Saturday, 3 January 2009

Do you need a Passport?

A trip today into the depths of South Wales was the first opportunity for pictures so far this year (I know it's only the 3rd Jan).

Cosmeston Lakes and Country Park was the destination, company was provided by Chris G, and the weather could not have been more obliging.

I've never been there before so I was unsure what to expect, Chris had assured me that the breakfast in the visitor centre was well worth the visit alone but my diet wasn't going to allow that, I've got 4 or more stone to lose before July.

I did know that a bearded tit and a lesser scaup had been reported as being present, so that would be a start.
On our arrival we met up with Brian Williams and Mike Smith, their company only enhanced the experience (Nice new 500mm lens Mike).
What a fantastic start it would be, the bearded tit had heard that I was in attendance and came to see if I was all I was cracked up to be, okay I'm blowing my own trumpet here, just go with the flow!

You will remember that my trip to Norfolk in Nov had been the first occasion that I had seen wild Beardies, well now I can say I've photographed them too.

I have a few more to go through so there could be a few more posted soon.

The Reed Buntings were doing their bit not to be left out.

After a Breakfast of poached egg on toast I was well up for the next part of the adventure. I spent a short while getting some flight shots of the Gulls and a couple of shots of Pied Wagtails flitting around. Again these will follow in due course.

Whilst at the lakes a number of people advised us that there were Waxwings in a garden nearby. Brian, Mike and I set off to see if we could locate them and after a little wait at the site we did indeed get to see them. First however was a lovely viewing of a Fieldfare.

The Waxwing were only two in number and unusually they were feeding from the same apple tree as the fieldfare. I have very little experience of Waxwings but others present assured me that this is somewhat unusual behaviour.

As I'm sure you can imagine my trigger finger was well worked and i have a number of shots to work through but this is one example of the beautiful waxwing.

Something happened that just made the day for the four of us (Chris had joined us on site), The owners of the house in which the apple tree was located had seen us, and a number of others throughout the day, stood in the road. They kindly offered to move their vehicle off the drive and invited us into the garden. But as if this wasn't enough they later made us tea, and gave us cake and biscuits. I am sure I speak for the others when I say this was totally unexpected and extremely welcomed as the temperature was very low. The lady and gent declined offer of payment and took the level of their generosity even further when they said we could, if we wished, move their garden seats and use them to sit on.

This may not seem a lot but ask yourself how many people would invite total strangers into their property and provide drinks etc. I can't honestly say I'd be so kind, or at least not in the past. We did not enquire of their names but they will know who they are and if by chance they read this then we were truly grateful for their kindness.

I'm not sure if I'd go to Cosmeston again, I'd be worried that it couldn't live up to this first visit. A great day and a great start to 09.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year.

Start 09 with a few of our more common birds.

The Dunnock, I just love this bird.

Nuthatch, always present and extremely brave, at New Fancy they feed around me whilst I'm topping up the feeders.

My favourite bird to photograph. My boy has been feeding the birds at his place of work in the town (Coleford) and has gained the trust of a robin enough for it to feed out of his hand, this lovely little thing was at the arboretum.

Another common bird, the Great Spotted woody. The poses these birds can make sometimes beggar belief, this is a pretty run of the mill side on shot.

I didn't get out with the camera today so technically these are last years birds. I hope you won't mind that though.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

To End the Year.

A few recent shots to end the year.

Flying Bewicks at Slimbridge.

A Blackbird at New Fancy.

Ditto a Chaffinch.

A meadow Pipit at Aust Warth.

A Redwing on the field at Speech House.

A Buzzard coming in to land at Slimbridge.

Pochard again at Simbridge.

A Small flock of Wigeon again at Slimbridge.
A female Shelduck.

Tufted Duck.

I'm hoping 2009 continues to bring me firsts. For those who care about such things my species total for the year topped at 149, I don't deliberately set out to count them, but do record what I see, so I'm not technically a lister.
Happy New Year everyone.