31 December, 2009

2009 Highlights

2009 Highlights...

Below are some of my personal favourite shots from this past year. All have been taken with my Sigma 70-300mm which, for most of the year, has been jammed on 200mm and struggling to auto-focus!

By the end of January, I had already snapped up a local rarity in the form of a beautiful Long Eared Owl; which took no notice of me or my companion, David Campbell (see his blog here) and allowed some excellent photography opportunities...

Long Eared Owl

In February, we had the famous extreme snowfall event which allowed me to get this Green Woodpecker shot as it dug around in the snow in Richmond Park...

Green Woodpecker in the Snow

A trip to Hayling Island in late Winter with the RSPB would prove to be a brilliant day out, with a very scarce Glaucous Gull being the reward. It was very cautious of us as it fed, constantly looking up at us, but I was provided with a rare photography opportunity...

Glaucous Gull

I took one of my favourite shots of a Teal at the London Wetlands Centre. The bird had just appeared out of the undergrowth in the Sheltered Lagoon, and the crystal clear water and conditions allowed for a nice reflection...


In the middle of spring, I heard news of a very rare White throated Sparrow on my favourite nature reserve, Old Winchester Hill. It showed brilliantly for me and a few others, before dipping down into the bushes and only very rarely reappearing for the rest of it's stay...

White throated Sparrow

Ideal weather conditions allowed me to take this shot of a Grey Heron in Bushy Park. Its outline was highlighted by the evening winter sun and the light breeze made the bird's plumage sway in the wind...

Grey Heron

I don't think 2009 has been anything special, and I haven't managed to get out and about as much as I would have hoped due to GCSE mocks, however, I have been particularly pleased with a few shots I have taken this year, especially the ones above.

The situation will probably be the same in 2010, with the real GCSEs looming over, and until the start of summer, where I will have a big gap before College to do as much photography as I like, the blog will probably be quite quiet.

New Year's resolutions? I never really know what to put... but I guess that when I have the time, I should aim to get down to my local patch more (Bushy Park) and try for the common species that I haven't yet caught on camera like Coal Tit, Siskin and a Tawny Owl. Maybe I should start a patch list again to keep me motivated.

Anyway, have a great New Year... roll on 2010!

30 December, 2009

Suffolk Mutants...

On the 27th we went to Suffolk to visit relatives for a few days. The garden alone has great birding, from Lesser spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch, to Red legged Partridge and Woodcock. Amongst the usual Pheasants and Partridges however, lurk mutants... Duh dah duh!

... Melanistic Common Pheasant. Even though they may look like a totally different species, these guys are still technically Common Pheasant, just a bit mucked up. The bird below is a male, note the remains of a white collar and red eye patch. They are still just as timid as normal Pheasants, so getting a shot wasn't easy and by the time I took my eye out of the viewfinder after taking this shot... it was gone.

Melanistic Common Pheasant
And to finish what may be the last post of 2009... an attempt at a Suffolk sunset with the 18-55mm...

Sunset over Suffolk

Happy New Year!

26 December, 2009

Festive few days...

A relaxing, chilled Christmas day was spent at home this year instead of the usual Christmas morning spent travelling up the M11 to Suffolk, or the A3 to Hampshire, and to start off the festive season, a Woodcock flew through the garden early on Christmas morning... a first record and very fine bird for an urban setting in Esher.

On a very crisp cold Boxing day, we took a stroll in Bushy Park, where part of the canal had flooded and created a mini-wetlands area, which seemed to have avoided freezing over. There was nothing much about apart from a few gulls and a heron, which fed in the morning light...

Grey Heron

Black headed Gull

23 December, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Below are a few Robin shots I took earlier today in Kew Gardens. This individual had decided that it was way too cold outside so made it's way into the warm and moist Temperate house, what a wimp...


Meanwhile, outside in the surrounding shrubs, this Robin was freezing his arse off as he fended off rivals and claimed his rightful territory... I think you can agree with me when I say temperate Robin has the right idea!


Have an excellent Christmas and a Happy New Year from me, and keep feeding and watching wildlife during this flippin' freezing weather that we seem to be getting. A White Christmas...? You never know!

14 December, 2009

Rooftop Sunset...

A nice sunset from last night, as the last of the sun's rays highlighted the whispy, soft clouds high in the sky... I could be a narrator for one of those M&S food adverts couldn't I!

Why the small shots again you ask... well, I think I might go back to more 'sensible' sized shots for the New Year, which you can just click on to see a larger version instead of taking you all the way to my Flickr... which gets annoying. So this is just a tester to see whether it works.

04 December, 2009

Still Waiting...

Still waiting for my first Redwings of the winter to land in the garden. There's a good crop of berries waiting for them and a few have been flying over the garden so it can only be a matter of time before I can get some shots of them. In the meantime at least a fat, young Woodpigeon is enjoying the berries...