Monday 31 August 2020

South Wales - 27th August

With three possible raptors to be seen and photographed at close range, it was definitely time to return to South Wales for a session at Ian Howells' woodland hide. 

Again an early start was needed to meet Ian at 07:00. On arrival at the hides, it was surprising to come across a certain Mark Chivers, who seems to have become semi-resident here, in his quest for further Goshawk photos! There were two hides available, so social distancing wasn't a problem. 

The day started quite well with the juvenile male Sparrowhawk coming in first, looking quite different from my previous trip in mid July. It's moult was now well advanced and the characteristics of adult plumage, particularly the grey back, were clear. In a few weeks it could be a very smart bird if it is still showing.

While the Sparrowhawk was around, in came a Buzzard which was great to see and photograph as I'd only had a fleeting glimpse of it previously. 

However from mid morning, the weather became a real problem. The forecast for today had been steadily deteriorating through the week and so it proved with around 5 hours of heavy and persistent rain from mid morning until well into the afternoon. Unsurprisingly during this time no raptors were seen. At one point the forecast was indicating rain for the rest of the day but fortunately it cleared and there was even a little sun and calm conditions from about 16:00 onwards. 

Expectations were then high in both hides for an appearance of the star of the show - the Goshawk. But regrettably it was not to be. 

Only the Buzzard re-appeared which was at least something. Thereafter we thought we had better stay until around 19:30 just in case the Goshawk came in late. So over 12 hours in the hide which was surprisingly cool during all the rain. Still the Buzzard pics made it worthwhile...

For a gallery of all my Buzzard photos from this session, with links to larger images, go to this page on my website

Also click on the captions for larger images of those photos shown below.

And finally a couple of photos of the much changed juv male Sparrowhawk from the morning:

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Bourne, Lincs 5-6 August

Back at the start of August, we had a great 20hr session in the luxurious Pool Hide at Wildlife Photography Hides near Bourne, Lincs. At night, the targets were Otter, Tawny Owl and Grey Heron, which all appeared and showed well. The day was much quieter with the useful activity confined to the very early morning.

It has taken me until now to sort out my photos, although there are still some more that look worthwhile to process!

To see a gallery of more of my photos from this session, go to this page on my website.

Here is a taster to whet your appetites. For each, you can click on the caption to see a larger image. 

The Otters (up to 3) were definitely the stars of the show and the ones we most wanted, and they didn't disappoint, showing several times through the night:

Over at the perches, the attraction was the Tawny Owls that showed much more briefly from time to time, mainly shortly after dusk and then much later just before dawn.

When the Otters weren't present, there was a Grey Heron for entertainment. The still conditions gave some great opportunities for reflection shots, such as this one:

When the dawn arrived, and the night visitors had melted away, the resident Kingfishers appeared. I managed to catch them mating very briefly:

The male turned out to be very tatty, but the female, that showed only early morning, was in better nick. During the day she was apparently incubating her third brood!

To see a gallery of more of my photos from this session, go to this page on my website.

Saturday 1 August 2020

South Wales - 15 July

Today I followed in Mark's footsteps to South Wales for a session at Ian Howells' woodland hide setup which has started attracting a juvenile Sparrowhawk as well as some other but so far regrettably much less reliable larger raptors.

An early start was needed as I had agreed to meet Ian at 07:00, but it proved to be a good day with four visits from the Sparrowhawk with two of these lasting for more than 30mins. Just as I was about to leave a Buzzard landed momentarily of one of the perches, at a distance of about 4m, before flying off. Unfortunately I didn't have time to adjust the zoom and take any shots. Two days later apparently there was an even better visitor in the form of a Goshawk that actually stayed to have its photo taken by one very very lucky photographer! It hasn't returned while anyone has been in the hide since...

Here is a selection of the photos I took that day, starting with a couple of my attempts at capturing some action (which isn't was most seem to do).

For a gallery of all my photos from this session, with links to larger images, go to this page on my website.