Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Saturday, 30 May 2009

Saturday firsts.

Morning Jim’, I said through gritted teeth, and a false smile. I checked the clock; yup, 4 a.m.

As I wandered down to Willen Lake, I noticed I wasn’t the only early bird this glorious Saturday morning. Two of the Buddhist Monks from the nearby temple, were performing the daily ritual of chants at the Peace Pagoda, as the sun climbed the sky for a new day.

Further along the lakeside, high in the trees, another ritual was unfolding. Feeding.

A small group of Great Tits were flitting from branch to branch, in the search for breakfast, along with their newly fledged young. The sound of a Cuckoo just ahead, slowed my progress again, as I strained eyes and ears to locate him. Then I glimpsed him, as he flew off to a new tree. Not wanting a shot of the back end of a Cuckoo, I was happy enough to just watch. My first good sighting this year.
The mist was steadily freeing itself from the waters grasp, and reaching skyward,

as a Swan glided across the golden water.
A Heron flew silently overhead,
and disappeared into the trees on the far side of the lake. The sounds of Reed and Sedge Warblers were filling the air as I made my way to where the Black Swan hangs out. I spotted him in the distance, looking rather amorous with a Mute Swan.

No sign of the cygnets, they were probably safely with mum somewhere.
Getting close to the lakeside bar, I spotted a Mistle Thrush launch himself from the roof of some offices

and settle on the grass just in front.

I think he decided on spoiling any decent shots, and flew into the trees as I got nearer.

No problem; I was content with what I had. This was the first time I’d seen them here.
A Chaffinch gave me a cursory glance as I walked past,

and carried on with the business of food searching.
I reached the lakeside bar and watched the House Martins flying overhead with the Swifts. A food bonanza; there were tiny flies everywhere.
A Collared Dove had found a use for the satellite dish,
and was snuggled down on her nest. I wondered if the tv reception would be affected; and then decided I didn’t really care, she looked happy enough.

As I turned to walk back, there amongst the Greylag Geese, another first for me; and as far as I know, for Willen, a pair of Egyptian Geese.

What a handsome Goose. The colour predominantly through every shade of brown, with splashes of green, white, and black on the wings and side.
Feeling rather pleased, I sauntered back towards the car park. Dozing in the warmth of the morning sun, a Mallard flicked open an eye as I passed by.

The Warblers were still warbling loudly from the reeds, and then I caught a glimpse of one, singing his song for all he was worth.

A Reed Warbler, doing his best to be invisible, and avoid the lens, amongst the tall grasses.
I tried anyway.

A very enjoyable morning.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Monday zoom

On Monday I went to the local, armed with two cameras, slung over each shoulder, looking like some sort of wildlife gunslinger; or an idiot. One had the macro on, the other, the usual zoom. Today’s is a small selection from the zooms efforts.

From the car park is a small footbridge over some water,
and it’s here, a few days ago, I briefly watched a Great Tit, with mouthfuls of food, coming and going. I tried to figure out where the nest was, but decided I’d leave him to it, rather than disturb him too much. Besides, he kept landing in the bushes behind, so I assumed it was there, somewhere. How wrong.
It was right under my nose, literally!
As I approached the bridge, he flew straight past me, and into a gap at the side.

An awful shot, purely for a record, but it was fascinating to watch, as he flew back and forth, with mouthfuls of food to feed the young.

And a brief glimpse of one very large, hungry mouth.

I moved on, listening to the early morning birdsong, in the dull sky, eventually reaching the spot where a Coot had turfed the Great Crested Grebes from their nest site. I’m pleased to say the Grebes have made another, further in the reeds, and one was sitting tightly on its nest. I watched for a while, from a small bridge over this part of the lake, where the water splits into a smaller lake, and slowly swimming towards me, came the Mallard I’d seen a couple of weeks earlier, with the golden yellow chick.

I couldn’t get lower for a better shot, but made do with the higher vantage point for now. It was just good to see that most had still survived.
And one that breaks all the rules of composition,

but what are rules if they can’t be broken sometimes.
At the north end of the lake, a large flock of Starlings were noisily feeding this years young, and a small group were eagerly awaiting their breakfast.
Some were too impatient to wait, and began flying one by one, down to join the parents.

A cygnet swam by under mums watchful eye,

and a group of Canada Gees chicks were trying to catch the attention of dad.

Both cameras were working overtime by now, as I turned towards an area of grass, and sitting by herself, taking in the day, this female Mallard, totally oblivious to me.

Reaching the area by the lakeside pub, there were large numbers of Canada and Greylag Geese, waiting for the holiday crowds, and food. And amongst them all, this one.

He didn’t look much like one or the other, so I’m assuming a cross?

As I reached the longer grass, alongside the river, the macro came into its own, with the Damsels and other insects, until almost back at the car park, I saw this chap in the distance, sitting on the rowing club roof. Quite a heavy crop.

This is where my ID knowledge failed me miserably. No idea what it was, but about the size of a Sparrow, and just sat, resting.
I decided I needed a rest too, after a full morning, so I made my way back home.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Macro Monday

A Bank Holiday, a day off, and the sun don’t shine. Well it didn’t this morning when I set off to the local. It’s shining now, while I do this. Oh well, at least it didn’t rain.

So the local was calling this morning, and six o’clock saw me stepping out the car in the car park. Today I thought I’d try something a little different; two cameras. My usual one, the good ol’ 50D, with the zoom stuck on the front, and the old camera, my 400D, with the dusted down macro lens on.
I’ve not used the macro for over a year, so I needed some practice. Yesterday I poked it at everything in the garden, and deleted most of the results. I need a lot of practice! It aint easy, and I really admire the results Matt gets on his blog.

But back to today. I set off with a camera over each shoulder, the idea being one for the birds, and the other for any Dragons or Damsels that came my way. These are a few of the better ones.

Plenty of Cow Parsley about, so they got the treatment first,

then a Geranium of some sort, I think, but not sure.

The next one I’ve completely forgotten what it was, (yea, useless, I know), but I was pleased with the result.

There were birds a plenty while I wandered around the lake; but another time with those. I made my way down towards the river that runs by the lake, hoping for some Butterflies, Dragons or Damsels, but the sun wasn’t shining, and it was a bit dull. A Sedge Warbler was giving me the run around, and I couldn’t get a close enough view for a picture, so I gave up on him, and crept my way through the long grass by the river.
A few Damsels were taking to the air as I brushed past, and then I saw a real beauty take off and land just ahead.
I crawled towards it, unsure what it was.

Judging by the rear end, I’m guessing some sort of Scorpion Fly? It was a stunner what ever it was, and after seeing the first, they seemed to be everywhere.
Another flying thing, (I must get a book), flew close by. A Mayfly? No idea, but after the oooo ooooo moment passed, I took a few pictures.

They seemed to be everywhere, the dark markings on the wings really making them stand out. If anyone can ID this I’d be most grateful.

As I crawled my way through the grass, getting some strange looks from the passing dog walkers, and joggers, there were long legged spiders everywhere, with their webs cast across the grass, hoping to catch some lunch.

Banded Demoiselles were flapping all around, and proving difficult to capture with the camera. A female settled long enough for a shot,

and a male was determined to remain hidden in the grass.

More flowers were beginning to grow along this stretch, and would soon be playing host to a good variety of Butterflies; but not today. The Ragged Robin still looked inviting though.

A pinkish Damsel settled in front for a picture.

These are a nightmare to ID!
Further along a pair of metallic green beetles caught my eye.
What a stunning colour.
And then these two settled,

I’m thinking the first is a Common Blue, and the second a Blue-tailed Damselfly?
I carried on, so busy watching the ground, I almost missed a Kestrel as he circled overhead, probably wondering what that hairy thing was crawling through the grass.
Finally a male Banded Demoiselle gave his best view so far,
and the chance to get in closer, before he took off.

I’d reached the ‘horror tree’ of a previous post, and most of the caterpillars had departed, save for a few still wriggling their way amongst the cling film covered branches.

And the final shot for now, Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil.

Far too beautiful to be called common.