Friday, 21 August 2009

Very large and very small

I've spent mon, tues and weds evenings this week with Chris G watching Badgers in Herefordshire, I had a brilliant time but my role was merely observer. I let Chris do the photgraphy and I sat and enjoyed being as close as I've ever come to Badgers in the wild.

I don't doubt you'll have checked the Pictures Chris has put on his website over the last few days (see my links for chris's website) there a a couple of corkers. The most demanding thing has been the wind. It is relatively easy to get the badgers to come close if there is no wind and you sit still and are quiet. However if there is a gusty wind which is direction changing every five minutes it is a damn sight harder. I was amazed at how little effect the flash had on the feeding badgers too, they quickly stop getting spooked by them.

All in all a very enjoyable three nights. Can I replicate it? I don't know but weather permitting I'm going to try on Sat evening.

Other than that I've done very little. I kept up with my interest in the tiny with this Flesh fly in Herefordshire.
At the other end of the scale I got this Heron in Cheshire.

It was on a grey morning but I think its quite good, what do you think? I'm heading for a different location on Sunday. I'm going to have a look at Martin Mere again before heading slightly further north and visiting Leighton Moss again. Looking forward to decent weather and lots to see.
I am still keen to get to Norfolk and of course Scotland but there are things keeping me local one of which is the upcoming birth of my first Grandchild due early Sept. I am definately going to try and squeeze Scotland in very soon.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Not all Butterflies.

Its not all about Butterflies at this time of year. I was hoping to get into Macro photography but its proving harder than I first thought. I suffer terribly with the shakes which is not good for close up work. But I keep trying. I spent an absolute age at Chris G's the other morning doing Moths with him then went to an open Garden in Hereford and spent an age doing hoverflies only to delete the whole card of shots by mistake.

I have had limited success with the following. Although it's not truly macro is it?

Southern Hawker Dragonfly.

I believe that this is a hoverfly, Volucella bombylans

And this is, I believe, another hoverfly Eupeodes luniger. Very difficult to identify from the internet.

I have done a lot of posting this last few days so I'll give it a rest now, been at my sons and mothers since weds so good internet access. Back on the road tomorrow, hoping to do Badgers in Hereford.

Shapwick and Ham

No not a new kind of sandwich, places in Somerset not too far from Bristol.

I had been stopping at a campsite called Splott Farm, not far from Cheddar. I needed to get away for a few days and it filled my need perfectly. A small site with great facilities and all for ten pounds a night with electric hook up.

A check on Birdguides prior to my departure on Weds 12 revealed a Great White Egret at Meare Heath. I have been to the Nature reserve at Shapwick before with Andy Carey and set off in search of it again. Unfortunately the reserve is signposted very poorly and it took me a while to find the end that I wanted with the carpark. A waste of time as the carpark had a barrier across it under which I could not get the van, however the pub adjacent were kind enough to let me park on their car park. So by the time I had walked the dog and set off it was late morning. I had only a small walk to the scrape on which the Egret had been for about 10 days prior and as soon as I arrived I saw it. Easily identified with it's bright yellow beak and its huge size. I would say slightly bigger than a grey Heron and much bigger than it's cousin the Little Egret which were also present.
I quickly set up the camera and snapped off a few frames. It then moved slightly further away, another few frames rattled off in it's new position. Then it upped and went, flying off well into the distance. A lady who was sitting on the bench overlooking the scrape advised me it hadn't moved from the scrape for over a week. Wow how lucky was I? I've never seen one before andI had been lucky enough to catch it on camera just minutes before it flew off.
As i say, the bird was quite a distance off and the weather was extemely grey and overcast so not the best pictures but I'm very pleased.

I might stick a picture on my web, it will be slightly larger and hopefully give a better idea of the bird. Check it out on the website.