Some of my favourite photos

Tuesday 24 February 2015

Birds of prey

At the beginning of February I finally got a picture of the ring on the Buzzards leg that I had been trying to take for ages.
I emailed Euring with the details and I had some information back from BTO today.
H3 was ringed as a nestling on 22nd June 2013 at 16.30 at Hampton Estate, Seale in Surrey.
This means that my local Buzzard has travelled 72km from where it was born.
I have been trying to remember how long this Buzzard has been around my local patch and I am sure it's around 18 months.

It has been very windy in the last few days and I have watching this Kestrel trying to hunt.
It spends about 5 minutes hovering then sits on a fence post for a few minutes before trying again. It has to work hard to stay in the sky against the wind.

 Not a great photo, but after about half an hour the Kestrel actually caught something. It looks like a shrew, vole or mouse.

Thursday 19 February 2015

The Outdoor adventure show and half term

Last Saturday we went up to London to The Outdoors adventure and Dive shows at The Excel Centre, London
I got to listen to two professional wildlife photographers talk about their experiences, their jobs and their photography.
Both talks were amazing and very inspirational. It was interesting to hear how they take photos, why they take the photos they take and how to take better photos, as well as their views on the feeding of wild animals and photographing captive animals.
Andrew Parkinson and Neil Aldridge both motivated me to get out more.
I was amazed at how long they spent focusing on one subject where as I take photographs of what I see when I see it, except the badgers, which I do spend time with.
My new task for myself is to spend more time with each animal on my local patch getting to know it better, know more about it's behaviour and habitat so that I can take more interesting photos.

It would take too long to explain all the hints and tips that I learnt during the two talks, some were quite technical and other were simple like wearing dark gloves so that your fingers don't show up against your dark clothes and dark camera and startle the animal or bird.

I would jump at the chance to hear both Neil Aldridge and Andrew Parkinson speak again.

These are some of the photos I have taken during half term.

H3's mate

Roe deer sat on the badger sett.

Me looking out over my patch.

This sort of failed, I wanted to get the plane and goose in the same part of the photo.

Monday 16 February 2015

Local starling murmurations

After one of my mums friends telling me where to find and film Starlings quite close to my house we decided to put a evening aside to go and see them.
We arrived at about 4:30pm and waited half an a hour before they started.
They slowly built up into a giant mumuration.
 The amount of Starlings was unbelievable. 
Everytime they swept from one side to the other another large group joined in.
It was hard to imagine how many starlings there might have been.
At about 5:30pm, when we left, it was getting too dark to film but they were still going.

As well as the Starlings there was a wide variety of birds such as Grebes, Herons, Cormorants and Egrets.

The island on the lake had a large roost of Cormorants. I have never seen such a large number of Herons roosting together.
Roosting Herons, Cormorants and Egrets

Friday 13 February 2015

One night in the secret life of badgers

The first badger arrived around 8.00pm and fed alone until about 9pm. This is the one behind the tree. At 9.08pm a badger with a limp turned up. It seems to be stiff on its left hind leg. 
The first badger has a quick go at the second badger, then appears more interested in scratching than chasing it away.

First badger to arrive on the scene

In this second clip the first badger has an accomplice, come from the entrance hole on the left, to see off the badger with the limp. There is quite a stand-off.

This badger with odd marking all over its forehead appeared for a short while. I have seen this badger before further back in the wood and at the time I thought its face was covered in mud, but now I am beginning to think it is its markings.

This is yet another different badger who has a look down the entrance hole only to be scared off, by the two owners.

The badger with only one eye hangs about with the two badgers that come from the hole on the left.

In some of the films my trail camera captured (over 50 of them) there were some lovely scenes of these three badgers mutually grooming each other. They spend ages washing each others backs and head bumping.

The badger that comes across from the right at the end of this clip is definitely feeding some cubs. Have a look at her tummy!

Here they are grooming until one of them scent marks on the other two. Yuck

The patch just to the left of the tree and above the entrance hole was a place that was scent marked at least twenty times during the night, both by passing badgers and the ones that live there.

Scent marking

Thursday 12 February 2015

Spring is coming

Spring is definitely on the way!
The badgers are clearing out nesting material, while all the birds seem to be in pairs, the blackbirds, the magpies, the pigeons and doves.
The Jawdaws are taking nesting material down the neighbours chimney pot and the rooks can be seen flying across the field with twigs in their beaks.
The primroses along the bank of the stream are starting to grow and the shoots of the bluebells are poking out of the ground.

This Great tit looks like it has a tick under its eye.

Kestrel was in its normal resting spot



Hazel catkins

Blue tit drinking out of the bird bath

Sunday 8 February 2015

On the allotment

Took a walk up to the allotment this morning, it was very cold, but the sun was shining.
On the way I saw my first bumble bee of the year. I also saw another one later in the afternoon when we got back home.

There was quite a large group of Yellowhammers in the trees.

Over the field and making quite a lot of noise were around 8 skylarks. They were chasing each other around in pairs. I took about 20 photos, but they are very fast little birds.  Although this photo isn't very clear  I like it because if you look really carefully the bottom bird is upside down and it looks like the top bird has the bottom birds foot in it's beak.

This Red Kite spends a lot of it's time over the allotment, either sitting in a tree watching or circling. I did see it dive down once today. A couple of days ago there were two of them and you could hear them calling their mating call.

The nearby trees are full of these Linnets.

We have a fox on the allotment, a neighbour told us the fox is normally around first thing in the morning.
The trail camera just managed to catch an image of the end of it's tail last night. (left hand side of photo)

It was interesting to see this mole at work. My dad filmed it on his phone.

Friday 6 February 2015

Mission Impossible, not impossible - Buzzard

A while ago I wrote a blog called "Misson Impossible - Buzzard" where I spotted that my local Buzzard has a ring on its leg and I was determined to get close enough to be able to read it.
We have spent the last few months getting to know where this Buzzard and its mate hang out during the day and roost in the evening, where they hunt, where they sit in the sun and where they hide when it is windy. 
Finally whilst on a walk we noticed the Buzzard in a tree eating something. It was so engrossed in eating that it took no notice of us.

After taking some photos we managed to creep closer and get some more.

Can't work out what it is eating, 

After the Buzzard had finished eating it wiped its beak against the tree branch over and over again.

As you can see the ring is green and got H3 on it.
I have reported it to Euring and they replied that they will hopefully be able to give me some information about my local Buzzard.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Odd mixture of things during the week

These two Deers are letting me get closer and closer every day.
They have a routine and I can find them at certain times of the day in certain places. At the moment they are spending the afternoon where they can sit in the sunshine.
I always seem to get a photo of the larger deer licking its's lips, could this mean it's stressed when it sees me? Like a dog, as they like their lips when they are stressed

We have spent quite a bit of time at our new allotment over the weekend and this little Robin has become very friendly and likes to folow us around.
During our time at the allotment I have also seen 2 Red kites circle just overhead hunting for prey, a Green woodpecker which flaps from allotment to allotment in search for food and lots of blackbirds pecking at the fallen apples on the floor in the orchard.
As well as a Buzzard, a kestrel and lots of rooks.
In the field behind the allotment, gulls spent all day flying above the ploughed field in search for food.

The field behind our allotment

These goldfinches visit our garden a couple of times a day, there are normally between 20 and 30 of them. I like how they all face into the wind and puff up their feathers..
They make quite a lot of noise as they settled down in the evening

A large group of Lapwings unexpectied flew over our garden earlier in the week