Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Colourful garden tick !

British species can be colourful when seen up close in the right light, but come on! 

Clearly an escape, this marvellous creation was putting on a dazzling show in the afternoon sun. It stayed around for quite a while, spending time on the feeders and taking the odd drink from the garden pond between rest periods in the neighbouring bushes.

Through the wonders of internet bird forums, I'm told it's an Eastern Rosella, native of SE Australia.

Checking the time on the garden sundial

The last view was of it flying from the garden being chased by the resident collared doves. Sadly, it's future is unlikely to be as bright as it's fantastic plumage, but I hope it enjoys it's all too brief freedom from the confines of a cage.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

To capture a Swift....

Another try for the local swifts this evening. Most of my shots are still ending in the recycle bin, but I was quite pleased with this one, though if my "keeper" success rate is anything to go by, I think this is more due to luck rather than skill on my part, I think. When up close, the birds are travelling far too fast to either freeze them in flight or to keep them in the frame. When at distance its difficult to get a decent image size and quality suffers. This is, once again, heavily cropped.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Nest Building

Progress continues under the eaves ...and I must confess, they're much easier to photograph when they're still like this!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Welcome Return

House Martin's nesting under the eaves of our house used to be a regular annual event for several years after we moved into the village. However, for the last few years, numbers of visiting Martin's have dropped noticeably and, although birds have sometimes started nest building, these have been aborted before completion.
This year, the Martin's are back in higher numbers, which is great to see. Nest building has started in about 4 location around our eaves - considering the prolonged lack of rain, which must be reducing the availability of suitable nest-building mud, I hope they're more successful this year.

Saturday, 28 May 2011


Nice to see the swifts circling around the village a few evenings ago, but mighty difficult to get decent images of them. Not the best of shots, but a starting point to try and improve upon.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Dawn Chorus

Went out yesterday morning just before dawn on an unsuccesful astronomy imaging session. After watching a stunning sunrise I did a bit of birding before driving back for breakfast. Lots of dawn chorus activity with some good birds on show - my first Little Owls of the year and a range of open country birds. This Whitethroat put on a particularly good show.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Willington Wag's

The local Grey Wag's are fascinating to watch, constantly on the move catching insects for their growing brood. This made them tricky to get good images, exposures being a compromise between ISO setting and shutter speed to try and freeze their frantic movements. A heap of images were resigned to the recycle bin as a result, but I was quite pleased with these shots.

Monday, 2 May 2011


A great name for the order of these attractive little insects - the Damselflies. Not as impressive, perhaps, as their larger cousins, the dragonflies, but a lovely sight to see along the River Great Ouse over the last few days. Emergence seems a bit early this year, probably brought on by the recent mini-heatwave we seem to be enjoying. The river bank is certainly a place where you can easily lose yourself, wandering lazily in the gorgeous sunshine enjoying the wildlife. A few kingfishers darting up and down stream completed the idyllic scene.
The Large Red Damselfly resting on the marsh marigold was our first garden damselfly of the season.

Banded Demoiselle (female)

Banded Demoiselle (male)

Common Blue Damselfly (male)

Large Red Damselfly (male)

Large Red visiting the garden pond

Red-eyed Damselfly (male)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Nightingale sang...

Good to see the Nightingales back at Paxton Pits this afternoon.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Springtime in the Woods

Springtime in an ancient English wood is a place that's hard to equal for tranquility and beauty. One of my favourites is Kingswood, near Bedford, which dates back some 6000 years to the last ice age. Reputedly used as a hunting ground by Henry VIII, it's sadly now much smaller in extent compared to times gone by, but it's SSSI status will hopefully give the protection it needs to continue to bring pleasure to future generations.

The main attraction at this time of year is the carpet of bluebells which, in the warm morning sunshine, makes for a fantastic photo opportunity, aswell as a welcome food source for newly emerging butterflies.

Blue carpets

Greater Stitchwort

Lesser Celandine

Wood Anemone

Yellow Archangel

Orange-tip  (female)

Orange-tip  (male)

Speckled Wood

Green-veined White

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Buzzing around?

Lovely day for a walk along the river. The warm afternoon sunshine created thermals which allowed the local buzzards to soar effortlessly.
There's obviously some nest building going on, as one bird took great trouble to select and carry a largish twig several hundred meters back to it's chosen nest site. I'm sure there must've been suitable material closer to hand, but then I don't have a buzzards superior eye for selecting these things...

Keeping an eye on things

That'll do nicely

Friday, 18 February 2011

New Garden Tick

I was surprised to spot these Redpolls feeding on one of my feeders yesterday. My closest views of these attractive birds, and a first for the garden list.