Thursday, 31 March 2016

A Few Pictures from the Canon G3X

On Tuesday a friend and I visited Leighton Moss RSPB. Soon after arrival we had a couple of very heavy downpours that looked like they could set in for the day. I took my Canon G3X along with the intention of putting it through its paces with some shots at full zoom. All these pictures are at least full optical zoom (x25) and some go to the far end of the “fine” digital zoom. (x50)



Then fortune smiled and around lunch time the skies brightened and it remained dry for the rest of the day. It was a little quieter bird wise than in previous visits, but still a very enjoyable day.

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At times, the Sun shone through and we enjoyed views of Marsh Harrier hunting over the reedbeds. 



Since I last visited the Skytower has opened. It was still under construction last time I was there. It’s an impressive structure offering great view over the roadbeds.

Click on picture below for link to Skytower information.


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A picture from the top of the Skytower handheld, into the maximum “Fine” digital zoom range. (x50)


The day ended with a Spotted Redshank in front of Lillian’s Hide and we headed back to the Midlands. I always look forward to a Leighton Moss visit and no doubt will be back there in the not too distant future.


Friday, 25 March 2016

From Dusk till Dawn

This isn’t an account of a 90’s vampire movie (it is a great movie though), but more an account of how my time outdoors has been spent. Late night wanderings after work when time permits and some very early mornings when I can manage them.

As I fininished work for the Easter break I decided to put the time to good use. Good Friday morning and I was out in the fields at around 4.30am. I decided to look in on one of the badger setts and stay there until the light levels increased slightly. Then I had a few spots I wanted to check for foxes and Hares. I have yet to see my first local Hare of 2016.

I arrived in the badger area before 5.00am and hung around until around 5.30am. No sign of the badgers. I have a trail camera set not far away and collected the SD card as I passed it. It showed there had been plenty of activity from both foxes and badgers during the night/early hours, but nothing since 4.00am.



I left the area as light values began to increase. I headed back to the car and moved onto a new area in hope of seeing a local Hare. Last year, locally was one of the best for Hares I can remember. This year I’m still waiting to see one. I parked and set off to look over areas that had provided good sightings last year. The full moon was still visible, but dawn was not far away.

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I sighted a fox and followed it for a couple of fields. As light values improved I attempted a couple of record shots. I struggled for a decent shutter speed in the low light.



I may not of seen any badgers this morning, but three foxes later, I wasn’t disappointed with the mornings mooch. All foxes seen were dog foxes. I expect they are hunting for the family, with the vixens denning with the young cubs. I managed to follow one of the foxes carrying what looked like a rabbits hind quarters to an area that l believe its vixen is denned in. I lost sight of it quickly once it entered this area. I didn’t want to disturb them, so moved on. Still no Hares though!

Once the Sun properly appeared, it turned out to be a classic bright spring morning. I heard some geese calling in flight behind me and turned to identify the strange whistling that I could also hear. Two Canada geese passed by calling as expected, a white goose accompanied them making a higher pitched whistling call as it flew. I soon lost sight of them.

There were quite a few Yellowhammers sitting on hedge tops calling and I tried to get a few pictures.


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I decided to head back towards the car as I was feeling the need to put my feet up with a hot coffee, on route I encountered the geese I had seen in flight earlier, the white goose being very easy to spot grazing in the field.

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Finally, a Raven displaying over some distant tree tops made me think it was indeed, a very Good Friday!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A Mixed Bag

Since I last updated this page I have been spending a lot of time out and about in the hours of darkness. After work walks and very early mornings, before there is sufficient light to take photographs. I have been watching badgers, foxes and looking for owls.

I have seen all of the above with four different Barn Owls sighted, two Tawny Owls seen and plenty of calling Tawny Owls heard.



I have been walking stretches of our local rivers looking for signs of Otters, but nothing to report on that front. The rain and subsequent flooding experienced at the beginning of March soon put a stop to that and left large areas of the surrounding fields and countryside under water as the rivers burst their banks.

Just before the floods hit I decide to try my hand at catching a Chub from a particularly good looking stretch of the river Anker that Pete and I had walked. It looked an ideal Chub habitat and I haven’t had the urge to try for any species of fish for a long time. I spent a couple of hours on a cold but bright Sunday afternoon and hooked and landed a Chub. It’s easy to overlook the wildlife below the surface of our waterways while out appreciating the more obvious plants and creatures.

While plotting the downfall of this “Chevin” and waiting patiently for it to happen, I enjoyed the aforementioned more obvious critters as three Kingfishers flashed up and downstream, a Little Grebe fished opposite me and my first Grey Wagtail of the year showed off it’s colorful plumage as it bobbed up and down on the far bank rocks.

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This morning, Pete and I went on our usual Saturday morning walkabout, and the highlights were a small flock of Siskin feeding well in some Alder trees and this Little Egret fishing along the bank of the river Tame.

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