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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Catch up time ....3 great birds, 3 great photo shoots

It seems to have been a real busy time over here for the past few weeks ... our band 'Beyond the Gap' have been practising almost non stop trying to get Mark (our bassist) up to speed with a full set before we set off on our Summer tour in aid of Cancer Support France (full article in the pipeline). I've had my mate (also called Mark) over for a week and for the past 2 weeks I've been fulfilling my Open University duties and marking student assignments (that's 3 Marks!).

Hardly full time 9 to 5 of course and I'm not complaining but certainly I've not posted a huge amount on here recently so here I am sat in bed at 1.00 in the morning posting something of a catch up.

A while back me and Mark were walking around the forested part of the Etang de Beauvour when we heard the distinctive trilling of a Wood Warbler, a good bird to have anytime, anyplace, except perhaps on an aeroplane sipping martini (the older generation will get that!). Anyway, we did a bit of stalking and crept as close as we could to where it was singing. In the end we just sat down against a couple tree trunks and waited for it come back to us, which it did and treated us with some splendidly close views ... he was so close in fact that on occasion I couldn't focus the camera! You'll see what I mean by this selection of photographs ....

On the same day I managed to get this reasonable close up shot of a 4 Spotted Chaser (pic below).... not sure whether this is classed as a dragonfly or a damselfly but nice detail and you can easily see the 4 spots (1 on each wing) and this is a female because of the yellowy brown body as a pose to the grey males ..... thanks

On another occasion we were out on one of my regular treks and we came across a couple of very handsome Red Backed Shrikes, the male in particular was in tip top breeding condition and sitting very proud. Problem was when I got in to position to take what I thought was going to be 'gripper' of a shot there was no memory card in the camera ... doh! To add insult to injury a while later we had an equally lovely Melodious Warbler singing it's heart out less than 10 metres away (I could almost hear the memory card laughing at me from its cosy little socket back home in my laptop!)

Well I don't like to be laughed at by my digital devices so with the memory card rounded up I paid a later visit and as I suspected this was a nesting pair and still in the same place. As with the Wood Warbler there was plenty of stalking, creeping around and waiting to be done and whilst these birds weren't nearly as fearless my patience was rewarded by these lovely shots....

So there we go, a couple of great photo shoots of 2 splendid birds from the past couple of weeks and I must be on something of a hot (shot) streak because yesterday morning I managed to get these cracking shots of a Nightingale singing. Most people are aware that Nightingales have a beautiful song but how many of you have actually heard one or seen one? They're actually very common throughout mainland Europe but scarce and declining in the UK (a few pairs nest on Thorne Moor, S Yorks but pretty much absent further North). I usually see a flash of russet red tail feathers as they dart in and out of dense undergrowth from where they usually sing but this was my lucky day .... a gap in the trees, a decent lens and hey presto!

Looking at that singing Nightingale I'm thinking it's a shame you can't hear it so I'm going to try and post either a video (it will be of a bush!) or a sound clip to go with the above.

There we go, caught up a bit, just need to finish off and post part 2 of our trip to Moeze / Oleron and I'll be almost up to speed!


  1. Hi Tim, I returned the complement, you have a new follower. You got me worried there with pics of Red-backed Shrikes until I read the narrative.

  2. Wow Wow Wow....i really love these photographs you captured with the lens of your camera. Really make me happy. I am following your blog :)