Saturday, 27 February 2010

Drift Black-neck


The Black-necked Grebe has been present at Drift Reservoir for the last month and seems content to spend its' winter in the west arm of the dam, often allowing close approach.  This bird seemed more curious than shy at a cosy ten yards distance and allowed some relaxed photography.

Black-necks are regular winter visitors to Cornwall with the preferred wintering population location being Carrick Roads.  Flocks of 50 plus have been recorded here in the past, but this year no more than a couple handfuls.  The River Fal complex is indeed an important UK site and holds one the more dense wintering populations.  In recent years, the Newlyn area has attracted a couple individuals and it's conceivable that this Drift bird may be one of those returning to the area.  Elsewhere in Cornwall, Black-necked Grebe is fairly scarce.


These shots were taken with the 300mm F/2.8 and 1.4x Teleconverter, tripod mounted.  Aperture F/5.6.  Shutter 1/1600s.  Exposure: Centre weighted +0.3EV. White Balance cloudy. ISO250. Focal length 420mm.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Slimbridge specials

This group of images are the final post from duck city.  The previous posts mainly show wild birds whereas this post shows captive birds.  Nevertheless, they are still glamourous and retain all the character of genuine wild fowl.  For the budding bird photographer, the opportunities for practice are endless.

The chances to experiment with camera exposure and shallow depth of field are endless.  All of these shots are unmanipulated except for some minor cropping.  Spot metering has been used so that the exposure has been taken from the subject. 

The pair of Canvasbacks below show a very low depth of field so that the eye and head is in focus but all other parts of the photo are out of focus creating the "bokeh" effect.  To me this is the most attractive way of presenting wildlife. (IMHO!).









Monday, 15 February 2010

On golden pond

Continuing with the winter duck theme, this absolutely splendid and proud male Goldeneye was doing his absolute best for Valentine's Day.  No special lover's card or chocolates, this glamour boy just oozed Bucephalic testosterone.

The play continued for about a minute and I just managed to capture some of the scene.  The act is over in a split second and I missed the water spraying, but managed to catch these actions. 

Was she worth it?  She looks pretty bored and bemused with it all.  It least it didn't cost him anything!

Nikon 300mm F/2.8 and 1.4 x TC.  Tripod and gimbal mounted.  JPEG Fine file, Aperture F/7.1 Exposure EV-0.7  ISO200.  Shutter 1/800s.  White Balance Cloudy.  Centre weighted metering.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Drake Gadwall

I took these shots of a drake Gadwall at WWT Slimbridge.  The reserve is simply stunning for both wild and captive birds and if anyone needs photo practice, this must surely be the place to visit.  I reckon a week here would just about scratch the surface. The amount of new work and site improvement going on here is staggering. 

Over the next few days/weeks I will share some of the best images.  Most will be wild birds but I couldn't resist some of the more exotic wildfowl.  To be continued...


All of the images were taken with D3x, 300mm F/2.8 and 1.4x TC, all tripod mounted.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

One year ago - wrecked Little Gulls in the big storm

Who can forget that massive storm which battered Cornwall last year?  I was trawling through some of my library images and came across these shots and was surprised to find it was a full year ago.  These Little Gulls (and one juv ridibundus for the sharp eyed) were taken at Wherrytown, Penzance.

I just happened to  be lucky to jam into this flock of about 20 (from memory).  The most birds in one image was the seven of varying ages below.

By the afternoon, when the wind died down, just one Little Gull remained so I was lucky to get these images.

Iceland Gull

A juvenile Iceland Gull has been sighted at Sennen Cove in the last few days.  February is prime time for migrating gulls in Cornwall and rarities can always be found with some perserverence and time.  This juv Iceland was taken at Newlyn in exactly the same week last year.  I took these shots last year but didn't publish them all at the time.





All the images were taken with a Nikon D3 and 300mm lens, tripod mounted.