Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday and waxwings!

Trip to Folkestone.
Waxwings and coffee at friends who are so struck by the pretty waxwings they will be seeing them tomorrow on the way to work!

The above is a cropped pic, I will need to look at the others....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Birding!

Went to Cornwall to see a Snowy Owl!
Stayed over just outside Penzance and returned on Boxing Day via a Hooded Marganser.

Two lifers (if the Hooded is recognised as a wild one!)...302 year list!

(further details to follow)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday 23rd December

A trip to Barnes, nice quiet day as far as people went!

Birds were a bit quiet too - still we went primarily to take photos, I had a little surprise up my sleeve for my friend...some newly arrived birds. Ok so they are in the collection...but what birds! Brilliant!
Here are 3 Demoiselle Cranes - they arrrived from Martin Mere and will spend the next three years at Barnes - going back to breed as part of the captive breeding programme.They arrived on the 26th November - this was the first time I went to see them- thinking Pat will really enjoy these. She did and took lots of photo's _ I didn't take that many - Pat had my 100- 400 lens - I had her - up to 300 lens which ius brill but you can get as close!
Sometime in 2009 Barnes may also get some Eurasian Cranes...I prefer to see them in Norfolk!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Well I went on a dip today!
Non showing Penduline Tits at Rainham Marshes!
Yes I really wanted to go round the M25 today - still what we do for our art!

So to cheer myself up I had a look at my SA pics and thought ahh i give you

Later this week I will visit Barnes to see what might be about with cameras and friend...who wants to see a Kingfisher. We never see one - altho I have seen them at Barnes when she isn't with me and there are other local places where I see 'em and guess what? Yup they hide when she is around.

So lets see.

Oh yes Waxwings are on their way to West London (I hope!! Talons crossed!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Swan at Slimbridge in December

Well lets have another go!

I took this Swan at Slimbridge about 4.20pm on Saturday 6th Dec in the last rays of the light.I have cropped the swimming swan as I was trying for reflection.
The flying swan was just lucky - a bird just happened to flying in from the fields and I tracked it I took two shots, this was the one I liked best.
As ever I forgot to start with the last photo so these are not in the right order...I will do better next time.
I have a couple of Goldeneye photo's but I need to do something with one of the male as it is too dark. Have to wait until I can sort out photoshop! (Thats scary as I usually only crop!)

Anyway any good shots and its thanks to a few helpful hints from Andy Rouse (in the seminar) any rubbish shots thats down to me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A couple of Swans

Well there will be when I can sort out my pics...arrrghhh!

They wont load on blogger at i edited the post.

Will be back soon!

There will also be more SA photo's!!

Rare Gull on Shetland

A 1st winter Ivory Gull has been found on Fetlar, Shetland.

For Hugh Harrops photo's see here

The finder posted pics on Nature Shetland here

his name escapes me at mo.....Brydon Thomason his comment
"Rather astonishingly it turned up on a small beach I've been intentionally baiting since mid November!"

Thats a stunner.......

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Bagpuss Clanger with Noggin

Oliver Postgate who entertained me as a school then college student and a young teacher, has died. I am sure nobody in the UK has missed this news. Strangley - well perhaps not after my initial "oh, thats sad" - I immediately smiled as I remembered my favourites "The Clangers".
Their little knitted bodies and their perfectly understandable "whistles" with expressions - ears and noses can say the most wonderful things!I thoroughly enjoyed them.
Then I remembered Noggin the Nog - that was at Secondary school. So very clever!

Now I saw very little TV at college itself - little time but The Clangers!
a lovely obituary here

pics here

A UTUBE tribute here
That was the very first then came

I'd forgotten Pingwings!

Bagpuss came much later to my notice than the TV series.There is a small Bagpuss sitting in my car keeping an eye on me when I drive!

They all make me smile! with a little tear in the corner of my eye!
Thank you Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin

I will edit this later so the links click through but I have to go now!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Visions of Light Seminar - Andy Rouse

Well I went to Slimbridge on Saturday. Of course I was birding!
On route Red Kites in the Chilterns - and Buzzards from the Chilterns to Slimbridge.
Corvids but no Ravens -sigh.
On arrival in the fields outside the centre - Bewick's and what a racket they were making...a lovely racquet!(LOL) I just love Bewick Swans.
Later I took some pics of some Bewicks and Mute Swans.Also BHGulls and lots of Ducks.
I tried taking a Water Rail but it was too far away.
There was a lovely perching Peregrine a great way off visible in the scope!
I dont have my list with me -will edit this later.

But we went there for a Seminar with top Wildlife Photographer Andy Rouse.

Biog if you need one!-

but you will recognise his photographs....front cover of BBC Wildlife Mag this month! Tiger.
on first page.

Well remember I am an amateur with the old pics....but I have now been on a couple of Photography workshops involving animals with John Wright of Photographers on Safari - which were good as I had some hands on help.
Still too technical for my brain but John saw I loved my Birds and Big Cats and gave just the right help with my limited knowledge for meto get some good shots-well one or two, of course Pat being a brill photographer (IMO) picked up loads and had some stunning images.

So when I was asked would I like to go on this seminar I said yes, then thought afterwards help - its a seminar and i will get talked at and I will not understand the technical!
Pat instructed me to take notes to help me get better photos and write down anything you need to ask me afterwards.

Well if you get the opportunity to go on a seminar or even to a talk by Andy Rouse - just do it - to quote a famous phrase.(Actually, thinking about it - dont all of you book up - in fact dont go- he mentioned that there was a waiting list for our seminar of 300 -yes 300!- I might never get on the next seminar that I do want to go on!)
He was brilliant and funny, very funny and so totally fresh. He has opinions - strong ones and expresses them with a refreshing enthusiasm.
Now all of you who know me, know I like enthusiasm!
He also debunks a lot of the myth of the "professional" photographer.
I shall leave you if interested to read an interview I found on the net he gave a while back and the message is in there too!

see here

He illustrates his seminar with his photographs. He explains what he was doing, he answers questions fired at him including technical stuff.

A lot is simple stuff.
Warehouse Express were there as well - they sponsor Andy (he does a lot of the reviews of new stuff....cameras/ lens)
One of the staff a guy called Ben who has helped me order stuff in the past was there -" I dont do technical" - used to be my cry when I was teaching ITC - "thats why I have a Network Manager!" Ben used the expression KISS - Keep it simple stupid.
Now I like that.
Andy knows all that stuff but he does keep it simple. The questions from a lot of the men there was full of technical jargon, I didn't understand a lot of the questions - but I certainly understood a lot more of the answers!

I learnt a lot - simple phrases are running round my head.

We were so fortunate that the weather was clear and the light was good no, great!So we had a 2 hour break in the afternoon to go take some pics!

Andy was going off to some remote area of the reserve with James Lees one of the Reserve Wardens- to do some photography.He was highly complimentary of James photography.

I took Pat to the Flamingo's- we saw the Cranes but they are so carefully
shielded from the public that no opps there. We walked through the collection...Pat said - if you want to go and look at your birds I'll catch you up - so off I went to the Zeiss Hide.

We returned to the seminar (I'll put some comments on Corinna's pages about the birds seen) and Andy showed us his technique for photo shop....very basic stuff that even I followed most of!
By now I was very tired in my brain.

A fantastic experience - Andy Rouse rocks! Yes I like the guy -he tells it like it is and I do like that!

S'funny another wildlife photographer I like is another guy who can be controversial - Hugh Harrop.
What do these two have in common?
A passion for wildlife and doing everything that puts wildlife first.
They also spend time with amateurs and pass on their knowledge.

I spoke with James at the end of the seminar - Andy was surrounded by people- he said "He is different in the field, nothing about camera's just wildlife!" I expect he can talk cameras but clearly the Wildlife comes first!

I had a great time.

Guess what? When we got back Pat asked me if I had taken many photos.
No said I not many at all. Yesterday I down loaded over 50!
I surprised myself. Some are actually quite good...I think I was influenced by what I had heard.
Cant say fairer than that!

I will post a couple later, these have had nothing done to them except I might crop one or two. But they have my copyright. (I learnt that from the seminar).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Elephants and almost a close shave!

After the mudbathing Elephant, some more Elephants doing what they do! 20 hours a day well a very long time anyway...leaves and shoots! So trees with new shoots on get knocked down and the new leaves and shoots - ah delicious get eaten!

Well we came across a group doing just this and a lovely baby ahhhhhhh!
Then I realised that another Adult was coming straight at us and as you see trumpeted! We removed ourselves, clearly this Ellie wasn't in the mood for photographers!
As we left I managed a final ahhhh pic!


Friday, December 05, 2008

More Elephants (mud bathing)

We then came across this group of Elephants having the time of their lives! They were mud bathing and having great fun!

Unfortunately most of my pics were on my compact and they didn't come out well on the pc - they look ok on the camera screen but not converted!


The first group of Elephants I saw in the Kruger - were fantastic
every sighting had that wow factor!
I like Elephants!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Some pics from Kruger

I will never get used to the fact that the pics go on backwards in the wrong order.

First Giraffe I saw, the first Elephants and the view from the little plane from Jo'burg to Phalaborwa.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I realise that i just havent got the time at the moment to write up my trip report in detail so i am going to do a quick version and then do it in more detail later!

Its very interesting when you return from as action packed a trip as the one to SA.There are memories that are at the top of your list, there are others that lie dormant until something triggers them and others that I expect will only arise when speaking to one or two of the other trip birders!

Well as I have gone through the photo's I remember things.

In the Kruger - just how tired I was on our arrival as we travelled overnight so didn't get much sleep - SAS have some of the least comfy seats in Economy and that was having two seats to myself! its the design of the armrests they do not go right back so which ever way you attempt to get comfy some part of you has a hard armrest digging into you!Then we reach SA and excitement - at the airport at Jo'burg watching the first southern african birds.....the small plane to Phalaborwa...was interesting - with its propellers!
My luggage didn't arrive - drat to not putting a long sleeve shirt into my hand luggage - the last min T-shirst was good!Mike also didn't have his luggage! However it came on the next fliht which we didn't know until the next morning - as the gates to the HP closed after that flight comes in ...but not having suntan lotion or anti bug stuff was a bit disconcerting and I had to buy stuff - that a) i only needed for a short while and b) was not the same quality! THe long sleeve lightweight jacket I bought was a really good buy tho - so not all bad.

Some pics!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sean the Sheep

Sean the Sheep has won a major prize

An International Emmy.