Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Quick update.

I couldn't resist visiting the Hornets nest again, but this time I took the spotting scope with me. It's was amazing watching them though the scope. The Hornets were very active fanning and protecting the nest entrance.

Quite often, a Hornet would leave the nest carrying something in its mouth. I'm not sure what they are removing from the nest? It could be wax plugs from pupal cells, or wood excavated from the tree to allow nest expansion. I wouldn't of thought the nest would be extended at this time of year as Hornets don't survive over the winter. Only new fertilised queens will hibernate through the winter months and emerge in the spring to establish a new colony.

Light was still an issue for photography, so I decided to try and phonescope a bit of video footage of the Hornets around the nest.


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Local Catch-Up

Plenty going on around the locality, but nothing new bird wise seen on the patch. There are Wagtails moving through, with many Pied, and a few Grey being seen along the river Tame.

On the moors, Kestrels are showing well, there are some large Linnet flocks about, and starlings are starting to flock together at dusk. Tawny's are regularly heard establishing territories, and Pete has seen a Barn Owl.

Some of the weeks sunsets have been stunning. I can't do them justice with the camera.

I have discovered some well used Badger latrines in one of the areas I walk, and this has again stirred my interest in observing these denizens of the night. I hope to see some of the Badgers soon. To be honest I am becoming a bit preoccupied with the Badgers and watching them. Ultimately, I would like to get some pictures, but I don't want to use flashes, I want to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Saturday started with me being by the badger sett before sunrise hoping to maybe glimpse a badger on its return from a nights foraging. No such luck.


Home for a cuppa, then out again for a wander in the woods.


Autumn's here.


I still find it difficult to walk past a Robin without pointing a camera at it.

And finally, a Hornet nest in the morning sunshine. The Hornets were all crowded around the nest entrance fanning their wings to regulate temperature inside the nest.

I may revisit these Hornets in better lighting conditions, and try for some better pictures.




Sunday, 14 September 2014

RSPB Middleton - Stonechat

A visit to RSPB Middleton on Saturday afternoon with a plan. I hoped to see the Curlew Sandpiper that had been there most of the week, and I hoped to cross paths with a Stonechat and try to phonescope it. They make a great subject and often pose for a picture.

Heading straight for the Jubilee Wetland area the Curlew Sandpipers were soon located, also three Ruff and a Snipe were in the same area. So, with the Curlew Sands seen, it was off to try and find a Stonechat.

On route, we observed a Hobby feeding on the wing. Jon and I discussed what a great sight it is to see a Hobby gliding overhead while feeding on a captured Hawker Dragonfly. It really is an impressive sight.

As we walked along the electric fence, up popped a Stonechat and perched obligingly to be photographed. I set up the scope, attached the phone with the Novagrade adapter, and took a few pictures.

So, both reasons for my visit had been achieved, with some very interesting bonus birds along the way. As usual, time flew by at Middleton RSPB, always a sign of an interesting visit.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Canon SX40 HS

I have waited patiently for the rumoured Canon SX60, and still no announcement. I have been a very happy owner of the SX40 for two years now. I resisted the upgrade to the SX50, but now hope a September announcement from Canon for a new superzoom to replace the SX50 is on the horizon. If not, my patience may just have ran out. I am a Canon devotee when it comes to bridge cameras, but they are being left behind by the competition and need to pull out the stops and get back on top of the game here.

Anyway, the trusty SX40 captured a few Spotted Flycatcher pictures at the weekend. This has been the best year locally for Spot Flys I have known.



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Local evening walks.

It's been a decent week so far, considering I returned to work on Monday after a great summer holiday.

Monday evening, I had a Garden Warbler and a Redstart on an area of my patch I haven't seen either at before. A nice result.

Tuesday evening, I encountered several Spotted Flycatchers. I have seen plenty in the locality this year, more than I have seen in any previous years in fact. A lot have been juveniles, it's good to see they seem to have had a successful breeding year. Talking of successful years, there seems to be a few more local Hares evident now the crops have been harvested.

Hare laying tight in its form.

I also discovered this interesting looking Fungi on the base of an Oak tree.

As I had the scope with me and was out later than expected, I couldn't resist a moon shot on my way back across the fields.

An Autumn Moon - Waxing Gibbous


Wednesday, Pete and I set out looking for a reported local Whinchat. On route we encountered a young Fox dead at the side of the lane. Clipped by a car maybe?

We soon located the Whinchat, it was perched bolt upright as Chats do on some fence posts. It occasionally flew to the top of a Hawthorn tree, then back to the fence line. I cursed the fact I had decided to leave my scope at home! I could have got some great Phonescoped shots. Typical!

I did however have my camera with me. In the low light a high ISO was needed, so this is the best I could manage.

Finally, on the way back to the car, we discovered another oak tree with fungi.

sulphur shelf, chicken of the woods

It's been an interesting week so far, I hope the trend continues.

Update........ Thursday. Went looking for the Whinchat again and took my scope hoping to phonescope it. Typically, there was no sign of it! Never mind, light values were very poor for phonescoping this evening. I did see some more Spotted Flycatchers though. These are the best pictures I could manage in the dull conditions.