Friday, 29 January 2010

Whooping close

The Drift Whooper Swan has attracted a fair deal of attention, not least that it is unbelievably confiding and that you can also get so whooping close to it.  This adult was just a few yards away.  Whooper Swans are not exactly common in Cornwall, but when they do appear, they are usually distant, ie the Stithians and Walmsley birds are normally 1/4 mile away!  So it's nice for once to be able to savour these close-ups.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Common Buzzard at Walmsley

I took this shot of a very hungry Buzzard in the fields leading to Walmsley hide.  From the high position of the road you could see the interest in the dead fox but from this lower angle it was out of sight.  The light wasn't brilliant hence the small aperture and low depth of field.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Obliging Cattle Egret

The long staying Cattle Egrets at Sennen obliged today with close views.  I guess this bird approached to within 20 yards.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Close and personal with the Drift Whooper Swan

A very confiding bird in stunning low afternoon sunshine.  Taken with 300mm lens.

Porth Reservoir specialities

Ad. male Ring-necked Duck above with female Tufted Ducks.   Porth Res. is a favoured location for Ring-necked Duck and many of the county's 60 or so records have been found here.  Below are three male and three female Goosanders which made a few fly-pasts but failed to settle.  Goosanders are scarce passage migrants and winter visitors to Cornwall.

Juv Spoonbills at Walmsley Sanctuary

The two juv Spoonbills were photographed today at Walmsley Sanctuary.  The black wing tips can just be seen.  There has been at least five in the Walmsley / Camel Estuary area.  We also saw two more adult birds today on the sanctuary, though were too distant for photography.

Friday, 22 January 2010

A Bittern day at Marazion

Two Bitterns showed today at Marazion Marsh, both around midday.  I was only expecting flight shots as these birds seem to take short sorties from one area to another.  The lower bird surprised me though as it appeared out of the reeds directly in front of the roadside viewing platform, and stayed there for about a minute in full view.

Text edited and updated 31st Jan:  This winter has been one of the best for Bitterns in Cornwall.  The full numbers present will become evident but at Marazion Marsh, up to five have been present (31st Jan), at Loe Pool, a minimum of two, probably four, one at Rospannel, one at Stithians, one at Par Beach pool, one at Porth Reservoir (31st Jan) and one at Swanpool are the records that I'm aware of.  Undoubtedly more are lurking undetected.

The images were taken with the 300mm F/2.8 lens and new TC3 aspherical 2x teleconverter, which seems to work well with this lens, but struggled to find focus with the 600mm!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Pallid Harrier images

The Cornish Pallid Harrier,present since at least early December when Roy Phillipps found it near Botallack, remains a thorn in my side!  I'm sure I will catch up with it soon, but for the time being, will treasure these images I took in Cyprus. There are four different birds below.  Pallid's are the commonest harrier to migrate through Cyprus and we never fail to catch up with them.  The ghostly males are truly stunning.

Monday, 18 January 2010

A pile of dung

I took this image yesterday at Brew Farm, Sennen, whilst watching the Cattle Egrets.  A huge pile of manure has been dumped in the field and the Redwings and Starlings seemed to like the smell of it.  The stinking pile, set against a plain green background attracted my attention as the Starlings continually visited this interesting venue.  I chose this image as the Redwing gazes towards the approaching Starlings.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Cattle Egret at Brew Farm, Sennen

These two Cattle Egrets can be found easily in the field adjacent to the farm house.  They can be viewed from the road and are close enough for some decent photo opportunities.  There are also hundreds of Redwing and a handful of Fieldfare in the same field, though I missed the three Ruff there today.

600mm lens with 1.4x TC.  Tripod mounted. Aperture priority.  ISO400. Exposure -0.7EV and dropped another 1/3rd stop in CaptureNX.

Penwith posers

These are a few shots taken in West Penwith today and last month.  The Redwing posed nicely from the road at Marazion today along with another 100 or so on the bank leading down to the marsh.  In west Cornwall, every suitable field seems to be holding three figure numbers of Redwing.  There must be hundreds of thousands in total in Cornwall.  The Chiffchaff and Oystercatcher were also taken at Marazion.  The Fieldfare was taken at Brew Farm, Sennen and the Black Redstart at St Gothians.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A severe case of thrush

Thrushes are everywhere, almost tripping over them on road verges, garden leaf litter and on any remaining berries they might be lucky to find.  Redwing is by far the commonest thrush and the tamest.  Mistle Thrush are around but still nervous and flighty and for some odd reason, I could not get close to any Fieldfare today.  The severity of the weather I fear will probably take its' toll on some of the Redwing.  Below are some images of the day including my daily footpath to work (Victoria Gardens, Truro).

The Robin and juv male Blackbird below were taken in my garden from the window this afternoon.  I was quite pleased with the Blackbird shot as the exposure can be really tricky when shooting blacks and whites.  I over exposed slightly to compensate the camera's natural tendency to darken down the bright white snow.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Poor start to the new year

This image of a drake Wigeon was taken at the watersports centre at Stithians Dam on Boxing Day.  The Wigeon flock feed on the grass fairly close to the road and I managed to take this shot from the car window with the 300mm F/2.8 lens.

The aperture was set to F/5.6 which gave a shutter speed of 1/1000s.  ISO was 400 and the exposure reduced to -0.7 EV in the bright morning sunlight.  Spot metering was selected to correctly expose the subject rather than the complete picture.

Why the poor start? Sadly, I won't be posting so many images for the next three months or so as an arm wrestling game at Christmas ripped my wrist ligaments.  With the arm in plaster and my inability to even lift the camera, one minutes' stupidity has cost me three months enjoyment.  I will just have to do my best as and when opportunities arise.