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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Little Owls, Kingfisher and Woodpeckers

Ken, John and myself had arranged to visit Mark Hancox site to photograph some kingfishers.  Due to the rain the week before it looked like we were going to miss out on the Kingfishers as the hide had been under water.  We decided mid-week to go anyway and photograph some little owls with the hope that the water levels may fall and allow us to also photograph some Kings.

We met Mark at 7 am and by 8 am we were sitting in pop up hides waiting for the little owls.  We could here a owl calling very close but it did take several hours before they appeared.  At first the adult came down for approx. 10 mins and then one of this years young followed.  It wasn't long before they both left again but we did manage a good 15 mins of photo's.

We continued to sit in the hides in the hope they would show again soon.  Whilst sitting in the hides we had heard a green woodpecker and a spotted on several occasions but they were nowhere in sight.  I heard the green again and a quick scan around and i noticed he was sitting on the posts.  We rattled off a few shots and with John shouting "what are you taking pics of" we also pointed him in the right direction :) 

Then out of the blue a spotted woodpecker landed on the same post for a few split seconds.  I managed to take about 6 shots before the spotted returned to a nearby fallen tree.

This was amazing to see them together and I was chuffed to get the shot.

We sat in the hides for a few more hours in the hope the owls would return but they weren't playing ball.  Mark arrived as planned and we asked if we could photograph the kingfishers and he said yes but the hide was still muddy and wet.  I didn't care as this is what I really wanted as it had been 2 years since I last photographed a kingfisher.

On arrival to the hide Mark was waist deep in the water making sure the BG was clean for us, what a top guy.

I had several shots in mind and in particular the diving shots :)

It was only about 5 mins before the first Kingfisher appeared,  by now the sun was out and it was time to try for the shots I wanted.  Both John and Ken laughed as I was firing off the shots in attempt of the diving shot. It didn't take long before Ken saw some of my attempts and joined in on the fun.

Here are a couple of shots I manged in the end.

It was great fun trying for the dive shots but as they were perching so well at times it would be just rude not to take a few perch shots also.

Mark had explained that the Owls seemed to show well later in the afternoon so we returned to the hides again before leaving.  He was spot on as we only had to wait a hour before the young showed again.

All in all a great day out and one I would recommend to anybody.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Spotted Flycatchers

I visted this site (Napton) last year in the hope of photographing some Spotted flycatchers but I was just a day late :(

After seeing a few pics posted I knew it was time to visit.  Ken and myself arrived early and we had the area to ourselves which was a suprise.  It only took about 30 secs before we spotted a pair of them.  After watching them for a few mins it was obvious that they had a few fav perches, so we et up and started to get a few shots.

It was great to see them flying around and catching insects right infront of us at times.   It wasn't too long before a few other togs turned up and it was great to meet Andy and also Dave Hutton again.

When I returned home and took a look at the images I was not that happy.  They just didn't have the right bg and where just too far away.  Now knowing the place and the behaviour of the birds I decided to give it another go on the Sunday morning.  Ken very nicley let me use his 300mm 2.8 with the 2x which gave me the extra reach I needed.  I concentrated on the particular shots I wanted and I think the results were good. 

All in all a great weekend and another first for me.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Last few weeks

We called into Attenborough nature reserve in the hope of seeing some Whitethroat's.  The area was very quiet compared to last year but I did manage another first for me.

Reed Warbler

The following week I opted to stay local and headed to Cannock Chase to see the Redstarts.  Unfortunately both adults had left the nest site but the resident Nuthatches were still around.
After a few hours we moved location to a old site where I knew the Bullfinches may be around.  It didn't take long before we found them.

More to follow later this weekend.