Some of my favourite photos

Sunday 31 May 2015

RSPB Rye Meads

We were very kindly invited to go to RSPB Rye Meads to see the Kingfishers.
The sun was burning down on us with a gentle breeze in the air.
RSPB Rye Meads is a great wetland reserve.
There are 10 different hides around the reserve including the Kingfisher hide, Otter hide and the Lapwing hide.
Whilst heading to the Kingfisher hide we stopped of at one of the other hides to see what birds were around. There were a large number including Gulls, Little Grebe, Redshank, Tufted ducks and nesting Coots.

Adult Little Grebe (My favourite) which is sometimes known as a Dabchick

Male and female Tufted duck
Further down the path we came across this Robin which was quite unafraid of us.

Once we reached the Kingfisher hide we realised how popular watching a Kingfisher is, as the hide was very busy.
The first thing we normally heard was a high pitch 'chee' followed by the bird appearing, with a fish in its beak, on one of the poles sticking out of the water.
After a few moments of the Kingfisher looking around it would fly into the hole in the artifical bank where it had its nest chamber. A Kingfishers nest can be up to a meter long.
When the Kingfisher came back out of its nest it flew back to the pole then dived into the water to have a quick wash. After doing this a couple of times the Kingfisher would fly away to collect another fish.
Both male and female were around feeding the young.

Muntjac on top of the Kingfisher bank.

Looking out from the Kingfisher hide I could see a couple of nest boxes on a pylon,  one of which was being used by a Kestrel.

Not a great photo but the only one with both Kingfishers together

When you first arrive in the reception, there is a TV screen that has a live feed to the Kingfisher bank. It was quite funny to see that this Heron decided the best place to sit was on top of the camera.

Black- headed gull

While we were at the RSPB nature reseve I got to talk to Tom Mason who gave me lots of useful hints and tips about wildlife photography.
A big thanks to Katy who invited us to RSPB Rye Meads, and spent the day showing us around.

Thursday 28 May 2015

BBOWT - photography course

 Yesterday, we visited Sutton Courtenay Environment Education Centre to do a photography course.
The sun was blazing, there were only a few clouds in the sky as well as a gentle breeze.
When we arrived we met Mark, a ranger for the centre, Paul and Corinne who were runnning the course.

On the way to the centre we saw this heron sat on an island in the middle of a pond in our village.

The first thing we did was played a game where we had to guide an adult round and position them to take the photo we wanted them to take, this involved moving their head, getting closer to the object and making sure the shadow wasn't in the way. It was to show us that the camera doesn't automatically know what we want it to take a photo of.

Metal dinosaur 
After the game we had half an hour to explore part of the site. We got taught to use the rule of thirds, they showed us examples in the BBC Wildlife Magazine, where the eyes of the animal were in the crossline of the top third. We also learnt that the eyes of animals are one of the most important things while taking a photo. An additional skill we learnt was to hold the button down half way to focus on the subject then you can move the camera slightly and it will still be in focus.

While we explored we saw two red kites, one of them was being attacked by a crow.

We got called back to be taught another skill. Macro. This involved gettting a close up picture of a small subject and it being in focus. We got taught to look at things in a different way or angle, also to not think of the obvious photo but the unusual one.
We then got half an hour to have a go at using our macro settings.

Brown Lipped Snail

Broad Bodied Chaser
Thick legged Flower Beetle (oedemera nobilis) on a buttercup

A jouvenile Leopard Slug

We had an hour to eat lunch and explore the whole site. We were watching the red kites when a bird of prey flew over our heads, we all thought it was too white to be a buzzard. We tried to take lots of detailed photos but as the air was so warm the bird rose with the thermals very high, extremely quickly. This is one of the photos we took.
When we went back to the base we talked to Mark and he said that there is a very pale buzzard who lives around this area who he sees often.

After the lunch break we had another game to pratice our stalking skills. The adults had to sit down with there eyes closed while the children had to creep up to them as close as they could and take a photo. 
My mum said it was amazing how loud the camera is when taking the lens cap off and turning around the screen, so we learnt to have the camera ready. Another skill we learnt was to move when there was other noise around, as my sister moved I moved, she got caught and I didn't. 

We also got a chance to see and take photos of some different types of newts. We were allowed to do this because Mark has a licence to handle newts.

Male Great Crested Newt

We then had another hour to practice all of skills together. We went to the grassland area of the reserve and took lots of photos of butterflies.

Common Blue

Grizzled Skipper

Another Common Blue

Beetle in the grassland

We witnessed, down by the pond a Broad Bodied Chaser layering her eggs while her partner guarded. 

 The Male Broad Bodied Chaser stayed on a particular stick while guarding the eggs, making it very easy for me to get a photo of him. - Also see better photo above

I had an amazing time at the reserve and can't wait for the Oxford festival of Nature where I am doing more activities with BBOWT.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

The Blackbirds have fledged - what an event

Yesterday the Blackbirds decided to leave their nest. The first couple going around mid morning.
They have been a handful ever since.
Around an hour after they went, mum found the first one trapped between the wall and the shed. It must has got up onto the 6ft high wall and toppled off.
Much to my dad's anger mum cut a small hole in the side of the shed to reach through and get it out.

We have quite a few rescue rabbits in runs in the garden. yesterday evening we found one of the fledglings in with two of the rabbits. They didn't seem bothered.

We could only see two of the fledglings this morning, but the others must be around in the garden because both parents keep disappearing under bushes and plants, and frantically gathering food from the feeder.
I can hear the fledglings calling and the adults doing their alarm calls everytime something goes near them.

Monday 25 May 2015

Saturday and Sunday

This was the Blackbirds nest on Sunday, as I write this, Bank Holiday Monday morning, 2 of them are hopping around on the ground being fed by the parents, I haven't looked, but as the parents are still going into the tree I think the other 3 must still be in or around the nest.

Cardinal bettle
Yesterday evening I could see these two young Muntjac out of my window.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of the back of this car - look in the red bucket.

The Great Spotted woodpecker is hogging the bird feeder over this weekend and stopping the other birds from coming near the food.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Hitchcopse pit BBOWT nature reserve

Hitchcopse pit is a BBOWT site not far from my house.
We mainly went over there because in Geography my class are looking at different types of rocks and on one of the cliffs here you can see examples of sedimentary rock layers.
I also wanted a go with our new GoPro
Hitchcopse pit is a disused sandpit with a pond in one corner.
The pond is full of wildlife such as tadpoles, birds and fish.
In the summer the whole area is full of butterflies and bees.
We sat on a rock for a while and watched the Red Kite over head and the Swallows diving down to drink from the pond.
At the far side of the pond there were two moorhens and two chicks.  


Long- tailed tit chick

Great tit chick

We took lots of videos but most them weren't clear due to the cloudy water except this one of Tadpoles