Friday, 21 December 2012

A Blue Christmas.

Hi all, just to say there won't be any more posts now before xmas. Mother passed away late evening thurs 20th and there are a million things to do so its highly unlikely I will get chance to do any photography.

Those of you who know me will know that my relationship with my mum was somewhat strained. However nothing can prepare you for watching your mother slip away on a hospital bed, other than perhaps watching your dad die in pain at home 8 yrs previously. I am not going to be hypocritical and suddenly declare that I loved my mother, but she was still my mother and I know that I made the last 8 weeks of her life more enjoyable, we shared laughs and walks together with the dogs. I supported her in decisions she made, but most importantly I kept my promise to my dad, irrespective of my feelings towards her, to look after her when she needed it.

Hopefully she will find lasting peace with my dear dad who she will finally join, having missed him so deeply in the 8yrs since his passing.

Rest in Peace mother.

On a brighter note there will be some cash for a new camera or lens soon. Every cloud and all that

Monday, 17 December 2012

Beast? more like a cuddly teddy bear.

Well the beast from the east didn't really happen did it? It did get a tad cold, dropping to -5 the one morning but not what I was expecting. Now apparently we are going to have a wet and blustery period till past xmas, that won't be good.
I have spent most of the time since last post running back and to the hospital as my mum has been admitted again, so time at the hide has been limited to one hour long spell sunday morning and a few grabbed moments before. However the results are all that I could have asked for. Numbers are increasing as are the varieties of visitors. So far I have had, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great tit, Blue tit, Long tailed tit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Wren, House Sparrow, Magpie, Jay, Mistle thrush and GSW. On sunday morning I had a visitor that is both very welcome yet potentially disastrous. A Sparrowhawk came a calling, pic of her later in the post.

The Fieldfare and Redwing are also in the orchard but they don't come to the feeders, although the Fieldfares have been down on the apples I've spread around but they shoot off when I arrive. Did manage to get a few shots this week of them, out of the car and on a day when the light was not brilliant.

and a Redwing came into the hedge just to the left of the hide so this is quite a crop.

it had been in the field behind my orchard, Still a welcome sight though.

The Jay is finally getting used to the shutter on the camera and not flying off at the first click, I have tried to set up a perch for it behind the stump that it feeds off but so far it avoids it, so most shots of it are on the food, but I did manage one, albeit it in dull light.

This second one was in lovely light but on the food

The Greenfinch and Goldfinch give excellent opportunities,

But the star of this week was undoubtedly the Sparrowhawk, she came swooping in at a blackbird but missed, she landed on the ground then jumped up onto a small branch that has been cut out of the hedge. she was too close to get all of her in and having taken a few shots with the 1.4 on I tried to take it off but she flew away before I could get a shot without it. Still, I am in no way disappointed, it was amazing to be able to get her at all.

So very chuffed with these shots, the first close ups I have ever managed, the only other shot being a long distance one at Slimbridge.

No photography done away from the hide this week due to mums hospitalisation and at the time of composing this post she is still in and likely to be tomorrow as well. If I do manage to get some stuff done before xmas I will repost but if not have a great festive period.

see you soon.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Beast from the East

A week of changeable weather has left me grabbing chances when I got them. I am not disappointed with the results.
The FS is going from strength to strength,

Chaffinch, tick!

Greenfinch, tick!

Jay, tick!

GSW, tick!

as well as Blackbird, tick!

away from the feeder station I still haven't managed to see Waxwings or Short Eared Owls, but a trip to the shorties produced half decent shots of a Heron and a Stonechat.

I have read today that we can expect the next month to be cold, frosty, and possibly snowy as a blast of cold air comes from Siberia. I can live with that as long as its dry and clear. My hide is currently surrounded by 3 inches of water so I'll be happy with dry and cold. The number of birds visiting is increasing every week. I was so chuffed with the GSW, it came in the most beautiful light. I still can't get the Fieldfares, they are just so tetchy. I will keep trying so keep coming back for a look.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Come to Daddy.

The weather has been a factor across most of the UK this week, floods have destroyed homes and along with strong winds have taken lives. The temperature has dropped in to single figures on a regular basis. This has meant that the consumption of food at my FS has risen above expectations. I have already used 100 fatballs, 12.75kgs of seed and over 5kgs of peanuts. I am concerned that at this rate it will be an expensive project.
However I have stopped hanging single fatballs from branches as the squirrels had most of them away. I have stopped the squirrel having all the peanuts away by buying a better peanut holder and I have bought another seed holder so that I don't have to put so much loose down.
All that said, I am very pleased with the increase in the numbers of birds that are visiting. I have also had a fleeting visit from the most beautiful male Bullfinch and if he starts coming regularly then it will all be worth it.
I have left my hide in situ, I hope its not a mistake because the price of them has risen so drastically over the last 12 months or so that I couldn't afford to buy another just like that.

Anyway, a beautiful afternoon thursday allowed me to spend a good 3 hrs in the hide, that was after I had driven around large parts of the chester surrounds looking for Waxwing. I failed miserably though.
Back at the FS I managed a nice shot of a Long tailed tit.

and a Dunnock

Great and Blue Tits

and a Coal Tit

and of course Sammy Squirrel.

A quick trip away from the FS to Christleton pond and I got a few shots of Cormorant.

I think that the cormorant would be much better thought of it they were white. No I'm not being racist, I merely mean that they are the bird world equivalent of Darth Vader, you see them sitting there knowing that at some point a fish is going to get it, If they were white they would be looked at in the same way as the Egrets.

So no Waxwing and as yet nothing truly sexy at the FS. come back next week and see if its changed. Oh and I am hoping that Santa is going to bring me a new camera for christmas, I think I'd like the 5D mk 3 or the 6D.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Gold 'n Nuts

It doesn't look like I'm going to get much photography done over the next few days with the weather forecast being as it is, so a couple of hours spent in the hide since the last report was gratefully taken. I wish I could leave my hide in-situ but I do not want to take the chance of an opportunist thief having it away, although it is at least 200 yards from a road I know how my luck pans out.

I know there has been lots of activity at the FS when I'm not there, but whether its a case of my hide being too obvious or just the fact that it's not there all the time I do not feel I'm getting the visitors when I'm in it. The Jay came down again twice whilst I was in it, but he comes, grabs a peanut and is off with no chance to focus on him. I know the GSW has been too but it sits nearby calling but doesn't seem to want to visit when I am there. I am heartened by the fact that there is some activity there and hope that as the weather gets colder it will pick up. It's my first attempt at a private FS so I will persevere.

The Goldfinches come and so far they have not disappointed.

I just have to move them forward away from the hedge, but I'm not complaining.

The House sparrows and tits still visit.

as does the Robin,

but still the most entertaining are the squirrels. Despite the fact that they are eating all my fat balls and have ruined my peanut feeder I don't mind them coming.

I haven't managed to go see if the SEO's are still coming out recently, My mother has kept me busy. I also want to pop to RSPB Conwy as soon as I get chance and some decent weather.

Come back soon and see what's developed.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Let the Sun Shine.

Managed 3 hrs in the hide today, was pleased by the number of visitors, Jay, GSW, Magpie, Long tailed tit, Blue tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow and Squirrel.

The Jay swooped down grabbed a peanut and disappeared in a second or two, so no pic of him. The GSW stayed at the back of the hedge on an apple tree so no pic of him, and no decent pic of the Magpie or Blackbird.

A small flock of about 5 Long tails came to visit.

The Goldfinch would pop down for a feed then disappear for about 30 mins before coming back.

The Blue tits and Great tits come regularly.

The House Sparrows give lots of photo opportunities.

Robin red breast is gorgeous.

But star of this post is a very acrobatic Squirrel, this is a male.

This was just as the last of the light was fading, he was grabbing a peanut from the feeder, which he has just about destroyed and eating it whilst hanging..

I haven't managed to snap a fieldfare on Mistle Thrush as yet, may have to temporarily relocate the hide for them. The Jay would be a lovely addition if I could get them coming more often.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Making the most of it.

Extremely skittish. That is how I would describe the birds at my feeder station, but I am aware that its early days. I've spent an hour or two there now, and can see the potential so I'm going to persevere. The pair of squirrels aren't fazed by my being there, the Blue tits and Great tits aren't fazed either but the GSW, Goldfinch and Fieldfare are not quite so obliging. As the weather gets colder I am sure they will get braver.

I have had the camera out, not only at my FS (feeder station) but at the pond at Christleton. I spent half an hour trying to get Black headed Gulls in flight. The weather wasn't brilliant but I got a few half decent shots.

Then back to the FS, and the squirrels.

Very cheeky pair, but I think this is the same one.
The Robin comes calling quite frequently.

The GSW was caught the first time I sat in my hide for a while, the weather was pants, very little light.

I'd forgotten how jittery they can be, but very charasmatic.
When the sun is out it will be on my FS from early morning till about 3.00pm at the moment, so as the sun moves around I will hopefully get different shots in different places, as you can probably guess I'm a tad excited having done very little bird photography this year so far.

One Blue tit is worth a look I think.

So, the first pictures I've posted for a little while, not award winners but a step in the right direction.
Come back again soon.