveler having a bathe

Whooper Swan
It was particularly great to get some images of Whooper Swans.  Slimbridge is particularly famous for its Bewicks Swans that visit in the winter, but these are a much rarer sight at Slimbridge.
Seeing a flight of thirteen Cranes' on a fly-past was an awesome sight and on its own made the trip worthwhile.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

November 2017 I still can resist a Red Kite with my camera.

These birds were so rare in my youth and are so great when they fly by, I don't think I will ever be able to resist getting a few images on every chance encounter!

Red Kite
This was taking at Hawling in the Cotswold Hills.

Monday, 30 October 2017

October 2017 It's always exciting when a Water Rail breaks cover.

These are really secretive little birds that spend most of their time hidden deep in the vegetation.  It is always exciting when they break cover and they seldom spend long in the open.  This one also made a lot of squealing calls when out of site.  It is said to be reminiscent of a weaner pig!

Water Rail

Water Rail
I really love these secretive elusive birds!

Monday, 23 October 2017

October 2017 One last Osprey picture. This one having a bathe!

This was just so exciting when this happened.  It just flew down from its perch and started to bathe.  I never thought I would ever witness this!

Bathe time

Sunday, 22 October 2017

October 2017 On holidays in Majorca the beautiful S'albufera Parc Natural

This is my third visit to Majorca and one of the main reasons I go back so often is the beautiful S'albufera Park Natural.  I love this park which is the largest wetland in the Balearic Islands and it is quite magical.  There are a large number of species to be seen and they have great facilities with quite a number of hides and viewing platforms.


Kentish Plover

Night Heron

 It was quite a surprise to see a couple of flamingos drop into the wetland.  I have never seen this species there before.  The Night Herons can often be seen in the vegetation down the main canal as you walk in.  Kentish Plovers are quite numerous.  I had heard that an Osprey had been seen on a few days but I had to wait until my fourth visit before I managed to catch up with it.  The whole scrape of birds took rapid flight and there was the great noise of wing beats spreading along the scrape.  This beautiful Osprey then landed on the post in front of the hide.  This was just so exciting made all the more special by having to wait for it.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

October 2017 Passage Ruff in the UK

These birds breed in northern Europe but we get them on passage as they go through the UK.  There are very few that breed in the UK about ten pairs.  I always enjoy seeing them on passage as they are quite exotic birds.



Tuesday, 3 October 2017

October 2017 Osprey before they leave for the winter

I had an early morning quick jaunt down into Wales this morning with a target of catching up with the charismatic Osprey before they leave for Africa for our winter.


 These really are thrilling to watch and I must spend more time with them next year.  I have a dilemma though, as I have a mental block when it comes to paying quite large amounts of money to photograph them from a hide as they dive into fish farm.  This seems to be the norm these days and perhaps I may have to just join them!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

October 2017 They have to take-off some time! - Kestrel

One thing that you can be certain of, if a bird is perched patiently at some time or other it must take off.  You would probably need a tripod to hold the camera on them long enough in some cases.  It often gives you the chance of different image.

Kestrel take-off

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

September 2017 Always a great afternoon with Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel & Red Kite

That was a really satisfying afternoon and great when you get these three marvellous species to entertain you.

Angel of the Cotswolds - Male Kestrel

Peregrine Falcon

Red Kite
What more could you want from a short few hours in the afternoon!

Friday, 15 September 2017

September 2017 Some of the local birds at Langley Hill

I had a great morning watching the local birds at Langley Hill this morning.  The conditions weren't brilliant so I am quite happy to get a few images.  At least I didn't have to get caught in any traffic queues!

Blue Tit

Coal Tit

Long Tailed Tit

Yellow hammer

Sunday, 10 September 2017

September 2017 Spotted Flycatcher before they leave our shores

This is the time of year when many of our breeding summer visitors to the UK leave us.  I always feel like I am going to miss them as they return to Africa for our winter.  Ah well hopefully we will soon start to see some of the winter thrushes visiting out shores Fieldfares and Redwings.  I will look forward to seeing Redstarts and Spotted Flycatchers next year and hope they have a safe journey across the Sahara.

Spotted Flycatcher
Have a safe journey, and I will look out for you next year!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

September 2017 A nice addition to my local patch a male redstart

I am getting quite a collection of species on my local patch and they are very special and are also very green as they require no travelling to see them.  This is a great addition at this time of year.  A male redstart along  the hedge where I have been watching a family of spotted flycatchers.  To me they behave quite similarly and wait on the foliage and dive on the ground to pick up insects.

Male Redstart

I am well pleased to welcome this addition to my patch.  What a beautiful bird.

Monday, 28 August 2017

August 2017 Snipe in close enjoying a juicy lunch.

Sometimes if you wait in a hide long enough you get lucky and what is normally a very shy bird comes in close and performs in front of you.  This snipe was amazing as it continued feeding within metres of the hide at Slimbridge WWT this morning.

Juicy Lunch

Keep your eye on the prize
It seemed quite oblivious to the camera shutter noise and just carried on feeding.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

August 2017 Roe Deer doing well.

I went for an early morning "Game Drive".  The Roe deer seem to be doing well and I saw two doe's with well grown young and also a group of 3 older doe's.  They are really peaceful animals and seem to be getting quite used to my Landover and that I mean them no harm.

Roe Deer
I really liked this image as she looked around before disappearing through the hedge.  Always a thrill to see and capture an image.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

August 2017 Great to see a family party of Spotted Flycathers today.

This is a bird that had gone missing from my local patch for a few years and I was beginning to feel like they were never going to return.  I had almost given up hope, and recall how common they were in my youth.  It is great to see a small family party of them today, and I have also read abut another group being reported locally.  Perhaps conditions have changed and they are now re-gaining numbers. I for one really hope so.

Spotted Flycatcher
 They are great to watch feeding.  They like to sit out on the upper and outer branches and often return to the same branch after the foray.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

August 2017 Two Wheatear passing through my local patch at Winchcombe UK

I am always amazed how regular birds are in their habits.  I am sure we had Wheatear last year at about the same time of year.  Now I have images with the dates I think it will be really interested to keep a record of when they arrive.  I will not be surprised if its within a few days each year.  I will definitely check next year.


I am always pleased to see them when they arrive and stay for a few days as they pass through.