Thursday, 27 April 2017

South coast today

The south coast was the order of the day again today to avoid the cold northerly winds once again,  My day started with a pair of Roe Deer at longrock on the way to check out Marazion Marsh, Their summer coats were beginning to take shape now and they were looking good in the morning sunshine
At the marsh the resident Grey Heron were busy catching fish for their pair of chicks but I fear for the smaller chick which is looking frail and possibly not getting its share of the catch
By contrast the warrens rabbits have been breeding "like rabbits" and the dozens of young bunnies out this morning were a delight to watch,

Farther east along the coast I watched this Little Egret above take four good sized Tompot Blennies and Shanies from a relatively small rock pool in less than thirty minutes,  What an amazing hunter they are and not surprizing that they have become so successful within the UK
 Today we finish with a shot of one of our local Kestrels as she takes a short break from incubating her latest clutch of eggs

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Cornish All Sorts

It was a good day for walking the south coast with cold but light northeasterly winds being tempered by plenty of sunshine.  I had not just one but two pods of Bottlenose dolphins pass by heading east towards Porthleven  just one hundred yards from the shore with eight and six animals respectively in the pods, Later in the day the two pods had joined up and passed again heading west towards Perranouthnoe

My next encounter was a pair of Chough where the male was regularly feeding the female and later I watched their behaviour as they fussed and preened each other showing  a very good bond,  Lets hope they produce another fine clutch of fledglings again this year,

At the bottom of the cliffs a pair of Heron Gulls were mating amid the low tide cord weed which produced an good contrast to their bright plumage

This  lovely male Linnet was in fine tune and singing its heart out among the flowering Gorse bushes

This female Kestrel is not one that I am used to working with but as I took a few shots it swooped into a granite outcrop in an awkward position and had to work hard to correct its flight path on leaving but it came away with yet another common lizard prey in its beak

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sunrise at Marazion Marsh

When I arrived at Marazion marsh the sun was just climbing up over the horizon, A lazy morning mist filtered through the reed beds, There was little to no wind so the still waters of the marsh produced perfect reflections to the still sleeping resident Mute Swans illustrated below,

A Grey Heron flew in and after warming up in the early sun it was time to provide Breakfast for two Hungry chicks on a reed nest at the west end of the marsh,

The rabbits along the warren began to emerge from there burrows and the sun light filtered nicely through their translucent  pink ears

The resident swan had been woken by a pair of incoming noisy Canada geese that just had to be evicted immediately

The stone wall snails all along the marsh boundary were all quietly rushing back into rock crevices to avoid the harsh rays as the sun climbed higher,

A young lady ventured out onto the adjacent beach on a pony as I was leaving,  It obviously didn't like the wave action of the sea and it was interesting to watch the rider patiently trying to coax the pony into the shallows, No joy !

Focus on a buck Roe Deer

Focus on a Buck Roe Deer,
This morning was a far brighter morning than yesterday so I called in at Longrock deer field on my way to Marazion marsh for a change of scene,  There were seven deer out grazing on the lush grass,  One buck and six does that all looked fine with the early morning glow shining on their coats,  After taking a few shots I moved on to the marsh to watch the sun rise over the reed beds with lazy morning mist filtering through them forming a lovely setting perhaps for an Otter to swim or a Purple Heron to fly over but not this morning,  I whiled away an hour or so working on amongst other things young bunnies and wall snails ( check out the following blog ) then returned past the deer field again on my way back to my car in glorious sunshine,  The fine young buck featured below was still out grazing in the field close to Newtown lane hedgerow so I reset my kit and snapped away recording its movements for around thirty minutes,

It was grazing while working its way towards me looking very nice with its fur covered new horns and most of its summer coat nearly complete

I smiled when as I took my first frame as he looked up and stamped his feet at the sound of my shutter firing but he could not see me behind the hedgerow

He settled back to grazing and I took the rest of these images in sequence with passing cars so as not to disturb him further and eventually headed for home leaving him in peace

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Grey Day Blues,

Grey Day Blues,

Following what had been a beautiful clear sky last night,  The clouds rolled in from the north this morning killing off what could have been a cracking sunrise, So as I arrived at our local Roe deer location at Longrock early AM the light levels were going down instead of up and the only way to achieve reasonable shutter speeds on the deer was at the cost of high ISO levels of 6400,  Two Roe deer in the field were about two thirds of the way through moulting their winter coat but still looked quite pleasing,  The first deer looked up at the sound of my shutter firing a single shot but stood her ground but the second one was away still chewing a mouthful of grass,  her withdraw spooked the first deer which ran off after the second so that was the end of today's deer shoot !


I decided to withdraw as well and went off to try check out our south coast kestrels, The female was sitting tight on her clutch of six eggs which can look lovely at sunrise which is the only time that the sun is at the right angle to shine into the nest,  but not so today,  It was all looking a bit grey in there but I waited for around an hour for the female to lift off of the eggs to make sure that all was well and grabbed the high ISO images below before heading off  home for some high ISO breakfast,

Thursday, 20 April 2017

North coast Peregrine

North cliffs Peregrine,

Having taken my wife to college on a lovely bright spring morning on Wednesday I found myself with a few hours to kill prior to pick -up time so I headed north for a walk along the dramatic North Cliffs,  Being always on the look-out for wildlife I do occasionally get a sighting or two of the Peregrine and Kestrel that thrive along this coast, and this was my lucky day as the first thing a saw when I looked down over the cliffs was this male Peregrine looking back at me from an outcrop about thirty metres down a sheer drop to the sea,  The downward angle to the bird precluded the use of a tripod to work on it so it was hand held only which bearing in mind that I was right on the cliff edge, I often find that the lens movement can upset my own sense of balance so I only took three multi shutter releases and moved on along the coast enjoying my walk,  I finally downloaded the results last night and was delighted with each of the exposures below,

Cornish Kestrels Mating Part 22

Cornish Kestrels Mating,

When it comes to mating kestrel images I believe that today presented me with the finest opportunity I have had to work with a pair of birds that due to their behaviour patterns over three hours during the morning enabled me to predict where their next mating would probably take place during the afternoon,  I relocated my kit and waited for the moment,  The female kestrel was already present so I was able to pre-set my camera angle and composition by locking my lens onto her via my gimbal and also pre-set all camera settings including focus and remote shutter release,  What seemed like a long 50 minutes later the male arrived with prey,  She was already calling to mate so the male quickly stashed his lizard in some vegetation and in his hurry to mate made a very tight turn and crash landed on the females back and as you can see by the first image below, It looked somewhat clumsy,

But he soon gained some composure to continue what  tends to look like a difficult balancing act to complete anyway

It was interesting to watch the male continuously adjusting his balance by dramatic wing coordination

I am not sure but the mating sequence often seems to terminate at the time that the female looks back upwards towards the male

The male dismounts and returns to the hunt perhaps forgetting the lizard that he had brought in earlier but maybe the female has spotted it anyway

I  returned home a happy chappy and so pleased to capture a full frame front on mating sequence where the composition contains an unbroken clear sky backdrop creating good contrast to the birds that are well lit by sunlight from a shadow free direction and it has only taken seven years to achieve it !

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Cornish Kestrels part 21

Focus on the Male Kestrel,

The female Kestrel has had the lions share of my blog since it was first published back on the fifth of February this year, This has been mainly due to the fact that the female tends to spend more time around the nest site area during the build up to the incubation period and is still able to forage for her own prey if it is not forthcoming from the male, prey hand overs and mating tend to occur more randomly over a larger area so that the photography is more difficult to bring together, Things change at the start of the incubation period which begins some time around the laying of the fourth egg at which time the female will not want to leave her eggs, So she now needs the male to bring prey to the nest site to hand over to her,  This year our incubation period started just five days ago on the 13th April and we now have a total of six eggs under incubation

So our male Kestrel below has been more in focus over the last few days and bringing prey to the female on a more regular basis

Mating still continues even though the pair now have a full clutch of eggs,  Six is the maximum number of eggs recorded over the last six years.  The male will often hang around after a prey delivery looking to mate with the female before she returns to her eggs and he will then be off hunting again,

Today was a good day for mating images with four such events recorded during a four hour period and as we are focusing on the male I included this close portrait shot of him in action,  lovely bird !

And so when the fun is all over he will be off foraging for more prey to keep his new family going.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Longrock Roe Deer

Longrock Roe Deer,

Early on a very quiet Easter Sunday morning I spotted three Roe deer grazing on the near side of the field adjacent to Newtown lane opposite Cheshire homes.  I parked away from the location, assembled my camera system and walked very quietly back along the road side hedgerow to within thirty yards of their location before setting my tripod ready to take a few shots,  I recognised these deer as a mother and her young of last year and I new that at this short distance my cover would be blown due to shutter noise once I took a shot,  I waited for what seemed like an eternity for passing traffic to drown out the noise but eventually achieved the pleasing image below of them watching as a car passed by,

With a few shots in the can I tried out my single shutter noise theory and the deer were straight on to me and made an immediate quick exit out of the field,

Thinking that was it for this morning I shouldered my kit to walk away when a fourth deer sauntered out from a blind spot in  the hedgerow right in front of me,   Far from being spooked it continued to eat selected fresh vegetation from between the long grasses just ten yards in front of me,  Resetting my camera I was able to take images of this rough looking doe which seemed preoccupied with feeding for the next fifteen minutes and I was even able to use the hedgerow as cover to pass by for a better camera angle.

The deer was now walking slowly towards me while randomly feeding on route and was back within the ten yards range when I moved slightly to achieve this portrait image below and spooked it.

This time the deer responded as the others had predictable done and was off  across the field in seconds leaving me with the parting shot below of another memorable encounter.

I dropped back down to the Roe deer field after publishing this blog early this morning,  No doe's about but the resident Buck moved across the field looking like he owned the place,  I took a few shots when he stopped just before Newtown lane Hedgerow which he effortlessly jumped shortly afterwards and ran down the road and jumped over the gate into Marazion marsh,  what a supurb animal !!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Easter Special : Cornish Underwater Photography

Cornish Underwater Photography

This blog is a bit of a 'Blast from the Past'  I am often asked about my underwater photography by Photographers and other people I meet while out and about in Cornwall so I thought I would dig out a few Cornish underwater images all of which were taken before 2010 at various locations around the coast,   So lets start with the big boys! This Basking shark was encountered feeding within the surface waters off of the Manacles while diving with boat skipper Gary Fox of Dive Action out of Porthoustock,  It was taken using a 10.5 fisheye lens at a distance of one foot to reduce the blurring effect of Plankton suspended in the water column between the lens and the subject,

I worked with mating Cuttlefish at several locations in Cornwall and this particular group of four males were all competing to mate with a smaller female being protected by the bottom right male,  This  memorable encounter was recorded at Sennon Cove

These Cuttlefish can be very aggressive and as can be seen in the image below the Male's have a very powerful beak located to the centre of their tentacles which can inflict serious damage on contact

 This amazing rainbow eye detail belongs to a three foot long Anglerfish located on the seabed at the Manacles,  The eye detail was captured using a housed Nikon D200 in a housing with a 60 mm macro lens and a pair of remote flashguns

This Candy Stripped Flatworm was taken free swimming at Prussia Cove on a shore dive using the same camera system as the eye above

This magnificent Compass Jellyfish was encountered during a Night Dive out from Lamorna  Cove while looking for previously seen Red Gurnard
This somewhat fearless Hermit Crab housed within a whelk shell was also out foraging during the same night dive, It eventually fell victim to my camera,

Mounts Bay came up with this distorted Plaice face which occurs when one eye migrates to the opposite side of the fishes head as it becomes bottom dwelling

And another more commonly bottom feeding Candy Stripped Flatworm grazes its way over a Boring Sponge at the same location

Jewel Anemones  of rainbow colours thrive in the high energy areas around the Cornish coast, These bright red and lime green ones were located on rocks off of the headland at Logan's Rock

This colourful male Cockoo Wrasse and the fine Lobster below it were taken on one of many magical dives on the wreck of The City of Westminster at the Runnel stone while diving with boat skipper Bill Bowen.

This male Lumpsucker was found protecting and cleaning its egg mass in the shallow water kelp beds off of Pemberth Cove

And the final image is one of one of my daughters 'Anna' taking wide angle scenic shots on the colourful Manacles reef out from the Lizard,

Well I hope that you find some of this old work interesting,  It has certainly brought back some fine memories of what used to be a daily way of life for me, 
But hey I really enjoy what I do now as well !!