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Saturday, 26 January 2013

That Purple Patch

Those Purple Sandpipers

After a dubious start to the year I retraced my steps a few days later ... only to be thwarted by the weather again, this time fog! The annoying thing was you could see the sun was out and blue sky IF you could get past the fog.

I called at Fairhaven to see the female Long-tailed Duck which I found at the back of the island but the fog was so bad you couldn't see across the lake. I managed a couple of record shots and watched the duck go about its business, preening before starting to dive.

Overhead I heard Whopper Swans passing and a second group were so low I managed a 'Swan in fog' photo.

I headed north to Blackpool, indeed to North Shore in search of the Purple Sandpiper. After my earlier visit and knowing the beach reasonably well to be all sand, I was intrigued to know what kept these Purple Sandpiper at this location and what and how they were feeding.

I'll keep it brief, FOG! (which is why the images are a bit dubious).

I arrived and the fog wasn't too bad and I managed a flight shot of the Oystercatchers before the fog rolled in even thicker than before, the image of the Tower is just as taken, untouched but no Purple Sandpipers.

I did my beached whale impressions and as I sat up, there in front on me, two Purple Sandpipers!


Femal Long-Tailed Duck

Whooper Swan overhead in the fog


Blackpool Tower in the fog

Two Purple Sandpipers in the fog

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Remember summer ?

What an introduction to life in the uk ...

(I just hope it reproduces ok... technology!)

Interesting to see how alert they remain watching fo any insect within range and those whistling ducks!

unfortunately in the cut down version by blogger, you can't quite see the rain falling or beads of raindrops on their feather, but you get the idea and a reminder of that year!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

some of our common friends

and one not so common but what a garden visitor... and one or two some of us may perhaps prefer not to have

(again still stuck in October 2012)

Saturday, 19 January 2013

There once was an ugly duckling...

and so again back in October 2012 I found myself 'sarf of the riva' (not at this time of night mate*) at Marshside near Southport in an attempt to practice and attempt to capture some bird flight images, check camera settings and all that.

Believe it or not, the sun was out at one stage before it turned murky as always and despite trampling the scrubland, no Goldcrests or anything other than a Robin showed itself.

More or less as I arrived something must have spooked the Pink-footed Geese as best part of 8,000 or so took to the air and landed out on the marsh/estuary foreshore. The sad thing about still photography is the fact it doesn't capture the duration of the flight and seems little point putting image after image of the birds in the air here and it also fails to capture the noise, both of the wingbeats and calling of the birds. Impressive.

After my previous post about Little Grebe on Newton Marsh, here at Marshside one was showing very well.

Despite all my efforts I managed one or two flight photos of some of the other locals, primarily Shoveler, Mallard and Teal. There were a great many Black-tailed Godwits, perhaps approaching 500 and all I have are some distant images. The Little Egret is almost guaranteed and it wasn't that long ago you were lucky to see one in the UK. So much we take for granted.

I've dropped a couple of images in of the locals... and again all this photography stuff is all well and good but I never knew, male Teal had a brown eye, male Shoveler a mucky yellow eye and a female Shoveler a chestnut brown eye – there aren't many books that go into that much detail, so while enjoying the photography, in the words of Vinnie Jones 'it's been educational' (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).

The flocks of Canada Geese (seen but not shown) and Greylags,  I have seen at Newton Marsh and Fairhaven and environs and Marshside and the estuary is clearly a home for these mobile flocks of resident geese.

The sun set (again in the west) and the distant gas rig in Liverpool Bay was seen through the haze.

And finally, if I was an artist and I'm not, if someone said 'paint a field' you'd go for green – right? Yet there is but a single strip of green in the final image of the marsh and if someone had said use 'russet red' you'd think they were barmy. Funny what you see if you look.

* from all those days spent racing around London

surprising how the marsh soon hides 5,000 geese
Mallard, Teal and Shoveler.... more like it

now there's a question – why does a bird of the same species but different sexes have a different coloured iris? As in the case of the Shoveler shown here – I have no idea so any responses or comments appreciated.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Newton Marsh – kill Bill

Sorry for the Tarantino reference, can't help myself sometimes and searching for a title (John Wayne in Ford's 'classic').

Back in October 2012 I was down at Newton Marsh on the crack of (before all the wagons); grey miserable morning and the light wasn't anything but I came across this Peregrine on a kill and thought I'd share it with you.

I have so much stuff I haven't loaded, only because events overtake me before I do, and then days become weeks, become months...

and I was lucky enough to capture this Little Grebe, which I think are resident down there but you are a lucky to get four brief sightings in twelve months of these elusive birds.

The Peregrine protected its kill from these Carrion Crows, I assume a duck of some description (hence title); I didn't see the actually attack and capture, before the Peregrine departed – note the tatty tail feathers.

Simply illustrates what goes on when we are not looking and how a raptor of this size will take on larger birds!