Wednesday 30 November 2016

Venus Pool - Pintail

As is to say.... "why does that Yank with a stripe get all the attention? I couldn't resist a few images of this pristine male Pintail, encouraged to feed closer due to the ice.....

Here you go then, this is one showy local :-)

Whichever way he turns?

Close enough to allow a decent crop.....

Ignore the everyday bird at your peril.....

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Trench Pool - flighty Velvet Scoter!!

Trench Pool is probably more popular with fishermen than birders but it does have a history of producing good birds on occasions and today was no exception! Just as well Dave Tromans decided to walk his dog the previous day and found this 1st winter male Velvet Scoter.... Well done!

I couldn't get over the previous day and with the car in for a service, luckily I'd got a courtesy car :-)

It was favouring the North bank but a close approach there meant shooting into the sun. I opted for record shots at distance in decent light....


A few more opportunities were created by dog walkers however! Every time one came close, the Scoter would take off.....

and fly out into the middle of the pool.....

Quicker to post a composite series rather than agonise over which to delete!

A quirky head on landing shot!

But perhaps my favourite? Banking shots are always a lovely angle to catch!

Keep em coming!!! Long-tailed Duck, Bean Goose x 6, Green-winged Teal, and now Velvet Scoter.... The Shire is the place to be right now  (with the deflector shields down??!)

Saturday 26 November 2016

Venus Pool - Green-winged Teal showing well!

Day 3 now for the Green-winged Teal and it really is turning out to be 'hard work' - especially if a decent image is the objective! It has a habit of sleeping (usually on the back of an island) during the day with distant views when it does decide to appear!

I can be quite patient in situations like this and having had the morning off, I was prepared to give it the whole afternoon! And I had to!! It was 3.25 when my luck changed......

Much closer than I'd  previously encountered!

And walking towards me on terra firma :-)

After a bit of a feed, posing nicely!

A transatlantic encounter....

It nearly came to an end after a short flight, luckily landing close by......

And paddling into a nicely lit patch of water!

It's not exactly 'feather detail'......

But a huge improvement on previous opportunities!!

I think I'll probably have to settle for that?

Friday 25 November 2016

Venus Pool - Pink-footed Goose

You get to appreciate birds which aren't 'the norm' in Shropshire. Pink-footed Geese may be present in their 1,000s in North Norfolk for instance and you tend to concentrate your thoughts on the overall spectacle of large flocks, not always savouring the individual birds. In a typical Shropshire winter, apart from the odd skein seen overhead on migration, the norm is for occasional ones or maybe twos to turn up with the local geese! They stand out from the crowd of Greylags and Canadas - something to focus on!

Like this individual, latching onto the Greylag flock at Venus Pool.  You sense it's probably amongst the hordes just flown so you give them a good grilling and yes, there you are......

And despite (or because of) the smaller size, it does stand out from the crowd!

The  high contrast of shade and  late afternoon directional sun made this a tricky exposure encounter too! Either on the deck?

Or on the water!

And this one did drift close enough for some adventurous crops.

Or even close ups!

The Green-winged Teal was still there today but playing hide and seek!

I have plenty of patience however and  a closer encounter will happen before long?

Thursday 24 November 2016

Venus Pool - Green-winged Teal!!

With so many ducks and geese around, it's good to set your expectations high and whilst I was hoping for an American Wigeon, this adult drake Green-winged Teal was next best (and most likely to turn up at Venus Pool)! I picked it up in the south east corner from the main hide, then nipped to the Memorial hide to get a bit closer? It was still a fair way off but at least a few record shots were possible.....

I don't know when I've seen a more striking white bar?! Monster!!

A fifth record for the County, almost certainly a patch tick for all concerned as the last GW Teal here was back in 1996!!

And, hot on the heels of the Belvide youngster, nice to knowTWO Green-winged Teals in the local area!

What a shame I missed the best of the afternoon too when it showed closer....  I had to dash away to get ready for a talk. Oh well, tomorrow is looking to be a cracking day!

Friday 18 November 2016

Chelmarsh res - Tundra Bean Geese x 6!!!

If anywhere is likely to turn up a mega in Shropshire, then Chelmarsh reservoir is a top venue but you have to put the hours in!! And then get lucky :-) Martyn Owen certainly puts the hours in and his just reward was getting lucky, finding these six Tundra Bean Geese who had latched onto a 100+ flock of Greylags plus a Barnacle (whatever the origin) as well......

I only had a short while to get there (plus John Reeves soon after) and luckily we got decent scope views up the right hand bank (some 400m away) as viewed from the causeway. So.... whilst digiscoping rules in these situations, here's the best I could do.... a record shot of all six and believe you me this took some time to get all six facing the right way and not in the midst of the flock!

I'm almost loath to post this shot but it does show all six again (three tightly together) flying off (miles away!!) with the Greylags a few minutes later!

An amazing record for the County, can't believe there has been a better count? Lets have a Taiga next,  a Smew or something even better :-)

The moon +/- Supermoon

The recent 'supermoon' seemed to be capturing everyone's attention and whilst I wasn't personally blown away with the increased 'apparent' size, there was no disputing the increase in brightness! Cloudy skies (for me) on the 14th, when it was full, meant I had to settle with images before and after. All were taken with the 500m lens plus 1.4 extender.....

Here it is on 12th November 2016

And on the 16th November 2016

And finally this evening 18th November 2016. Still shining brightly!

I photograph the moon quite often and the main difference seemed to be the brightness of crater walls!