Monday 31 December 2012

Image of 2012

No surprises really - one of the best UK birds of the year and one of those shots you hope to see on the camera back after firing a burst (but rarely manage!!)

Here's one last look at the New Brighton Little Swift...  Farewell 2012 :-)

....and here we go with 2013. Happy New Year and a great birding year to everyone!

Friday 28 December 2012

Priorslee Lake - Scaup

Sometimes you see him, sometimes you don't but the drake Scaup was showing well today late afternoon, off the dam wall.

Nice to end up on a 'round figure' and 160 species in Shropshire for the year can't be bad even though a few species I'd normally see got missed. Oh well, 2013 is another year! :-)

Image of 2012 (final poll)

Here are a final 'Top Twenty' selections, a few favourite pictures of mine (in no particular order) taken during 2012. This includes the top three Shropshire birds - congratulations to the Red Grouse or Curlew which tied and Common Redstart close behind. I've also added a late entry Common Buzzard!
You will find an voting box to the right, to keep things simple, check the FIVE pictures you like most! (click thumbs to open a larger image) FIVE votes maximum only please! (Only one voter is possible per PC sorry!)

I will let this poll run until December 31st and then YOUR No 1 Picture of the Year will be declared on New Years Day....

Have a fantastic Christmas and here's wishing everyone great birding in 2013!

Picture 1 - Red Grouse - Longmynd (January)

Picture 2 - Short-eared Owl - Northants (January)

Picture 3 - Curlew - Venus Pool (April)

Picture 4 - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - Cheshire  (April)

Picture 5 - Common Redstart - Venus Pool (April)

Picture 6 - Long billed Dowitchers - Shapwick Heath (April

Picture 7 - Roller - Aldbrough  (June)

Picture 8 - Arctic Tern - Farne Islands (June)

Picture 9 - Puffin with sand eels - Farne Islands (June)

Picture 10 - Puffin  - Farne Islands (June)

Picture 11 - Fulmar - Farne Islands (June)

Picture 12 - Least Sandpiper  - New England (May)

Picture 13 - Rose-breasted Grosbeak - New England (May)

Picture 14 - Little Swift - New Brighton (June)

Picture 15 - White-tailed Eagle - Mull  (July)

Picture 16 - Mediterranean Gull - Mumbles (September)

Picture 17 - Black Redstart - Pennard (November)

Picture 18 - Waxwing - Ruthin (November)

Picture 19 - Waxwing - Wrexham (November)

Picture 20 - Common Buzzard - Venus Pool (December)

Sunday 23 December 2012

Buff-bellied Pipit!!

An early start - It had to be done - after today there were to be NO more open days at Queen Mother's reservoir until the New Year! So here, taking a brief rest after feeding up on small insects after it's transatlantic passage, is the mega of the moment.....

It wasn't going to give itself up to the camera easily though! After driving 150 miles, there were just two formidable obstacles to breach - a moat and a steel barrier!

I made it through and parked up with the dozen or so cars and after an initial flog around the perimeter, we were told to return and move them to the higher car park! Oh well, it was no show for the first two hours and with 3 miles of concrete wall with the Pipit possibly tucked up under it, not an automatic find!

Eventually, after checking out the sailing club area with another birder, I spotted the tell tale sign of a gallery on the South Shore - a good mile away! Best foot forward then.....

What seemed like an eternity of relentless straight line walking ended up with .....

Nice head on pose, not easy as it was (normally) constantly on the move catching very small insects!

Lining up another one.....

It was outrageously close on occasions!

Almost like a bird in the hand!

Which is worth two on a tussock?

It moved about quite a bit early afternoon and eventually ended up at the sailing club.

Low angle shots were possible from the walkway here, despite the gloom! Reflected light from the water or foam brought the buff underparts into their true colouration....

Eventually the light decreed it was not worth any more photography so I called it a day at 3.00.

 Just the exit moat to overcome now!

Saturday 15 December 2012

Venus Pool - Buzzard raids the freezer!

It's funny how little twists of fate step in! I was leaving a dismal VP when I decided to quickly check the memorial hide (back aching, I didn't even have my camera with me!) A couple of photographers were snapping away....

Hmm, the juv Buzzard was having an early Christmas dinner! The Goose (Canada) had indeed come early, having been stowed away in the VP freezer all week!

You might not like to admire these before your Christmas dinner, I haven't cropped too much :-)

Standing guard - this is miiiiine!

Getting stuck in (literally) ...

The grisly identification of the kill...

Feathers with some tasty morsels attached!

And don't ask what this is!

Eventually, the Buzzard had clearly eaten enough and simply stood 'on guard' again. I knew what was coming next, the shot I was waiting for.... problem was - which way would he fly?? And when!

For about 15 minutes I waited. Eye glued to the viewfinder, constantly trying to detect the moment of departure. Then finally......


The light was awesome, the Buzzard flying so close....  I opted for a dramatic crop here .....

Before veering away....

A couple of wing flaps

And gone!