Sunday 30 January 2011

Drake Ring-necked Duck at St. Gothian Sands NR.

This handsome drake Ring-necked Duck was originally found at Stithians reservoir by Brian Mellow.  It then relocated itself at St Gothians on Wed 26th Jan (CCBarnard).  This ever improving site has proved popular with ducks during this winter: 26 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Scaup, Pochard, 84 Tufted Duck and of course the Ring-necked Duck.

Ring-necked Duck breeding habitat is wooded lakes in the northern United States and Canada. They overwinter in southern North America, usually in lakes, ponds, rivers or bays.

Ring-necked Duck is a rare but annual vagrant to Cornwall.  There are approximately 60 records.  Ten birds appeared in 2006 alone.

Sanderling poses in perfect winter light

Winter plumage Sanderlings are always a challenge when judging camera exposure, especially when set against a bright background.  I juggled between 0.0 and -0.3 at F/8.  ISO was 250 and shutter speed was averaging about 1/800s.  This bird was feeding quite close to the main resting area for large gulls so there are a lot of feathers in the sand.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Fieldfare in West Cornwall

Healthy numbers of winter thrushes can be found in fields in West Cornwall, especially Fieldfare.  These shots were taken yesterday in the Sennen area.

Bewick's Swans at Stithians Reservoir

Eight Bewicks Swans at Stithians reservoir represent the highest county total since 1999, when nine were recorded at Tresillian River.  Bewick's Swan are by no means annual in Cornwall, there being at least two absent years in the last ten.  (Farley Rice originaly found seven birds at Stithians with the eighth appearing later, possibly the bird from Porth Res.)

Eight Bewick's Swans; four juvs and four adults.

Dunlins at low tide in Mount's Bay

Winter plumage Dunlin with Purple Sandpiper in the background

Taken near Wherrytown beach

Sunday 16 January 2011

Duck images from the wild side of Slimbridge

The images below were all taken from the Rushy hide and South hide at Slimbridge.  They are all wild birds and not the pinioned captives.  The photo opportunities here are endless and I would recommend a visit.  If you haven't visted Slimbridge recently, you may be surpised about all the improvements here.

Drake Gadwall

Pintail, drake and duck paired up.

Common Pochard, drake.

Tufted Duck, drake.

Bewick's Swan at Slimbridge

These Bewick's Swan shots were taken last Sunday on my way to Norfolk.  Sunday was the only day last week for good photographic light, so as you can imagine, I filled my boots!  Bewick's Swan is an endangered species with numbers of cygnets seriously down on previous years.  The reasons for this are being investigated by the WWT but essentially climate change is thought to be one of the main reasons.  Additionally, breeding habitats are being steadily worn away by development and the birds are also targets for illegal hunters.  At Slimbridge, a peak of 610 was counted on one day alone in January 1979, but now about 300 appear each winter.  On my visit, a count of 316 was made.

Various wildfowl from Norfolk

These images of various wildfowl were taken last week on a short trip to Norfolk.

Black Brant at Cley, centre rear bird.  The white flanks and large white collar of this adult showed well.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese, part of a flock of 300+ birds at Cley

Egyptian Geese near Titchwell.

Family party of Whooper Swans at Welney WWT.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Pink feet at Holkham and Cley

Pink-footed Goose is the commonest goose in North Norfolk and they are everywhere.  Thousands upon thousands spread across the entire coast.  You even wake up in the morning to their calls as they fly to their feeding grounds.  Wintering geese are the main attraction to Norfolk in the winter and the next couple posts will feature them.  Compared to our one solitary wintering pink-foot in Cornwall, you cannot be anything but impressed by the sights and sounds here. 

(This bird is known as three rings pinky)

This image is about a quarter of the flock!

Barn Owl in North Norfolk

I took these shots yesterday whilst on a short birding break in North Norfolk.  I was surprised how common they are with eight birds seen in the Burnham Overy Staithe area alone.  This one was hunting along a deep drain late in the afternoon at eye level.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Purple Sandpipers pose in Mounts Bay, Cornwall

There are up to fifty Purple Sandpipers in varying sites around Mounts Bay.  I took these shots last week at Newlyn, just below the Tolcarne Inn.  They can be really tricky to photo as they are such busy little waders but these posed just nicely for the lens.

EXIF detail:  Aperture: F/8.  Shutter 1/200s.  Exposure +o.3EV.  ISO 400.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Sanderling on Newlyn beach

I took these shots on Friday last week on a very low tide at Newlyn.  Sanderlings make good subjects and they always create headaches when judging exposure settings.  I took about a hundred shots, most of which I was pleased with.  These two below were shot at +1.0 EV, Aperture F/7.1, Shutter 1/800s.

Sunday 2 January 2011

Adult Waxwings in gift-passing ceremony

Intriguing gift-passing behaviour was noted today as two adult Waxwings passed food to each other.  In BWP v.5, page 498, there are some exact illustrations showing what has been photographed below.  The female is the lower bird accepting the berry.  It is fairly obvious that there is some serious pair bonding happening.  After reading the text and then re checking the photo's, it seems that many of the images are actually showing other forms of ritual bonding, eg, the erect crest of the male, fluffing of the breast feathers, fluffing and ruffling the rump feathers, extended neck, the female quivering her wings and the pair sidling along the branch towards each other.   The lower photo shows the male ruffling his rump as she preens. 

(The berry passing images were taken by Brian Mellow through my camera and 300mm lens).