Friday, March 31, 2006

More garden stuff

Bumblebee on primroses

Bluey-purple primroses

Tiny pansy-thing

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring colours





Some things I don't know the name of

I thought this was a dog-violet to start with, but is it actually a tiny pansy?

The results of a quick wander around the gardens at lunchtime.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Sunday, March 26, 2006

How do they do it?


Darren is outside in the garden, smoking. A very bad habit indeed, but it has its uses - he's hearing Redwings flying over in the dark!

I think many people associate hearing Redwings' high-pitched 'seeeep' calls with their southbound autumn migration. But tonight came as a reminder that they have to go back the other way, too.

I assumed previously that night migrants such as Redwings would pick a clear night to migrate, assuming that the stars help them plot a course, but this evening it's been drizzling heavily and the skies are 100% cloudy. How on earth are they managing to find their way?

Nobody seems quite sure.

I wonder if artificial lighting comes into it? When coming in to land at a British airport under cover of darkness, you can easily pick out street lights in built-up areas and along major routes, even from quite high up. The Europeans are much better at using energy-saving, light-pollution limiting lights.

Some links to interesting migration-themed features:


A poor portrait of a super bird. Usual moans about it being nearly dark, blowing a gale, etc...

photo taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Nene Washes


Golden Plovers

Mute Swan

Tiny spider with even tinier fly

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Birds' bathtime


Male Blackbird

Coal Tit

Stock Dove

Bathtime at The Lodge once more. You would think that taking photos of bathing birds from a hide in bright sunshine would be a piece of cake. Not always so.

Some birds are too small and distant (tits, Siskins). Some are too big and quick and close (Stock Dove). Some move too fast (hmm... all of the above). About the only species that behaves itself in front of the camera is the humble Chaffinch.

Today was quite unusual because there were already three photographers in residence in the hide when I arrived. It looked like my planned lunchtime activities were going to be foiled by a lack of room, but it turned out OK. Which is more than can be said for most of the photos.

That said, I am very pleased with the first photo of the male Chaffinch. Quite a surprise.

There were no signs of yesterday's Mandarin ducks, sadly. That was a bit too much to hope for.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20-60x eyepiece

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Seeing some birds

To start with, Ferry Meadows Country Park, Peterborough:


Black-headed Gulls


Great Crested Grebes

On to Eyebrook Reservoir:

Green-winged Teal

Smew (I always think 'White Nun' should be an alcoholic drink for birders

To finish the day, CEGB Reservoir, Peterborough:

Iceland Gull!

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Saturday, March 04, 2006

International Toad Rescue

My DIY-mad parents are visiting me today to repair the garden fence. I was called to rescue a rather disgruntled-looking Common Toad which was at risk of being squashed. I scooped it up with a trowel and put it safely out of harm's way, under a heap of sticks. A couple of minutes later, Mum found another one. It's good to know they're still around.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Friday, March 03, 2006


Not the Merseyside football team, but a small Bedfordshire village where we ate lunch today.

St Mary's Church

If I had learned to use Photoshop properly, I'd have made the background black-and-white...

Looking north from the Greensand Ridge

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995