Saturday, 30 January 2010

Common Snipe

The snows have returned, along with a large number (I counted 25 in all) of Common Snipe. We have seen a few this Winter but never in such numbers. Despite their name, Common Snipe are a comparitively rare sight for most, being largely a bird of open moorlands and wetlands. However I suspect the recent cold weather and snow has mean't they have had to vacate their usual habitats in the search for food, which is mainly insects and small invertibrates which they dig out with their long beaks.

The snow also signalled the return of our local Fieldfare, who has taken up his usual station on the rockery!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

High Fliers

The return of some clear weather yesterday gave me (in theory) the opportunity to photograph some high flying aircraft. Sadly not that many high fliers, and most inconsiderately stayed well to the north on the airway which routes from the London area towards Strumble Head. Nevertheless I managed this photo of a KLM Boeing 777. This is flight KL743 routing from Amsterdam to Lima, Peru. It crossed more or less directly overhead at 30,000 ft heading west.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Sentinel, aka Freddie!

Still here after 10 days, mostly spent (by day at least) on or around our rockery. Here are a couple more shots of our resident Fieldfare.

Blackbird, Song Thrush

As the cold weather continues opportunities to photograph the bird life arise that much more easily. The other day I went to put food on the bird table, which at the time was occupied by a Blackbird. It was only at the point when I started to tip some food onto the table that the Blackbird finally flew down to the ground, but even then remaining only a couple of feet away from me.

Although more shy, we have had Song Thrushes also coming up close to us waiting for food. And of course Freddie is still around, guarding his fruit!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


The Robin has for long be associated with Christmas Cards. Well, Christmas has passed, but the current conditions mean that the "festive" picture of a Robin is now attainable. Here is one at our somewhat frozen bird bath.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Return of Freddie?

Back in January 2009 we were adopted by a visiting Fieldfare. It was one of many we saw that year, but this particular one took up residence in our garden. No doubt influenced by the quantity of food, in particular some old apples we had thrown out, it proceeded to "stand guard" over the apples, and did so more or less constantly for over a month! During that time it demonstrated its stubborness in defending the apples (which we constantly put out for him/her) against all comers, be they Robins, Blackbirds or even Crows. Its typical day was to sit on the rockery outside the kitchen window, eat apples, chase off anything that approached them, and generally treat the garden as its own.

I say all this because a couple of days ago a single Fieldfare returned. Now some 500,000 or more Fieldfares migrate to the UK every Winter so the chances of the same one returning to the same place have to be regarded as slim. However this particular Fieldfare demonstrated exactly the same mannerisms, even to the point of sitting on the same rock on the rockery. I have taken numerous photo's both of the visit in January 2009 and this weeks visit, and the two birds look extremely similar. Are they the same bird? Of course we don't really know, but it would be nice to think that Freddie (thats the name we gave him last year....yes we have rashly assumed its a "him") has returned.

Photo's: Top "Freddie" in Jan 2009; Centre in Jan 2010 (is it the same bird?)

Saturday, 2 January 2010


Officially the UK's 2nd most common bird and other than the Blue Tit certainly the most common bird in our garden. This particular one seems to have cleared the bird table single handedly judging by its somewhat portly appearance! In reality of course its fluffed up to keep warm (temp was -4C when I took these photo's).

Friday, 1 January 2010


A Happy New Year to you all!

No this is not a view of the cosmos, but something a little closer to home. After much forecasted, but very little snow, we have finally had a fair amount of snow falling on and off during the latter half of the day. I thought I would try to photograph snowfall at night. The picture above was taken at 1/60th F3.2 with manual focus set at 2m. The illumination is caused by the flash.