Sunday, March 25, 2012

Evening at Three Cliffs Bay

A few shots from a walk along Pennard Cliffs to Three Cliffs Bay on Saturday evening. Whilst heading towards the bay, I heard my second Chiffchaff of the year calling from a hedgerow (the first was at Rumney Great Wharf near Cardiff on Thursday). The sky was colouring up quite nicely; but, by the time I got in place for a picture, the colours were fading, and I had to make do with this shot:

Unlike on my previous visit, it was high tide, enabling a couple of long-exposures of the tide as it rushed in to the bay:

It was a clear and starry night, so I decided to stay around for a star-trail shot. It was a slightly unnerving experience sitting on the cliff-edge in almost total darkness for one hour waiting for the exposure to complete. As it turned out, the final image was a bit dark, so I've had to increase the exposure in post-processing, which has increased the noise somewhat:

I'll definitely be heading back there for more star-trails, as it's a fairly remote location, and so not so bedevilled by light pollution as the city.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tame Squirrel Eating Nuts

Another little film from Sunday. This Grey Squirrel hopped on the table beside me to help himself to some peanuts. Watch how he comes right up to the camera and evens climbs onto it at the end:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

European Robin Singing

A Robin softly singing in the local park, filmed this past Sunday:

The Versatile Blogger Award

Excuse this unusual post, but I've just realised I've been awarded a 'Versatile Blogger' award by Shaun at Valleys Shutterbug, so thought, for once, I'd play along with the game. Thanks, Shaun - I think!

Here are the instructions that go with the award:

* Thank the person who gave you this award and link back to their blog.
* Next, select 15 blogs / bloggers that you've recently discovered or follow regularly.
* Nominate those 15 bloggers for the 'Versatile Blogger Award'.
* Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Okay, here are a random,

 Seven Things About Me:  

1. My surname, Inglis, is of Scottish origin, and is pronounced 'Ingles', not 'Ing-gliss'. Many Inglises who move out of Scotland change the spelling to Ingles or Ingalls to combat the problem non-Scots have with the pronunciation. At school, I was sometimes called 'Laura' or 'Mary', after the girls in the 'Little House on the Prairie' TV show and books by Laura Ingalls Wilder!  

2. I was born in Winchester, Hampshire, England, but spent most of my twenties living in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. In a programme shown on Channel 4 in 2006, Winchester was rated the best place to live in the U.K., and Merthyr was third-worst!  
3. I spent two of my teenage years in Ottawa, Canada.  

4. I used to play for various football (soccer) teams, mainly as a goalkeeper.  

5. I nearly got two holes-in-one on the same hole in successive rounds of golf - I hit the flag with my tee-shot on the first hole of rounds played back-to-back, but missed both putts for birdies. (My only hole-in-one remains one at the ninth hole at Ynysangharad Park Pitch-and-Putt - it's about twenty yards long!)  

6. I live in a rugby-mad country, but don't much care for the game! 

 7. I am a naturalist, but don't much care for spiders! 

And the award goes to:

(If you don't participate in awards, memes, or blogging games, then feel free to ignore the tag. You still deserve a mention.)

1. Adam at My Life Outside
2. Caroline at Wild and Wonderful
5. Christian at Hiding in Cars
6. Tammy at I Heart Florida Birds
7. Leiv at Akset Naturfoto
10. Adrian at Adrian's Images
11. Keith at Holding Moments
13. Dawn at Dawn's Bloggy Blog
14. Angela at Angifotos
15. Warren at Pittswood Birds

Thanks again for the award. Even if you weren't tagged, share one random fact about yourself.

That was a fairly random selection of nature blogs I've looked at lately, so sorry if I've missed you off the list - it wasn't intentional!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To Three Cliffs Bay and Back

I headed out to Pennard Cliffs on the Gower Peninsula late this afternoon. I was hoping I might chance upon a Dartford Warbler, as I had on my last visit there. No such luck this time, the only birds of note seen being a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk flying over; a single male Stonechat; and a pair of Choughs, of which this was one:

Walking along the clifftop, I came to Three Cliffs Bay, where a hazy sunset was developing:

 On the left here are the three pinnacles which give the bay its name:

I put my 500mm lens back on for this shot of the sun going down over the rocky outcrop known as Great Tor:

Once I saw a starry night was developing, I thought about staying around to try for a star-trail shot over Three Cliffs Bay, but wimped out as I didn't fancy hanging around after dark in the wilderness.
Instead, on my way home, I stopped off by my favourite tree on Swansea Beach to try another long-exposure effort. There was no moon tonight, so I was able to set a one-hour exposure (for some reason, the long-exposure noise reduction didn't work properly on this, so it looks a little grainy):

As I crossed the adjacent golf course, I came upon the strange sight of about 35 Redshanks scurrying about on the grass only about ten metres from the nearby road.
Rather odd thing to see at 9.30 p.m., I thought.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birds of Forest Farm

Besides the Bittern, there was plenty of other wildlife to enjoy at the suburban oasis. It started almost as soon as I arrived, when I spotted a Weasel scampering up the far bank of the stream that runs along the path between the two hides.
Anyway, a few bird shots, just presented in the order in which I took them:-
A Long-tailed Tit feeding on food put out by visitors:

This is a great location for Bullfinches, which are quite scarce where I live. Here's the beautiful male:

The ubiquitous Robin:

Reed Buntings are common - surprise, surprise - in the reedbeds here. Here's a male:

The milder weather has stimulated many birds into song, including the humble Dunnock with his tuneful warble:

Male Mallard on the Glamorganshire Canal:

This Water Rail was scurrying through the undergrowth near the canal:

A Long-tailed Tit collecting lichens and mosses for its nest:

The reeds cast lovely reflections in the water. I just waited for a Moorhen to swim across:

Mallards enjoying some post-coital relaxation:

A Magpie:

Female Bullfinch:

Hen Reed Bunting:

A few shots of the stunning cock Bullfinch to finish:

Bittern at Forest Farm

News has leaked out the last week or two of sightings of at least one of the rare and elusive Bittern being present at Forest Farm, a nature reserve on the outskirts of Cardiff and one of my former regular haunts, although somewhere I hadn't been for at least a year. I decided to put that right, and headed down that way today. 
Several hours' wait in the hide, with only the briefest glimpse of the bird, was made worthwhile when a Bittern finally popped out the into the open just after 3 p.m. in the warm Spring sunshine, crossing from right to left the gap between the two reedbeds. I managed a few shots, albeit that they are cropped a bit from originals taken with a 500mm lens and 2x converter:

Just before leaving, I decided to have a peek in the other hide as dusk was falling. There didn't seem to be anything about, but then a flapping in the reeds to the right caught my eye. Amazingly, it was a Bittern perched incongruously at the top of the reed stems, and apparently trying to walk along the top of the reedbed. By this time, the battery in my camera had run out, so I resorted to a bit of video, although it was so dark the camcorder could barely focus, and I haven't got the facility to upload it at the moment. Not sure whether the Bittern had just flown in, or whether it had climbed up the reed-stems, but it soon melted back down into the reeds and was gone into the night.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Grey Squirrel Video

Just trying out the video function on my Olympus Pen compact camera again - this time with a Canon 70-200mm lens attached via an adaptor. Unfortunately, as I began filming yesterday, a park worker began using a leaf-blower nearby, which is the 'hoovering' noise you can hear in the background:

I was going to post a few photos as well, but I've come down with a nasty cold, so am off to bed with a hot lemon drink. See you (hopefully) in a few days!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Long-lens Snowdrop

Just a humble Snowdrop which I photographed whilst walking home on a windless evening a few days back, after an unsuccessful bird-photography outing. Just as well it was windless, as the exposure time was about 3.2 seconds! I got a few strange looks from passers-by as I lay on the ground pointing a huge lens (with extension tubes attached, to decrease the minimum focus distance) at a tiny flower, but such are the humiliations one must suffer in the name of art - or, in my case, in the name of yet more rubbish photos:

Monday, March 05, 2012

Wood Pigeon with Damaged Eye

This Wood Pigeon with a damaged or deformed or injured eye has been around Singleton Park, Swansea, for a while:

I tried attaching my 500mm lens to an Olympus Pen compact camera, via an adaptor, for this video. A bit awkward, as there is no autofocus with this combination, so needs a fairly static subject, but I did my best:

Anyone know what might have caused that eye condition? Looks painful!