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
No Google Adds here.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bye 2013


The last day of the year rolls in, and it's been a pretty good one. Seen some great birds through the year, met some great people; and I've had some contact with a few tossers too.


I'm looking forward to the New Year, and hopefully be able to visit a few new places, see a few new birds, and meet up with some old friends too.


I like to keep a list of the various birds I see when I'm out and about; (12 more this year, than last), certainly nothing like the 'twitchers' of the world, that scrabble about all over the country to a see a certain bird to tick off a list, and then rush off across the country to see the latest unfortunate bird blown off course, and doomed to a certain death later.
Nah, my list is of what I see from where I was going anyway. The only twitching I do is a painful one I get in my neck sometimes; and not always brought on by the tossers of the world.


I take a few snaps now and then, and I like to take a bit of video too with my little Sony Handycam.


On my other blog, of my local lake, I take a lot of video as I walk round, and mumble about what I'm seeing, or the odd thought that pushes its way through my mouth. A lot of it gets consigned to the bin.
Some of it I do keep. The moments of sheer madness, stupidity, complete cock-ups, et al.
And of course the swearing that accompanies the sheer frustration when things don't quite go according to plan.



This is a short collection of such clips. All but one, are taken from visits to my local lake, and all but one feature my verbal responses to a situation that was in front of the lens.



If a little bit of bad language offends, then stop here.


If not, click play, and hopefully enjoy.









Have a great New Year




Sunday, 29 December 2013

Picture Highlights Part 3


The final walk through the year in pictures.



This time September to December







Enjoy the rest of your day



Friday, 27 December 2013

Birders; what a strange lot they are: mostly.



 There is a short video on YouTube by a man called Jason Kessler.

It's called  SH*T BIRDERS SAY  and well worth a look.




The following are my observations, but in the written word.



I'm a member of a couple of local e-mail bird groups, the purpose of each group is, quote:


Cambirds is an email group for birdwatchers and ornithologists in the Cambridge, UK area. The group is used to share sightings and other information of local interest.
647 members

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A group that brings together all Bedfordshire birders and sightings from around the county.
605 members

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This is a list run by the North Bucks Birders. Open to anyone with an interest in birding in and around Milton Keynes/North Bucks The forum is Bird Sightings and topics of interest to Birders in the Area. 
269 members

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This group is run on behalf of the Buckinghamshire Bird Club and is for birders wishing to share bird sightings and other bird related information in Buckinghamshire, England. 
502 members

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and whilst I've been a member of these groups I've read some strange and wonderful things.
They all seem to have a healthy number of members, but as in most of these sort of forum group things, not all members contribute. That's fine. Many people just want to know the bird news and what's going on in their area; and the occasional discussion.
A small group in each though, do contribute on a regular basis. They put out the news, for the rest of us. And as in all such groups and forums that I've been a member of, past and present, be it bird related, photography, or anything else, you have the members with the egos. The people so full of self importance. The experts. The people with their heads stuck up their own arses. And the cliques.
There also seems a lot of rivalry, and one-upmanship by some.
The 'look at me' posts. 'I saw it first' culture. And 'here's some big words and I know what I'm talking about'.

Quite frequently there are posts on all groups from some members regarding something they've seen. A 'probable' or 'possible' such and such flying overhead, heading towards wherever, but was so high I couldn't be definite, or the sun was in my eyes, the shape looked right, or there was a 'y' in the day. You get the idea.
There's also the reports from some members of an unverified report of a 'such and such' from a bloke down the lane walking his dog. Or a report from a non birder of a 'such and such'.
I always smile at these ones.
Unverified by whom?
A non birder doesn't count?
It seems you've got to be 'in the club' to have your sightings count.

Anyway, here's a few posts from this year, that caught my eye.
I've not corrected spelling or grammar, and I've tried, where possible, to not mention names, other than my own.

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Well that puts to bed the Feral Whooper thread ;-) as these were Bewick's ;-)

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A debate that happened early in the year ..............

For those who are interested that sort of thing one of the Aylesbury
Waxwings had a multitude of rings,why so many?

.................................................

Why so many rings. I tell you why. Those rings are placed on the bird legs
just to piss off photographer! That is why they have so many rings!!
And yes, they have succeeded!

.................................................

Since there are plenty of Waxwings around at the moment., and not that many with rings on, might I suggest taking pictures of the ones without rings.
Simple really, that's what I do.
With all that's wrong in the world, and birding, coloured rings on Waxwings is hardly a big issue.
Besides, it helps further the knowledge of such beautiful birds.   (me)

...........................................................


It then got into the realms of did birds die during the ringing process etc.
Finally someone in authority waded in with ....................


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this is not the place to debate this 
this is a group about people to discuss Bucks birding in a friendly manner
this has the potential not remain friendly
I am sure there are those that could go on with a list of bad points re
photography in the birding world these days, but lets not get to bitch about
everything
Or about people cats etc, etc

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Yes, I'll stop.
Obviously touched a nerve with some people.
Long live free speech.
Best wishes
Keith O'

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A little while later I had a sighting to share ..............

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Just went to shops at Kents Hill, and there were 7 Waxwings up in the trees. Same place as 2 years ago. Not a coloured ring in sight.   Keith O'



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At the height of the 'horse meat scandal', there was this short post ................

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apples and fieldfares, never mind economy apples try G&M Growers or Beds growers HORSE apples. Great big sack for £4 to £6 pounds very cheap and the Fieldfares and Black birds love them.
And the local Fox

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Horse burgers, and now horse apples.
Where will it all end?
Keith O'

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Oh, now look at me ............................

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Just had a Red Kite swoop into my garden and take a complete chicken
carcass..


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Why do you have a chicken carcass in your garden?
Keith O'

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For Red Kites :-) 

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Thank you
That explains why a Red Kite came then.
I thought it was an odd occurrence.
Keith O'

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..and?...................

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I saw one Red Kite today over the M1 at Brogborough (grid: SP 981 365).


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A debate over Red Kites and the feeding of them ensued. Points made were basically they are becoming domesticated by feeding stations such as Gigrin Farm etc.
And a quote that I found interesting .........   "All true red kites in the UK can be traced back to 1 of 2 females in Wales that survived persecution, why does this therefore mean that the be all and end all of Milvus Milvus is Wales?"

hmmm, begged the question ...........

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Can we claim these 'domesticated' Kites in Wales as a tick when we see them?
Keith O'
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Not sure I like the big wing tags they put on the Kites in this area. I bet F*** agrees. Hard work cloning them out of pictures.
Keith O'


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and then, later ..................................

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Has anyone seen a swallow? I thought I saw one today in Sawston by Dales Industrial Estate skimming towards Babraham. Temperature -1 and wind 21 miles ph NEasterly poor thing!

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Well, at least they were sure of the temperature and wind speed.

##############################################


There was a simple question asked by one group member; that seemed to upset someone.

................................................................

Keep seeing a site ? referred to as Bevs can anyone tell me where or what this is?
Cheers

...................................

It's also known as Derek Whites Eggs pit. Bev Banks now owns it.

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Yea, but where is it?
A secret place?
Keith O'

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Small point, but please can we try and be polite when we're posting requests for information. Steve and I do not run a paid-for service here - we just like people to see birds, so administer this group and try and ensure news gets on here as soon as possible. 
And we also find quite a lot of the birds or at least post about our sightings. This is one of the best yahoogroups but we'd like some more contributions and news from different parts of the county.
Derek White's is just north of Biggleswade Sainsbury's on the A1.


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Since some or all of this conversation seems to be directed at me, please allow me to expand.
A question was asked, ' Keep seeing a site ? referred to as Bevs can anyone tell me where or what this is? Cheers'
An answer given, was ' It's also known as Derek Whites Eggs pit. Bev Banks now owns it.'
 Great if you know the area or Bev, but for anyone who doesn't, or lives outside the area, like me, it could have been anywhere. It certainly didn't answer the original question, of where and what.
I simply asked, 'Yea, but where is it?' and frustratingly added, 'A secret place?'
Then we get comments about politeness and such, with ' S**** and I do not run a paid-for service here - we just like people to see birds'.
Well, I'm sorry, but how can people see them if they don't know where they are?
Anyway, I'm off to Northampton now, to see some birds.
Keith O'


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A post regarding culling some species was interesting ..................

...............................................................

The reason that Mink are not allowed to be culled in the breeding season is because of the growing number of "Wildlife enthusiasts" who were read far too many Fairytales when they were kids & so believe that they too, ought to live in a fairytale world where nothing bad ever happens to anyone or anything, so they kick up a big fuss whenever they hear mention of a cull & organise protests & petitions without even putting their brains into gear & educating themselves as to WHY species that were wrongly introduced here by humans, often need to be removed.  
These people are, rather than a help to wildlife causes, a huge obstacle, as their constant bleating creates a cry-wolf effect, so that when the true naturalists really do take up a worthy protest, the powers that be don't want to listen , as they've become numbed by the caterwauling of the soppy 'hug-a-muntjac' brigade. 
 
Hang about though! - I've just thought of a solution to this Buzzard cull business. If only we could persuade the Pheasant shooters to pursue a more worthwhile quarry & get them to turn their blunderbusses on the 'Guardianistas'.  Hmmm...

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I couldn't resist this reply

Gosh I wish I was clever.
Keith O'

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There was more; and then ......................

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I would be interested to know why this has caused such a reaction, is it the fact that it involves pheasants and shooting?
If the licences had been issued to protect a BAP species or any other non game bird would peoples opinions be different?
There has ben no outcry over the licences issued to shoot 100’s of cormorants, herons and mergansers for the past few years, so is it the mere mention of the word pheasant that gets peoples blood boiling. 
I am not trying to stir things up .. this is a genuine question.

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Maybe you don't read the right articles G*****, but there was an outcry over the proposed cull of Cormorants a while ago; even an e-petition. Also when there was talk of killing Canada Geese up in the Lake District, because they were 'messy'. Lots of people objected to that.
It's not the mention of 'Pheasant' that angers a lot of people. A lot of people are just disgusted at the senseless slaughter that goes on, just so a minority of the population can slaughter a few animals for fun.
Some of us actually enjoy all wildlife.
Keith O'


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and from Stewartby lake, this report ....................

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A pleasant walk around the lake but nothing new to report.

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Aaaa, OK. Glad you enjoyed your walk.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


Next up, Springwatch came in for a bashing ....................


.........................................................

Talking of Springwatch why do the commentators use the word "fledging", and "fledged", as if it means fledglings leaving the nest, when it surely means growing feathers, as in, " fully fledged",which fledglings are,usually, when they leave the nest, though they can be without having left the nest  ? If I knew who to complain to I would. 

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How about the pedant society.com.
Keith O'

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and the next one, about the Springwatch programme, I thought was a classic.

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As a scientist, I do get fed up with the way scientific/wildlife/technical stuff is always presented on TV - has to be "wacky" and patronising. "This is very complicated (much too difficult for you to understand) so we won't get too technical" always being implied, if not actually said! ................. I haven't watched ANY of it this spring - too irritating. I used to record it, then fast forward to find the few bits of any interest (which I probably ought to have done this year too).

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So if you haven't watched any of it this year B******, how do you know it's been silly?
Not very scientific.
Keith O'

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.........and some people really should have a look at themselves ................

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The recent demise of the Needletail prompted a small discussion in the office today regarding when is a bird tickable?
Now up to the point that said Needletail hit the wind turbine then it was a perfectly valid tick. However, supposing you saw the bird on the ground weakly flapping its last flap as it gasped its last breath, is that worthy of a place on ones list? Can a recently dead but still warm bird be included?
What about other scenarios, say a Crested lark gets taken by a Sparrowhawk and as you see it disappearing over a distant hedge you're convinced it's still alive trying to break the raptors clutches...........Do you tick it?
How about sick or exhausted birds, if you see a Murrelet stranded on a beach (fat chance I know), it's fair game and on the list. But is it if someone comes along and puts it in a shoe box to rescue it. Is it tickable in the box and if when it is released?
What about ship assisted birds, tickable on board or only when they have disembarked?
What is or is not allowable?

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Yea, and what about museum exhibits. 
Blimey, it's endless when you really think about it.
Keith O'


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Some very precise observations next ....................

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Was on The Pinnacle, Sandy (TL177492) from 07:05-11:40, with Col Campbell and Mark Thomas and in total had 33,082 Redwings pass over!
Also a few hundred Fieldfares, and some Bramblings mixed in.  Wow!

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Yes, Wow indeed. Very precise.

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Just the 3460 Redwings over The Pinnacle from 07:00-08:40 this morning.  Rubbish! ;o)

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How accurate is this figure?
Are you sure you didn't miss any, or count some twice?
Just wondered.
Keith O'

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Highly unlikely we double-counted any as they were all flying over east->west.  Very likely we missed some (or lots), and the resulting figure is as accurate as any other large count of birds!


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A storm brewing?

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As the storm of 87 hit way before I was Herts birding and with the possible storm about to hit on Monday I'm just asking as to whether the storm blown birds that appeared in the county were seen on the day of the storm or were the majority found the next day? I'm off work next week so I'm hoping for something good turning up but want to know if its worth risking going out during the storm or going first thing the next day. 

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Probably most were found after the storm. What sensible person would go out in a storm like that?
Keith O'

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Yes M****, very disappointing. Following a night of great anticipation I hit the Grafham north shore this morning, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed to find not a tree or even branch out of place and only the usual suspects on the water. A fem Wheatear and a Rock Pipit were the only "slightly up-market" birds on the Dam wall, and they were probably the individuals that have been around for a week or more. By 10:15 the water had settled to a "slight chop" and the sun was warm and bright! I am now hanging on your suggestion that Tuesday might be better!! 

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Hmmm. I'm not sure about all this "smacking of lips" at the prospect of exhausted/displaced birds?

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I quite agree B****. I find it rather repulsive.
Keith O'

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I take your point of course B**** and Keith, however "smacking of lips", and "repulsive" may be a little harsh. The sad situation of the Leach's Petrels at Grafham a few years ago and bemused Arctic Skuas, certainly heighten the reality of this problem.  However, given that no-one can have any influence whatsoever on what turns up where and when, displaced or not, I personally view the arrival of "scarce or rare birds" at Grafham, or anywhere else, as an opportunity to raise and maintain interest/awareness that may enthuse support for those aspects of nature upon which we can have significant influence.  But for the public interest shown in Grafham Water as an important wildlife site including a drop-in point for scarce and rare birds, most of whom do survive and move on, Anglian Water's gaze may well be diverted into more wildlife disruptive recreational pastimes.
Just my perspective of course……

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Such wonderful rhetoric D***.
I still find it repulsive, given that most of these birds will probably die.
Keith O'

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Or will/would people will be marvelling at the magic of seeing such rare birds inland? Would it not excite you to find such an unusual bird away from the coast? Is this any different from marvelling at a Waxwing influx in the winter? (after all, these are only present due to extreme weather in other parts of Europe, or food crop failures!).
Try to keep a perspective Keith, some of these birds will/would be fine. The recent Great Skua stayed for days and caught a few gulls during its stay, before departing none the worse.
I guess you are one of these people who can't stand to watch Lion's catching Wildebeests on TV, or insectivore species eating flies. Nature is what it is.


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M***, sorry to disappoint you, but I enjoy all nature, warts, death and all.
What I don't like is the gleeful excitement shown by some people because a few birds are blown off course; and very likely to a certain early death.
I can't see what the Waxwing reference has to do with this, given that they turn up most years anyway.
Keith O'


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You are clearly in the minority then, as most birders marvel and enjoy the occurrence of migrants which have appeared in far-flung corners of the earth. It is sad that some may die, no doubt, so I guess the best thing then is none of us going birding; thus we will not see these birds. Isn't ignorance bliss!
I don't think anyone is "gleeful", so perhaps you could take a more accurate approach with your paraphrasing.
Seabirds turn up at Grafham Water (and many other inland sites) in flat calm anticyclone conditions too (Sooty Shearwater anyone?), and Skuas regularly choose to migrate over-land, and inclement weather just increases the chance of recording them. Does that mean we cannot be excited about that? 
If you can't see the link with Waxwings influxes (many of which must die migrating from Scandinavia to the UK, forced to do so be extreme weather) then I suggest you think about the bigger complexities of migration. More birds will die trying to cross the Sahara twice a year, than will die in a one-day storm. Yet these species survive, they persist with their migration. This is the marvel. This is the think to be gleeful about.

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Clearly I am, and happy to be that way.
Keith O'


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......and after a recent flurry of posts about storm damage on the east coast, and being told by moderators and others this 'group' is for the discussion of birds in the area

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After S**** dramatic exit from the 'group' yesterday, (I think she'll be back), and some of the comments that followed, and other threads starting, clearly a few big egos have been bruised in all these recent discussions, and after a night away from it all, maybe some sense and realisation that it wasn't missiles fired, but opinions, will start to seep in.
I'm rather surprised someone hasn't blustered in yet and closed the threads. Still time though.
Someone mentioned other social media for discussions, and keeping these 'groups' for local bird sightings. I tend to disagree; the group has usually been a good source of 'entertainment' in the past; but for bird news and sightings, I'm finding Twitter much better.
Just my opinion in all this shambles.
Keith O'

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(and, lo and behold, the toys were back in the pram after a couple of days, and S**** was back posting again.)

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..........a few more posts followed about what to post and not what to post, and then this ................


It clearly is a very grey area when even those declaring it must only be 'rules are rules Bucks only postings' then in the next moment talk about their holiday abroad and the sightings they've seen.
Confusion and irony reigns
Bye bye Bucksbirders

.......................................

Yes, I think we'll leave it there.


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Most of the birders I've met out and about, thankfully don't come across like some of these.  The North West, Wales, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, have all been very helpful and friendly, for the most part. Even some round here ain't too bad. So why do these 'groups' seem to bring out the strange ones?
Maybe they just like to brag to their mates, and anyone else who they think might be suitably impressed?
Maybe the modern equivalent of standing on an Orange box in Hyde Park, spouting out your rhetoric?
Maybe they're just sad?



Be happy





Monday, 23 December 2013

Picture Highlights 2013 Part Two


Four more months, as we continue the stroll through 2013. 



This time it's May to August.









Keep safe


Friday, 20 December 2013

Picture highlights 2013


Continuing the stroll through 2013, here's a video of some pictures taken from January to April.


Most haven't been posted on here before, so should be new to most people.


The music is by a very talented friend of mine, called Paul Barrett.









Keep warm


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Highlights 2013


The first of the highlights.




A 15 minute video through the year, of some of the highlights and moments of 2013.



Yea, it's long, but so was the year. I had thought about listing what each clip was, in order, but decided that would be longer than the video; but if anyone has any queries as to what they are watching, just ask, and I'll do my best to figure it out.
It starts on the 1st of January, (where else), of a pair of Goldeneye getting into the swing of things, and ends with a clip taken yesterday.


I'm currently putting together 3 shorter videos of pictures set to a music background, taken through the year. I'll post them at a later date.

And of course, the 'out-take' selection. As it's name suggests, a short compilation of some of the bits of video cut from the finished one that airs over on my local lake blog; plus an extra.



But, back to this one for now. Hope you enjoy it.



 




Sunday, 15 December 2013

Quick post



Just a quick post to let people know I'm still alive.



I've been busy with other things recently, and I've also been knocking together some videos of stuff through the year. I'll post them, if I ever get them finished, nearer the end of the year.



For now, a few that I've found whilst sorting through my pictures.




A lovely moth by the name of Mother Shipton.








Another lovely moth, by the name of Merveille du Jour









Juvenile Wood Pigeon








Great White Egret, from a recent visit to Summer Leys.









I called this one Ralph. He's a Herring Gull







and last one for now





 Canada Geese, early one morning, at my local lake.





Enjoy the rest of your day.