Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Grizzly Remains

I reach the grand old age of 65 before I pick up a Barn Owl pellet for the first time. I did so on the pretext that my 5 year old granddaughter would be interested as to its contents, but as it turned out she was more interested in the telly, while Margaret and our next door neighbour were simply spellbound as we carefully unpicked the pellet.
Bones by the score, four rodent skulls intact and one in half, but what surprised me most was the amount of fur, as the fur unravelled and expanded I could have stuffed a small pillow with the stuff.
I hastily took a snap or two before consigning the remains to the bin, although I briefly thought of making a necklace and earrings with the skulls, Captain Jack Sparrow eat your heart out.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I was disappointed that this beautiful Barn Owl hid deep in the woodland, but now I love the image, it conjours up a picture from a fairy-tale book.
Tomorrow I hope to show the contents of a pellet I found close by, not so much a fairy-tale more a ghost story.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

It's the Equinox and Spring is Springing

Sunday March 21st is a day of equal day and night and officially the first day of spring and for once it felt like it with lovely warm sunshine, a welcome relief after such a harsh and prolonged winter.
Everything is going to plan on the wildlife front also, today as I walked through a woodland habitat I see my first Brimstone, Treecreepers and Coal Tits are busy house building as is a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, how it doesn't get a headache with all that hammering is beyond me. Frogs by the hundreds are mating and the frogspawn is multiplying before my eyes. A pair of Great Crested Grebe float fast asleep on the water, they wouldn't look out of place on fun fair fishing stall - just catch them in a net and claim your prize - but they are keeping a close eye on the prospective nest site.
By the time I get back to the car I feel I have walked through a Disneyland film set.....is that Bamby I see over there?

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Little Fish BIG Fish and no chips!!!!

We photographers find it hard to get things right at times - actually, most of the time in my case - short of having three cameras with different lens permanently attached and wheelbarrow to cart them around in, we have to second guess what's going to happen and have the correct lens attached for the forthcoming action.
My first encounter with a pair of wild Goldeneye wasn't going to plan as they were to distant with the 500mm lens alone, so I popped on the 2x converter to get a closer shot. Then, quite unexpectedly a Cormorant erupted from the water bang in front of me flailing a fish - I could hear him saying "who's a clever boy then" - by the time I swung the camera round, the event was over, he was swimming off to dry his feathers with a bulge in his neck. Bugger, lightning never strikes twice, but for once it did, almost in the same spot another Cormorant emerged - reminding me of the film Alien - this time it toyed with it's meal, a Carp or Rudd I think, with the converter on I really struggled to frame the scene as it was much to close, I would have got a much better shot with the 500mm on it's own.
Deciding this must be a good fishing place for the Cormorants, I returned a few days later, I also decided that under no circumstances would I even contemplate attaching the converter.
Well I waited and waited as photographers do, but alas no Cormorants.
Wait though, whats that in the distance? It's a Little Grebe, with a fish!!!! BUGGER!!! where's the bloody converter?

Monday, 15 March 2010

Tora Tora Tora

Yes for the past few days my house has been under constant attack from a pair of Long-tail Tits.
Our house is nothing if not fur coat and no knickers as we only employ a window cleaner to clean the front windows and not the back, but this has an upside as it is great for spiders as they are undisturbed in their conurbation, until that is, the tits decide to build a nest. They collect the web material to cement their fluff ball of a home together. All this endeavour has provided the Cookson household with great entertainment with constant coming and going of fluttering wing beats against the glass.
I have taken advantage of this activity shooting with my 28mm and 70-200mm lenses, but it hasn't been easy as they come in like whippets and dart all over the place, and of course the dirty glass didn't help.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

At Long Last a New Post

Finally I get round to updating my Blog.
Lately I have spent a lot of time watching a local Barn Owl, observing its habits as it hunts its prey. I have managed a couple of shots in the gloom of evening, but nothing to write home about, with patience that will be corrected.
On one of my early evening forays I was approached by a lovely couple Pauline and Neil who have a shared interest in photography and were interested in what I was up to. When they discovered that my interest is wildlife photography they enthused about the birds that visited their garden feeders. Amongst other species Great Spotted Woodpecker and Bullfinch are present all the time - my ears pricked up - would you mind if I visited I tentatively asked, not at all was the reply, you can even have a cup of tea while you take your photographs - now, how could I resist an offer like that.
So I bobbed down at the earliest opportunity and what a warm welcome. The birds as promised were merrily feeding away and the tea and chat was overflowing. After viewing Pauline & Neil's stunning underwater images and I mean stunning with a capital S, I got down to snapping from the lounge window.
I can put my hide up in the garden and shoot from there next time - sometimes life is simply wonderful. Thanks P&N