Friday, 20 July 2012
The past few days have been fantastic days for photography (certainly not the weather which continues to be miserable). On Monday, the weather forecast was particularly dull so I therefore opted for a day at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Reading so I could shelter in the hides during the heavy showers. The lakes were, unsurprisingly, completed flooded with no sign of any scrapes though surprisingly a Common Sandpiper and Oystercatcher were seen on the lake margins. Last week at the site an American Mink was reported destroying the Tern Rafts and to my amazement, when I left the Bittern Hide there he was on the footpath casually dragging away his prey (a very unlucky rabbit). He quickly ran off but obviously returned later on because the Rabbit was no longer on the footpath upon my return. I then went over to Lea Farm and en route I photographed a Grass Snake again found on the footpath. I then spent the next hour or so photographing the Common Terns conveniently posing on the perches 20 metres in front of the hides.
Sunday, 15 July 2012
Apologies for the highly cliché title but I couldn't think of anything better! Well as the original title suggests, today I went looking for Spotted Flycatchers at a Cemetery in Grazeley, near Reading. We arrived at around 10:00am to be told by a birder who had been on site for the past hour that there was no sign of them. He then departed and after 20 minutes of searching the cemetery and the local recreation ground (where they had been seen the night before) we too failed to find them. Now I presumed that the small patch of woodland adjacent to the Cemetrey had been checked, but I soon discovered that this was not the case and within 5 minutes of entering the woodland I was watching 2 families of Spotted Flycatchers (9 individuals in total). We watched the birds for the next couple of hours and they were almost permanently on show. The light was poor and the birds unfortunately often remained distant but I managed to get a couple of OK record shots. The area was surprisingly rich in wildlife with Kestrel, Buzzard and Red Kite all being seen along with my first Marbled White Butterfly of the year.
Friday, 13 July 2012
Welcome to my new blog! Hopefully this will allow me to be a little more flexible with my blog posts and include more photographs. Since breaking up from school (yay!) I have spent a great deal of time in my portable hide in the garden (to be honest the weather has restricted me from going much further afield!) As the weather has been so miserable I have been able to get a perfectly black background from one particular perch which I quite like. To ensure the birds spend long enough on the perch so I have the time to get the photographs I would like, food is hidden inside the perch, meaning the birds have to spend a few moments extracting the food. The sparrows were particularly poor at doing this and would spend minutes at a time on the perch allowing me to get the perfect set up. To ensure the background was solid black I had to (for the first time in ages!) use manual exposure as opposed to Aperture Priority, which took a lot of getting used to!