Thursday, April 30, 2009


nothing I was pleased with on the Hobbies; it was a bit too hot and hazy with too much contrast on the underside of the birds and they were often not close enough -- a good reason for another visit to Lakenheath

Hobby and Hairy

not just the amazing ability to catch these winged wonders but the delicate way they prepare them for the table and consume them on the wing

Hairy Hawker

catching St Marks flies on a frequent basis; a good meal for a dragon

Cuckoo WH SW. G

nice to see and hear a couple of Cuckoos now painfully scarce locally; a couple of warblers and some nice lichen plus a Green Woody


had a first (recent years) visit to Lakenheath Fen yesterday in the sunshine; superb place and must go back -- first Golden Orioles of the year singing away, Bitterns booming, harriers galore and 19 Hobbies plus good numbers of Hairy dragons on the wing which was a bit of a surprise at this date -- a buck Roe deer here was one a a few seen early on

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grasshopper Warbler 6th time lucky

this morning the local patch gropper was at last very active and I soon found out why; after seeing him in wing waving display in the edge of the tidal reedbed it was pretty clear that a female was present but the adjacent male Sedge Warbler was particularly aggressive frequently attacking the singing male gropper and chasing it around the reedbed and up to 30m away; the male gropper sometimes flew back up to 5m in the air singing and vibrating in flight a most bizarre sight; the Sedge also attacked the female gropper and drove her out of the reedbed leaving the male gropper wandering around looking for the female; I returned in the evening and the action was still intense and there was also a second male singing nearby -- a selection of images below -- no flight shots! 

groppers 2

this was my sixth attempt at locating this bird (thanks to Mr Guillemot for initial info on the bird) -- the bird on the nettles is the female making a very brief appearance in the open; I like the top image where it is doing a woodpecker and hiding behind the reed stem

more groppers

I was hoping to get some backlit images but the sun went behind the cloud and when it reappeared the gropper was too low down to frame it against the sunset

polluters and sunset

it was a beautiful evening locally after the rain cleared but one large black cloud extended from south Yorkshire to the east coast courtesy of these chimneys (you know who you are) -- how pathetic that with modern technology we are still churning out billions of tons of rubbish into the atmosphere every week

Sunday, April 26, 2009

the Sedge Warbler challenge

since getting a digital SLR I have tried to capture song flighting Sedge Warblers on the patch each spring; it is a constant challenge; a fast flying small passerine, only in the air for a few seconds and moving erratically about in height and distance so the AF system on the camera has a real problem that is on the odd occasion when you can actually find the bird in the lens before it plummets back into the reeds; today for the first time I tried with the 1DIII plus 500f4 and 1x4 converter; for every shot with a bird in the frame of course there are 10 without and for every one in focus 20 that are not but this is a severe challenge; it does however produce just as good results in arm muscle development as an hour in the gym! 

challenge 2

finding a male that is doing frequent song flights in a limited area is part of the challenge; today I came across two birds that had bordering territories which is a good start but there was also a female, probably newly arrived, that was flitting between the two territories and causing all sorts of excitement leading to frequent song flights and hence a higher rate of shutter activiations

patch Wheatear

a bit of an arrival of Wheatears today included this bird on the favoured wharf rocks

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reed Warbler

as was conscious as I took a lot of Reed Warbler shots this morning that I was constantly looking for an image of the bird with no reeds across it and the bird out in the open but this is not usual and images showing the bird in its habitat complete with masking reeds may be just as revealing of the species and how we see it