Sunday, 31 December 2017

Stithians today

With the water levels at Stithians southern cut-off rising to the level of the bank in front of the hide the Male Kingfisher is gradually moving to perch points a lot closer to the hide to fish so I am hoping for some good results over the next couple of weeks,
  The Long Tailed Tits were showing well and mixing their foraging between local insects and plant shoots and the occasional mass attack on the fat ball feeders,

The female Great Spotted Woodpecker also split her time between fat balls and grubbing under local tree bark and dead wood

The little Siberian Chiffchaff was as busy as ever,

And the greenfinch which looked immaculate yesterday was now definitely now looking the worse for wear with the current morning weather conditions,

Today marks the end of my first Year of producing this blog with just over 250 blogs posted throughout the Year,  I love Cornwall and its wildlife and would like to offer a big Thank You  !! to all of you for showing your interest in this blog  and I wish you a very..........                                                                                                    
                                                                   HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Stithians yesterday

The most Long -tailed Tits that I have seen at Stithians southern cut-off hide is ten and yesterday they all descended on one very busy fat ball feeder at the same time creating quite a spectacle,

The female Great Spotted woodpecker which is a regular in the trees and nut feeders was foraging on the ground under the feeders, Its the first time that I have seen her feed in this manner and she will need to watch out as this is the preferred attack location of the local male Sparrowhawk,  The male Woody stayed up in the trees perhaps taking on the role as look-out for the female but he looked safer and more interested in digging under the tree bark for grubs,

A fine pair of Greenfinch were heading the pecking order on the sunflower hearts feeder and when all other rivals were seen off they turned on each other,  A Chiffchaff was ever busy picking off insects along the water margins and finally a flighty little Firecrest put in quite a long show in the same area but without coming as close as seen on some occasions for an uncropped image,

Kennell Vale Part Three

Perhaps a bird that anyone can capture a few shots of in their own garden and I would certainly have a choice between two that visit ours on a regular basis but this little chap was the star of the show at Kennell Vale on Thursday and it refused to go unnoticed for the whole time that I spent waiting in the cover of a holly bush for the illusive Dipper to return.  I had no hand-outs to offer so it started by almost trying to get under my feet looking for disturbed bugs and at one stag it was so close to my face on the holly that I had to put my reading glasses on to focus on it and as a finally before I left it popped on to the front of my 500mm lens while I still had my hand on the shutter release,  " A Star Performer " indeed,

Friday, 29 December 2017

Kennell Vale part 2

Following on from the Kennell Vale Dipper in last nights blog:  While waiting for the Dipper to return I also had a very nice show from a Grey Wagtail that flew into one on the quieter shallows for a wash and brush-up, It spent several minutes splashing about with its body lowered into the water and even completely submerged itself on two occasions,  I wondered if it might be aping the Dipper which does so constantly when foraging for larva.  Bath-time over and this colourful lively bird spent a little time wading along the top of one of the rivers gentler falls  picking off a few submerged insects before flitting off further up steam.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Kennell Vale Dipper

With good light levels and gentle breezes today seemed to be a good day to revisit Kennell Vale to try my luck with the illusive Dipper,  The first two phone images below show the area that the Dipper seems to favour which is about 100m upstream from the bridge,

One of the Dipper was showing quite nicely when I first arrived but I had under-estimated the popularity of this location on a nice day during school holidays and the bird aborted its underwater larva hunting and disappeared downstream as the first family of visitors passed by on the opposite side of the river,  The Dipper did return later but was soon to be disturbed again within minutes of its arrival, By noon the trickle had become a regular steam of visitors and as much as it was good to see families out enjoying the natural beauty that Kennell Vale has to offer, I conceded,  accepted that I should pull out and return on a similar day during term time to enjoy the behaviour of these amazing birds when they are undisturbed.

While waiting for the Dipper to re-show I watched a couple of Grey Wagtails feeding and bathing in the water and a closely approaching local Robin befriended me and ended up flying onto the end of my 500mm lens while I still had my finger on the cameras shutter release,  I have had enough for today but I will edit these images and present Kennell Vale Part two and maybe three in the morning.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Redwing & Starling Portraits

The local fields at the west end of Ashton  on the A394 were busy with flocks of Redwing numbering into the hundreds today,  All were busy predating on an abundance of worms close to the surface due to the levels of recent rain,  They were a bit skitty and all left when I first arrived armed with a new 2x Nikon Teleconverter but given time when they returned I was able to work close enough for several full frame portraits,  I also completed a few portraits of a squadron of raiding Starlings that just had to get part of the action in the same field.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Nikon 2x Teleconverter,

I was lucky enough to find a Nikon 2x Teleconverter in my Xmas Stocking this year,  I have tried them before with various Nikon flagship cameras and always been disappointed with the results and sold them on but I heard some reports from photographers using them on the Nikon D5 body with increased success due to the cameras excellent ISO capabilities,  The increase in focal length doubling to a 1000mm certainly has its place with distant subjects and smaller one at closer distances too,  The first two images below show ariels installed on a water tower 380m from my home using the 500mm on the first and 500mm +2x converter on the second

For small subjects closer in I have worked with a female Blackcap,  All images were taken at ISO 6400 in poor light levels to achieve shutter speeds above 1/200th sec with max aperture of F4 on the straight 500mm and a max of F8 available with the 2x converter,  The first un-cropped image below was taken the straight 500mm lens and the following two are un-cropped with the 2x converter added

I am certainly more impressed with this 2x converter when used in combination with the Nikon D5 body than I have been on previous cameras especially bearing in mind the poor light levels prevailing today but it is early days yet and I look forward to seeing what might be improved upon during the New Year

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Ryan's Field early AM

As I arrived at Ryan's field on a grey Xmas eve morning a large flock of several hundred Golden Plover flew in to join a few lapwing that were present on one of the small islands, Several Curlew were busy fishing for worms on the margins and even five Snipe were out from their cover,  A lone Grey Wagtail was foraging in front of the hide and a pair of Little Egrets flew in together, fished for a short while and left together looking for greener pastures,  Several black headed gulls seemed to be paired up and displaying to each other and four Dunlin that had been wading the margins headed off out over the estuary,  It was time for me to be off as well as I had a special family dinner to turn out for this evening and a fine Duck to prepare for Xmas dinner tomorrow,  Merry Xmas !!