Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Red Throated Diver

Red Throated Diver  

This beautiful Red Throated Diver was spotted flying into our Cornwall Birds reserve at Walmsley sanctuary near Wadebridge yesterday afternoon by Dave Thomas.

Unfortunately it looked to be having problems with oil on its feathers. This was probably why it had made its way inland and I watched it preening itself for quite a long time.

Today it was spotted flying out of the sanctuary but didn't get far as it crashed in the field behind the hides. Luckily one of our members found it and it has now been taken to get urgent veterinary treatment for the oil in its plumage and probably also in its stomach.

I couldn't resist a few photos as it is such a beautiful bird and although I've seen quite a lot of divers I was still amazed at how big it was when in the hand... or hands actually!

Fortunately it appeared quite strong and feisty so we all hope it survives its ordeal and can return to sea as soon as possible.

Our thanks to Geoff and Tom for literally taking it under their wings!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Cheetah in the Maasai Mara


I've been a bit lax in sorting out the photos from our safari in Kenya a few months ago but this cheetah image looked good as I was browsing so felt it warranted an airing!

A Merry Xmas and a Happy & Prosperous 2014 to all our friends.


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Autumn colours in December

The Polmorla stream

A few shots of the Polmorla stream and its river banks taken just a few metres from where I was born at Polmorla here in Wadebridge.

The natural colours have been so much better in early December than they were in the earlier months of a traditional autumn.

The Polmorla stream

Autumns reflections 

Friday, 6 December 2013

Woodland birds at feeding station


A few shots from our woodland feeding station that is beginning to attract a lot of birds.

All we need to do now is to get them to pose in the right places!


Great spotted Woodpecker

Blue Tit

Friday, 29 November 2013

A very amiable young Kestrel

Juvenile Kestrel

This young kestrel was having a fine time hunting along a stretch of the South Cornish coast yesterday and was incredibly approachable for photography.

On his back you could just see his adult plumage coming through as his moult progresses.

Juvenile Kestrel 

Juvenile Kestrel with adult feathers just coming through.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The ultimate test of Ed's squirrel-proof feeders!

With a great spotted woodpecker and a blue tit feeding happily on one of Ed's homemade squirrel proof feeders all was peaceful this afternoon until...... the ultimate test!

Ok it got a few bits of nuts out through the mesh but failed to demolish the whole thing and feast on the lot, as so often happens with the plastic variety of feeders.

Ed 1- Squirrel Nil...... but watch this space!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Kennal Vale Nature reserve

Kennal Vale   

We had a Cornwall Wildlife Trust Photographic Group field trip at the Kennal Vale reserve near Truro today.

Here are a few "slow shutter speed" shots of the river.

It was also good for fungi and I'll post them on here when I've sorted them all out and got some species names!

Kennal Vale

Kennal Vale

Sunday, 22 September 2013


White backed Vulture

To continue with some more photos from our recent safari in Kenya here are a couple of vulture pictures and I've updated my website with several more including some feeding on a wildebeest carcass.

Not everyone's cup of tea I know but they fascinate me and they also serve a very useful purpose in tidying up the remains after one and a half million wildebeest have moved on!

See more by going to my website by clicking here...

Ruppells Griffon Vulture

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Lions in the Maasai Mara

Lioness on a kill

Linda and I have just spent 9 days on a safari in Kenya, visiting Samburu, Aberdares, Lake Nakuru and finishing off in the Maasai Mara for 4  nights.

The number of animals was astounding and one started to get blase about "just another elephant"!

Here are a few lion images and there are more on my website by clicking here....

Male Lion

Lion cub at the kill

Friday, 6 September 2013

Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper with Dunlin in the background

This Curlew Sandpiper was on the island in the centre of the bridge in Wadebridge this afternoon.

It was amongst a handfull of Dunlin and some Black Tailed Godwit. There were also about 100 Redshank present but not a Spotted one amongst them!

Thanks to Will Delacour for alerting me.... and a warning to anyone birding here is to pay the parking charges on Commissioners Quay because they employ agents that can't wait to ticket you or clamp you if you should be a bit late back or don't park between the lines etc. (Fortunately not talking thro' experience other than watching others!).

Curlew Sandpiper

Monday, 2 September 2013

A young Puffin

Juvenile Puffin

We came across this young puffin about 2 miles north of Mouls island this afternoon.

A very encouraging sight as I'd watched adults carrying sandeels to the nest earlier in the summer.

Hopefully this is a bird from that island and thus a successful breeding result for Cornish puffins.

It was spending a lot of time peering in the water and scuttled across the surface away from us which looked like it was still unable to fly yet.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

North winds push the Gannets close to shore


The strong northerly winds were making the gannets on the north Cornish coast hug the shoreline as they passed down the coast.

I took advantage and set my camera up between the mainland and Mouls island off the Rumps near Polzeath.

Many birds passed by and just a few of them were really close. So close on occasions that I couldn't get the whole bird in frame with the 500mm lens.

Great to see!




Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Buff breasted Sandpiper

Buff breasted Sandpiper 

Davidstow airfield came up trumps again with an almost annual North American vagrant with this Buff breasted Sandpiper.

It took a bit of tracking down but out of pure luck it pitched up on the old runway near the tower with some dunlin and ringed plovers where they all preened and dozed.

Buff breasted Sandpiper  
Buff breasted Sandpiper

Friday, 23 August 2013

Dolphin delights

A dolphin leads a fishing boat out of the Camel estuary

An early morning departure from Wadebridge on the flowing spring tide at 05:45 paid dividends this morning as we encountered a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins feeding on the Doom Bar at the mouth of the Camel estuary.

There must have been up to 20 individuals including several youngsters.

Dawn was just breaking and the light levels were low so high ISO was the order of the day until the sun rose over the clifftops and lit the sea.

My grateful thanks to Will Delacour who persuaded me to set the alarm for 4:30 am. I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A white Mute swan cygnet in the brood

White cygnet 

I came across this white cygnet in a family of Mute Swans this evening. Both its other siblings were the normal brown colour and this one looked really odd, the bill is also a lot lighter.

On reading my books and a bit of googling I find there are a few possible explanations.... one being known as a "Polish Swan", which has pink legs and feet. The morph immutabilis ("Polish Swan") has pinkish (not dark grey) legs and dull white cygnets. (Wikipedia).

I don't have any photos that show the legs so that's a target for later in the week.

The other possibility is that it has a leucistic gene.

White cygnet 

On checking an earlier photo dated 6/6/2013 I now question whether one of the cygnets was whiter than the others on that occasion. Had I risked a better camera in the kayak then I may have been able to answer that question!

2 months ago when the cygnets were first introduced to the river, is the one nearest the Penn.

I found some interesting research at the following blog.....http://therattlingcrow.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/mute-swan-colour-polymorphism.html