Friday, 7 August 2009

Dungeness Dolphins

We enjoyed watching this school of around 8 dolphins for about half an hour, playing just off the surf-line off the pebble beach at Dungeness; presumably attracted close inshore by the warm water outfows from the nearby nuclear power station, the only blot on an otherwise gloriously desolate landscape.

My limited attempts to identify these mammals suggest they are most likely bottle-nosed dolphins, which are not uncommon in this area.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

In the Shadow of The Moon

Total solar eclipse on 22 July 2009. Images taken from Hangzhou, China. Unfortunately, the anticipated cooling of the air temperature during totality was hardly noticable in the humid 40'C early morning heat.

Composite image centred on totality, showing the slender crescent Sun before and after the diamond ring.
3rd contact and the diamond ring effect.

At 20,000 degrees the chromosphere (red lower atmosphere of the Sun) makes a brief appearance at 3rd contact, signalling the end of totality. At 2 O'clock is a solar prominence, itself the size of planet Earth.
The diamond ring at second contact.
Sunlight shining through valleys at the edge of the Moon - an effect commonly known as Bailey's Beads.
Some new friends....
At the end of totality, the thin crescent Sun creeps into view.
At 2 million degrees, the pearly light of the inner corona embraces the silhouetted Moon.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Nearest Star

Our nearest star - the Sun. Currently near the end of solar minimum, activity on the surface is unusually low. Photographed on 5th July, the visible sunspot group (#1024) heralds the start of solar cycle #24.

Sunday, 7 June 2009


Meadow Bunting, Asian House Martin, Eurasian Skylark (japonica sub-sp) and Oriental Turtle Dove, all imaged on a damp early morning in Chiba Newtown, Tokyo.

Thursday, 4 June 2009


Lazing in the afternoon sun, this very obliging Nightjar seemed oblivious to the growing crowds at The Lodge RSPB headquarters.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Barford birding

A few images from Great Barford bridge. The cropped Grey Wag shot was the best I could get after several minutes of low level stalking. I had hoped for a closer picture - sadly, my efforts were thwarted by the herd of disgruntled cows that chased me, closely followed by the wagtail, out of the field.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

More Kites

A few more images of the Watlington Red Kites.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Neighbouring Worlds

A few images of more distant worlds....

A mosaic of the lunar Southern highlands. The planet Saturn imaged back in January 2006, showing subtle hints of cloud belts and the Cassini division in the marvellous rings, and two images of Mars during the 2005 opposition, showing the Northern polar cap and subtle dusky terrain.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

A brush with wildlife

A mixture of oil, watercolour and pencil sketches from the paint-box archive....

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Early morning Yellowhammer showing off a nice profile, taken during a break between sun-showers on farmland in Willington.

Swiftly does it....

My first attempts at capturing these speed racers, and proved quite a challenge to pan fast enough. Images taken at Watlington during breaks in the kite-fest.

Watlington Kites

A rewarding few hours spent at Watlington, Oxfordshire on Monday. With more than 20 kites in the sky at any one time, it was difficult to keep my image count down! These are the first to be processed.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Right place, right time

Dark Green Fritillary, taken at the wonderfully named Sharpenhoe Clappers. Back in the summer of 2007, and requiring no skill on my part, I was fortunate to find the very rare dark form A.aglaja form wimani . Subsequently identified by lepidopterist Adrian Riley, I was honoured when Adrian chose to include the image in his book "British and Irish Butterflies", (Brambleby Books, 2007.)

Early morning dew

Early morning Marbled White, complete with dew drops on the antennae; Small Skipper; Large Skipper and Common Blue.


Two of my favourites; Orange Tip and the wonderful and elusive Purple Emporer, in close-up.