Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Frenchman

Too dark and through a pane of glass, like all my videos. This Red-legged Partridge accompanied his mate on a visit to our garden this morning. It would be nicer if Grey Partridges came instead, but that's not likely around here. Red-legs are funny to watch and they usually end up sitting on the fence at some point.

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


  1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the next three sentences.
  5. Tag five people
"Moult. Adults have two moults each year, the 'spring' moult (mainly Jan-Apr) which produces summer plumage, and the 'autumn' moult (mainly Aug-Nov) which produces winter plumage. The spring moult is partial (head, body and variable amount of inner wing-coverts), and the autumn moult is complete (including wings and tail). Waders thus change their body plumage twice each year, but the wing- and tail-feathers only once."

I was tagged by Pluvialis. Rather predictably, it's the Collins Bird Guide which is sitting closest to my computer. I suppose I could have cheated and chosen something more intellectual, like Svensson, or er, the 2008 AA Pub Guide, but it's the truth.

In turn, I'm going to tag: Weedon of Weedon's World, Old Scrote, Malc on the Edge of Nowhere, Tom McKinney and Charlie Moores.

Sunday, February 17, 2008



Snow Bunting

Black-headed Gull

The first stop of the day for us was for the Bittern at Beeston Regis. The bird was visible with the naked eye as we approached. I grabbed some digiscoped record shots (which were hardly worth downloading from the camera) but I was dragged away after only 10 minutes. The Bittern flew off shortly afterwards.

By the time we showed up, there was already a large crowd, virtually all toting long lenses. Most of them were standing around chatting and not even watching what was an outstandingly showy Bittern. If they'd cleared off out of the way and continued their conversations down the pub, there would have been enough room for everyone to get a good view. Mine was through some reeds.

If you want to see photos of it, please go to Weedon's World of Nature.

We also stopped at Cley to try for the White-crowned Sparrow (surely Britain's most-famous bird?) but it didn't show in the 30 minutes we were there, despite the fact that I'd made a donation to the church fund.

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM



beach pebbles

whose footprint?

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM, Extender EF 1.4x II


Black-headed Gulls

Common Gulls - one thinking ahead to the breeding season, the other not

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM, Extender EF 1.4x II


It was near dusk when we went to Titchwell, so please excuse the following dark pictures:



Spotted Redshank


Saturday, February 09, 2008


We stopped near Whipsnade to look for birds of prey. We didn't manage to see any, but I was very taken with this Emu, a resident of the Wild Animal Park. It came over to the fence to see me; there was a ten-foot chain-link fence between the two of us, which I was glad of when I looked at its powerful beak and feet.

I certainly wouldn't want to meet one down a dark alleyway (it was at least as tall as me), and yes, it's a captive bird, but it was fascinating to watch. A Robin hopped about a few metres away and it was strange to consider that the Emu really was a bird and not an improbable cross between a sheep and a dinosaur!

When I startled it, it made a noise like a rumbling stomach.

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM through chain-link fence

A Day In Bed(fordshire)

Long-tailed Tit collecting moss for nest

We had quite a nice day today, despite staying within the notoriously bird-free boundaries of Bedfordshire. We started off at Swiss Gardens, Old Warden. It was full of birdsong, including Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Song Thrush, Great Tit, Robin and Wren.

I found myself paying close attention to the luxuriant ivy that grows up many of the trees there. Eventually our searching paid off and the Firecrest was relocated several metres off the ground. Firecrests traditionally join roving flocks and choose low-level foraging, but this one has a head for heights and prefers its own company.

We also encountered that well-known woodland bird, the Mute Swan. There was the rhythmic 'whoomph-whoomph-whoomph' of swan wings, followed by a loud crash as one of a pair collided with a tree on its way down to the lake. Fortunately it seemed uninjured and permitted us to herd it towards the water.

We stopped off at the 'Raptor Watchpoint' on our way westwards. A burst bin-bag of glamorous shoes on the roadside intrigued me; it was hard not to imagine who they'd belonged to and why they'd been abandoned in the middle of nowhere...

Darren's written about our day on Bedsbirds.

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Friday, February 08, 2008


Sorry, don't do sound, so you'll have to whistle your own soundtrack this time. Today's video contains real sunlight.

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

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A walk in the woods

dead branches


Siskins: male (top) and female



photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Monday, February 04, 2008