Tuesday 28 June 2011


 I've been watching several pairs of Whitethroats on territory as I walk our dogs each morning. Yesterday I spotted a male with food in its beak so thought it was time to try to get some photos.
It turned out easier than I had expected as despite a few grumbling alarm calls they continued feeding their brood in a dense bramble patch and every now and again stopping to pose for the camera.

Male whitethroat

Male whitethroat

Female whitethroat

Female whitethroat

Sunday 26 June 2011

A morning on Bodmin moor.

A morning visit to Bodmin moor today in unusually good weather turned up a couple of good butterflies, green hairstreak and small heath, which were showing in good numbers.
Also the heath spotted orchids were in full flower and varying colours although most were very pale and some almost pure white.
It was also nice to find bog asphodel in flower as I so often find the beautiful orange seed spikes but never the flower spike.
A meadow pipit also perched atop the gorse for its portrait.
The De Lank river

Small heath butterfly

Green hairstreak butterfly

Heath  spotted orchids

Heath  spotted orchid 

Bog asphodel  

Meadow pipit

Saturday 25 June 2011

Insects at Stepper quarry

A few shots of common blue butterfly and six spot burnet moth at Stepper quarry on Stepper point at the entrance to the Camel estuary on a very murky June afternoon with sea mist around all of the day.

Common blue butterfly 

Common blue butterfly  

6 spot burnet moth


A few more shots of a male siskin feeding on niger seeds on my garden feeders.

Male Siskin

Male Siskin

Male Siskin

Wednesday 22 June 2011


Last evening, (the summer solstice) I was invited by a friend to share the delights of watching badgers in their garden.
What a treat as an adult female and her cub foraged  and were later joined by another adult/sub adult. By this time it was getting very dark and the autofocus started to struggle and manual focus was necessary but difficult.
Anyway not bad for a first attempt at using remote flash and manual exposures.

Female badger

Female badger  

Female badger and cub foraging

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Finches in the garden

It was another rainy morning in Cornwall so not wanting to waste a day off work I thought I'd try some shots from the conservatory in the direction of my bird feeders.
A greenfinch pair were the first to arrive closely followed by our regular pair of goldfinches.

Then, to my great delight a pair of siskins turned up. I'd only seen a lone male twice at the feeders and then it looked very nervy and only stayed briefly. But today they were a pair of posers and stayed around on the niger seeds and the sunflower hearts for 15 mins or so.
I'll post some more shots at a later stage.

Male siskin

Female siskin

Male greenfinch


Saturday 18 June 2011

Chiffchaff at the nest

Thanks to Will for spotting this chiffchaff feeding young near Wadebridge. It was very used to people passing by so was remarkably unconcerned by a tripod sprouting from the nettles nearby.

I used my newly purchased remote control and pressed the shutter whenever I thought the adult was at the nest. (Oh the joy of digital..... I dread to think how many rolls of film I would have used with this type of "blind" photography!).

They were very good at dropping down into the vegetation at one place and then leaving the nest site from somewhere totally different.....obviously years of evolution.


Monday 13 June 2011

Bearded Tit.......a first for me!

Spent Saturday evening on the Somerset levels hoping to get my first ever views of Bearded tit. I was not disappointed (well only by the weather) and got a couple of shots of a juvenile.
I did see several juvs and a super male bird but it kept well down in the reeds away from my camera.
Reed & sedge warbler along with reed bunting were everywhere and bitterns were booming and feeding young in all directions.
Here are a couple of the bearded tit juvenile.

Juvenile Bearded tit

Juvenile Bearded tit

Sunday 12 June 2011

Roe deer

9:40 pm, and the light was virtually gone last evening when we came across this roe deer buck grazing in a meadow. Photographed from the car at 1/20th sec f4 at 400 ISO.

Roe deer buck

Roe deer buck

Friday 10 June 2011

Pied Wagtails

I am indebted to Ed Treverton for finding this cracking little nest of pied wagtails. Its built on the floor amongst a wood pile and I guess vulnerable to rats maybe but quite protected from magpies and cats.
To get the photos I used Ed's remote control on my Nikon and kept the camera well back on a tripod with a flash.
This entailed listening for the young birds begging for food and me pressing the remote as I couldn't see the nest from where I was perched some 15 metres or so away. Success rate was low, maybe about 20% had the adult or bits of it in the frame!
Fortunately the birds were very accommodating and I did get a few acceptable images.

Pied wagtails

Pied wagtails

Pied wagtails

Thursday 9 June 2011

Green woodpeckers leave the nest

This morning the green woodpeckers that I'd been watching finally left the nest. I'm still not too sure how many chicks there were as I saw 3 but more may have left earlier in the day.
I quickly realised that today was a big day in their lives when the adults were continually flying around the nest trees calling like mad but not actually bringing food to the nest.
Eventually the male bird landed below the nest with a beak ful of food and proceeded to tempt the first youngster out of the nest. When it happened the sun had gone in and it was raining which dropped my shutter speed to 1/50th sec. It was a rather unceremonious occasion for the chick as it over-reached and tumbled out with wings flapping and claws flailing for grip.

Green woodpecker chick

Male at the nest
Tempting the chick out with food
An unceremonious exit
Just fledged.
One in and one out.

Sunday 5 June 2011

Grey Wagtail

 I spent 4 hours sat in my hide next to the river this morning hoping to get shots of kingfisher or even otter. Both failed to turn up for a filming audition but they did send along 5 juvenile grey wagtails. One of these posed on my 'kingfisher' perch and it at least gave me something for the hours spent.

Grey Wagtail (juv). 

Grey Wagtail (juv).

Saturday 4 June 2011

Green woodpeckers nearly ready to fledge

Yesterday saw the great spotted woodpeckers leave the nest. They had been fantastic to watch and the photos were a bonus. I will never know how many chicks were in the tree cavity but they certainly mad a lot of noise.
The green woodpeckers are noisy when an adult lands on the nesting tree but its a much deeper call and not as incessant as its cousins.
Today I saw the young greens for the first time putting their heads out to greet the adults at feeding time. The great spotteds were visiting the nest every 10 minutes or so but the greens fill their crops with food and then regurgitate it to the chicks. I photographed the male at 08:00 this morning and then not again until 10:30 so they can try your patience a bit.

Female green woodpecker at nest

Female green woodpecker at nest       

Sand martin and swallows at Walmsley

I grabbed a couple of shots from the tower hide at Walmsley of a sand martin and some swallows that looked rather odd. One has a lot of white in its feathers, the second has a deformed beak and the third appears to be a possible martin/swallow hybrid if such a thing is possible. It was a fair distance away so the quality isn't too good!

Sand martin


Swallow with deformed beak

Possible Martin/ swallow hybrid?

Thursday 2 June 2011

Blue tit fledgling

Heard this newly fledged young blue tit calling for food in the lower branches of a tree in Coronation Park, Wadebridge. Couldn't resist a few shots!

Blue tit fledgling

Blue tit fledgling

Blue tit fledgling