Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Make the most of them whilst they are here .......

.... because it won't be long before their southwards migration starts leaving us bereft of these guys for another nine months.

Always a pleasure to see them arrive and breath fresh life into our reed beds, always sad to see them depart, mission accomplished.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Natural evolution .....

Is certainly the name of the game when you get a good sight of the feet of this Moorhen chick.

Perfectly adapted to their habitat and by design spreading the load of their weight over a wide surface area they almost seem to be able to walk on water.

They are not perhaps the prettiest of birds as chicks although the adults have a very pleasing presence and a lot of attitude.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

This years crop ......

Of Teasels, a really important source of food for many birds in winter not least of which is  the Goldfinch.

Many other species benefit from this food source when mature and it is widely spread throughout our countryside.

What an attractive plant this is however I have to say that it is at its best in autumn when it has '' turned '' .

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Textures ........

I love texture.

In this image I have captured three at least.  Wood, barbed wire and spiders webs, all have different visual and  ''feel '' effects between hard and soft contributing to the end result.

Its just another road to go down when out and about and the bird life is a bit on the slow side. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

In a bit of a flap.

Little Egrets, arguably, give one of the widest ranges of opportunity for photography in the United Kingdoms bird world.

They pose, they wade, they move gracefully and slowly, they strike out for their prey with great energy, they are elegant flyers and they are here in greater numbers year on year.

At Titchmarsh LNR we have had more than our fair share this year although numbers have dropped in recent months.

What a treat.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Lots of bugs in the beds .......

And the Reed Warblers are making the most of it as they feed their hungry and demanding broods.

It's June, summer has still to establish itself fully and yet Autumn is sadly already also on the horizon with Summer migrants reaching the end of their breeding cycles.

Its been a good breeding season with hopes for multiple broods but it will not be long before our Warblers start thinking about their departure from our shores.

I suppose birding is a bit like gardening, the breeding and growing season happens once every year and then its gone until the next year, our hobbies mirror are own life cycles so make the most of it ..... time catches up with us all !

Monday, 22 June 2015

Identification at last ....

Several years ago I posted this image of a caterpillar on a website because I had no idea what species it was.

Today, many years later, I got a response, apparently it is a Goat Moth.


The power of the web never fails to amaze me.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

I like dogs very much.

I also know and number many dog owners amongst my friends.

There are however two sections of irresponsible dog owners that I despair with who clearly cannot read or choose to ignore the notices at every entrance gate to the reserve.

1.  The owners who make absolutely no effort to pick up and remove their pets waste leaving it as a most unacceptable sight and to be trod on by visitors to the reserve .... totally antisocial and unacceptable behaviour.

2.  The other section are dog owners who do half the job. They pick up and bag the waste and then leave the bag hanging on fences or just dropped on the paths of the reserve.  

This is amazing, who do they think is going to remove the bags ?. 

For these people I have a tip - put a used plastic container in the boot of your car ( an old butter or Ice Cream container for example ) place the bag in it and when you get home drop it in your appropriate bin.

For these latter two sets of owners, please take full responsibility for owning a dog.

And please don't forget that Titchmarsh Local Nature Reserve is exactly that, a gem of a nature reserve that we are lucky to have. 

The reason that dogs should be kept on a lead, particularly during the breeding season ( March to August ) , is that many birds nest on the ground and may abandon their nests if disturbed by uncontrolled dogs.

Please, give nature a chance !.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

A constant companion .....

No matter what time of the year it is the Robin, recently adopted as the United
Kingdoms favourite bird, that is never far away from you.

Always a willing poser, their confidence in the company of people is truly remarkable.

Very versatile birds they can be found in many habitats, in this case the margins of a reed bed.

Great little characters to be associating with.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Great bird, great light ..... classic pose.

Unusual to get clear sightings of Nuthatches at this time of year yet Grafton Underwood woods always seems to come up trumps.

When they breed the offspring rarely travel very far from where they fledged so in these woodlands we have a strong, stable population of the species.

Its nice for a change to report a success in this world where birds are under such pressure.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Plenty of these around at the moment .......

In the right light Greenfinches really shine out, happily we have good numbers at TLNR depite the national decline in their population.

Regular cleaning of feeders keeps the prevalent virus at bay ..... when did you last clean yours ?.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Feeling well and feeding well

This little Reed Warbler was showing really well in the close margins of the reed bed in front of the South hide at the reserve last Sunday.

As we all know, timing is all and this image caught the moment very well.

I am not sure what flavour of prey this is so all comments would be most welcome.

Either way a very pleasing result.  

Graham Barker, a friend and keen videographer produced a video of our visit per the link below.


Monday, 15 June 2015

If its in the air its fair game .......

At the reserve on Sunday morning the sound of '' old '' radial engines from the second world war was in the air, clearly an Air Fair was being held at Duxford aerodrome nearby.

First was a distant Messerschmit or Fokker Wolf fighter in German livery followed by this RAF C47 Dakota bearing black and white invasion stripes.

What a classic sight and sound from an aircraft that must be well over seventy years old, if you look closely at the open door you can see one of the crew looking out.

What a tribute to airmen of bygone years,  magical, made my heart beat faster. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Little Egret.

Numbers of these birds seem to have dropped in recent weeks, I don't know if the low water levels are contributing to the decline.

Certainly I am seeing mud scrapes emerging at the reserve that I have not seen before.

It was nice to get this image of one flying low over the water, normally I see them wading or in flight overhead.

 They certainly have attitude.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Its not all about birds .......

This patch of wild Yellow Flag Iris added a bit of colour to an otherwise drab TLNR on a very grey day last week.

By way of a bit of change a friend of mine Graham Barker recently visited the Festival of Country Life at Lamport Hall here in Northamptonshire and published this high tempo video of his visit, it really captures the depth, breadth and character of this great countyside of ours here in the United Kingdom, link below.


Friday, 12 June 2015

You just can't say ....... '' only a Blue Tit ''.

Because these little guys are a basic staple of our bird population.

Rarely shy, very confident and tolerant of our presence when we stray into their world, they look at us, sum us up and carry on with their lives.

The symmetry of their plumage is always worth a lingering look.

At the reserve I have come across one nest that I believe has eight chicks,  I can't wait for them to fledge, what a sight it would be to see eight chicks and two parents in a row and get an image.

Dream on John.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Summer Lees Sand Martin

The light was very harsh when we visited last Sunday at mid day.

Plenty of Sand Martins are using the wall, seeing these stunning fast flying little birds is one thing and an absolute treat, but getting images of them on the wing is a real challenge that I failed to meet.

So this is the best that I achieved. Plenty of room for improvement.

Here in Northamptonshire we are so lucky to have reasonable numbers of these birds at such a relatively accessible site.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

One good Tern .........

It was good to get an image of a Common Tern with a nice background that, I feel, gives perspective to the shot, too often I just seem to get them floating in mid air.

I really like their bouncy flight and the way they twist, turn and hover before diving down to the water sometimes changing their minds at the last minute.

Lovely birds.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A common resident on the river ........

Along the River Nene we have no shortage of Black Headed Gulls who feed with great energy along and between the river banks.

I was very pleased with this in flight image because the eye contact was really good with  
excellent focus and colour.

Noisy they certainly are, but like all common birds they have their own little bit of visual magic and certainly presence.     

Monday, 8 June 2015

Sometimes we miss the bigger picture .....

With our use of '' long lenses'' and desire for close up images of our target birds.

I think that this image conveys quite a lot.

A Moorhen in a classic reed bed habitat, great light reflecting a blue sky on the surface of the water and a relatively calm windless day.

One of the main reasons we pursue this hobby of ours, is getting away from our daily pressures and enjoying intimate moments in our countryside no matter which country we call home. 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

A post of a post .....

Same post, same species, two seasons and two genders.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers seem to have a liking for this fence post and use it on a regular basis whilst in transit around this part of the Reserve.

This is great as it allows detailed study of the birds slightly different plumage.

Sadly the Female seems to have broken off the extreme tip of her upper mandible but looks healthy enough despite it..  

                                                         Spring - The Male 
                                                        Summer - The Female

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Yes ..... I know you are there behind me.

This image highlights the difference that the angle of light makes on the feathers of a Kingfisher, a fantastic colour effect.

The black upper and lower mandibles confirm that this bird is a male, if the lower mandible had a red / orange hue it would be a female.

Either way the Kingfisher, in my opinion, tops the British bird list as far as visual impact is concerned.     

Friday, 5 June 2015

One from the archives.

I have been a bit busy this week so I had a look into my archives and selected the above image of a female Red Breasted Merganser on a very choppy day on the Fylde coast in Lancashire.

A favourite long bodied sawbill of mine.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

What characters .....

Sedge Warblers are.

Normally skulking deep in the undergrowth uttering their very audible '' chrirring '' alarm call plain to hear for all in its vicinity.

When they do show however what clean cut little birds they are with great presence and visual impact.

Its always a loss to see them disappear when they start their return migration to Africa in late July, 3,900 Kilometers for such a small bird, amazing. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Merging with the background .....

Is what Treecreepers do well.

If it was not for the visible hint of white breast plumage this bird would be hardly detectable as it climbed jerkily up the trunk of this tree.

Silhouettes and their flitting movement helps to locate these birds in the first place, but otherwise they would be pretty anonymous.  

Monday, 1 June 2015

Full frame Goldfinch .......

What a stunning bird the Male Goldfinch is, a fantastic range and depth of colours in one bird.

This bird would not look amiss in a tropical environment.

On closer examination I was pleased to see that the image had picked up the cobwebs on the barbed wire.