Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Cliff's

Bempton was the main attraction for going to East Yorkshire on Holiday so it was only fair we would rack up a fair few sea bird images on the trip. We made two visits to bempton Cliff's, one pleasantly on my Birthday. I ended up with a variety of images, you wouldn't think images of Gannets in flight Could vary much but the light often changed, though not always for the better.

These images are a mix of both Days, however the first day didn't end up as good as we'd hoped as the Wind direction was wrong for the birds to fly high and we were mostly looking down on the birds, not the best thing for photography.

This was my favourite shot from the first day as it's unlike anything I've caught before.

It was nice to see a Gannet Sat quite close by, We had them even closer last year right at the top of the cliff but a plague of Pollen Beatles made it a struggle to appreciate what we had on offer.

This Gannet flew Past, no not with a cigarette in it's mouth! But a Single Large Feather, Probably doing some nest building, though it must be slow progress.

A close fly by of a Gannet.

Also a fair bit easier to Capture on camera this year were the Kittiwake's, which were flying back and forward between the fields collecting large amounts of grass for Nesting Material, a bit of field craft watching there flight path allowed a few good shots but the sky had greyed over at that point creating often flat images.

Next time I'll finish off my Sea bird Adventure with more from Bempton's fantastic Cliff's.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Visiting the Appleyard

I'm Back from my holiday now but didn't manage to get any processing done over the weekend. I did however process a few images taken of a curious looking duckling at a small roadside pond close to Bempton after I got back to unwind.

This little fella wasn't being too well accepted by the other ducks and was a bit of an outcast. Im still unsure if it's come from the resident pair of ducks, but assuming it has it's either leucistic or a pure hybrid from the hybrid female.

I noticed the Female parent as she was quite white in colour. Oddly I never even looked at the male, only wish I had now. I later found out from trusty google that the female duck is a Silver Appleyard Miniature, one of many Hybrid duck breeds out there.

There was also a healthy population of what looked to be standard Mallard ducklings, I guess I'll never know if they turn out to be normal mallard ducks or hybrids, and if the shunned duckling makes it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Yorkshire Holiday - Bempton's Hidden Gem

When people go to Bempton it's usually for the Cliffs and the wonderful Seabirds, massing together on the Cliffs in Great Colonies. But it's a bird that gets less attention that I enjoyed photographing whilst there recently the Tree Sparrow. I've never seen one in North Wales where I live, but they do breed in some sites locally. At bempton they've taken residence in the Bird Boxes placed On the visitors Centre as well as by the looks of it in the roof tiles! Adults can be seen busily heading back and forward between the feeders and the nests. I was privileged to see lots of fledglings whilst there often with the adults dashing in to feed the young.

Another Adult posing.

A well placed beam by the feeders provided a nice clean perch and often the Sparrows would sit here before dashing onto the feeders. It might not be a totally natural perch but it's better than a feeder shot.

The Fledglings once again appeared and I managed to capture one being fed by an adult that was clearly in a hurry, with so many mouthes to feed they can't waste time landing.

I was then treated to a great sight as a rather wet looking adult appeared with a nice catch to show off.

No Bempton Tree Sparrow post would be complete without the signature shot of a one posing on the visitors centre's roof, I've seen many shots like this, Look out for further posts from my Holiday to Yorkshire soon.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Waxwing Wonders

Soon I'll be departing for East Yorkshire and Bempton Cliffs, but I thought I'd leave you with some images that I was particularly pleased to capture after a whole winter of searching. I did locate a flock of glorious Waxwings but had only one half decent image from that day. However after a trip to capture avocets early spring which also went well we checked in on a flock of reported Waxwings and found them soon returning to a low berry tree. The images were very pleasing in the late afternoon light.

Three Were present, waiting on overhead wires most of the time before dashing down for a quick feed then returning to there vantage point. This one was happy to pose with a blue sky making a nice backdrop

Often it seems the berries are too large for there mouths and sometimes they do struggle, a lot of berries were being dropped though Im unsure if thats due to there size or perhaps them going a little rotten by spring.

I hope they return in some numbers locally next year as cleaner backgrounds are somewhere I can improve on but for me they didn't seem as distracting as I would have thought.

I'll leave you with my final image and the one I like the most.

hoping for another Waxwing winter but a Shorelark wouldn't go a miss come to think of it!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Valley Punk

Today I took a trip with my Dad to a local nature reserve run by North East Wales Wildlife. After supplying some food for the birds at the empty feeding station we waited but all stayed quiet, a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other was a treat however.

A few blue tits made a quick dash for peanuts but they must have plenty of Natural food now. This particular Blue tit looked very punk after a heavy downpour moments earlier.

A break in the clouds appeared so we decided to take a walk around for some macro subjects the site can be quite good for lizards and Snakes so that was top of our list but we played around getting flies and butterflies. While doing This I managed to photograph a species of butterfly I hadn't before, A Dingy Skipper. Interestingly though one was spotted at a local Heritage and Nature Park Greenfield Valley and was seen as rare for that location, but there was at least four at this site, no doubt many more.

Another Butterfly also put in an appearance, one I hadn't seen since last year a Small Copper. I was particularly pleased with the shot I got of this, especially as it was with the 300mm F4 and tube.

We decided to call it a day after checking the feeding station again but nothing much appeared. However the day peaked when I got home as a walk with the camera over the green where I live resulted in a fantastic lucky sighting as I lay on the grass enjoying the view I spotted a Peregrine Falcon! almost over the top of my house too, what a fantastic sight so close to home and oddly not for the first time as I had seen one two mins walk from home about a month ago. Fantastic to see such wonderful birds locally.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Urban Herons.. Welcome!

Welcome to my wildlife Blog. My Name is Ashley and I live in North Wales close to the Dee Estuary. Some of you may even know me from flickr. I've decided to open a blog to better tell the story of my wildlife adventures through images. Hopefully you'll enjoy Reading about the wildlife I encounter and viewing my images.

I've decided to start this blog by showing you some of the images I captured of Herons in the Centre of Chester Recently. Clearly habituated to people they allowed some close encounters especially pleasing when they were fishing.

This Heron completely dived in to capture it's reward.

To finish with, a Heron posing while looking quite menacing.