Friday, March 29, 2013

Skunk Cabbage

I was in the park this afternoon, trying for a few photos of birds and squirrels. As I was leaving, I spotted this  plant, which I think is Skunk Cabbage, Lysichton americanus. I rested my 500mm lens on my camera bag for these two shots:

What an unattractive name for such a good-looking plant!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Badger Gathering Bedding

I've been continuing to monitor, with my trail camera, the badger sett I found a few weeks ago. Here's some footage of a couple of badgers gathering bedding material. Quite funny to watch them slithering backwards into their burrows clutching a bunch of leaves:

On a totally different note, have a look at THIS ARTICLE in the Daily Mail. The buffoon featured is my brother (at least, I'm told we're related).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Domestic Goose

A couple of shots taken on the pond in Singleton Park, where there is a small flock of these Domestic Geese, on March 2nd:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Whilst in the park last weekend, I stopped for a couple of shots of this Jackdaw:

A rather handsome bird, I think, and one often overlooked by those strange creatures calling themselves 'birders'!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Singleton Park Star-Trail

It was a clear night last night, and I just had to try out a star-trail shot, even though my wide-angle lens is away for repair. This was taken with my next-widest lens: a 50mm f/1.8. It's a three-hour exposure in total, consisting of 36 five-minute exposures taken automatically by the intervalometer attached to the camera. I was indoors in the warmth while it was all going on:

It would've looked better with a wider angle lens, but my wide-angle should be back soon, so look out!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An 'Ordinary' Blackbird

Just before finding the leucistic Blackbird in my previous post, I took this shot of a 'common-or-garden' male Blackbird:

Leucistic Blackbird

Whilst photographing the Song Thrushes in my recent post, I spotted a Blackbird with an abnormal amount of white in its plumage. I went back to the same spot last Saturday to see if it was still around, and it was. It seemed a little more elusive than the 'normal' Blackbirds, but eventually I was able to obtain a few reasonable shots of it:

This was in the same area as a Blackbird I photographed here two years ago. Not sure whether it is the same bird, or whether it is a descendant sharing some of the same leucistic genes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Robin Making Strange Noise

This Robin stopped by for some peanuts on my walk around the park today, and then proceeded to make this very strange sound:

Anyone heard one make a noise like that before?

Friday, March 08, 2013

No Queen, but a few Song Thrushes

Last Saturday, H.R.H. The Queen was due to come to this city, Swansea; and, as a loyal subject(!), I was dutifully up early, preparing to head over to the Brangwyn Hall with my 'big gun' (that's a lens; I was not attempting an assassination!) to do my paparazzo impression. Double-checking on-line before leaving on the exact time of her visit, and the route she would take, I noted to my horror that the old moo (that's my knighthood up the spout!) had come down with a (probably fake!) case of gastroenteritis, and would not be coming after all. Very inconsiderate of her, I thought, after I had dragged myself from my bed at an ungodly hour, and a morning person I am not. I was particularly gutted as the only previous time I had seen her (that I can remember) was when I was a teenager living in Canada, and she was on a state visit to Ottawa. My dad, who was at work, had given me his camera (which I think was a rangefinder type, with manual-everything controls), and the Queen came over to speak to us after my mum held up a rather-embarrassing banner: "Greetings from Romsey". I knew nothing about photography then (many would say I still don't!), and I managed to 'balls-up' all the pictures - they were all so out-of-focus that the Queen was nothing more than a shapeless blob (rather like my own physique at the moment)!
What has this self-indulgent waffle got to do with nature photography, you might ask? Well, nothing, really, except that I was so deflated after this let-down that I put away my big lens, and, devoid of energy, I only had the drive for a gentle stroll around Brynmill and Singleton Parks with my 70-200mm lens.
Other than seeing a female Goosander on Brynmill Park lake (first I've seen there), and a leucistic Blackbird and the resident Ring-necked Parakeet in Singleton Park, there wasn't much wildlife of note to be seen. I was, however, pleased to see a healthy population of Song Thrushes in Singleton Park, which were so tame that I was able to photograph them with the aforementioned smallish lens, sometimes with coupled with a 1.7x converter. A few pics.:

These pictures were all taken with me lying on the ground and resting the camera on a sturdy beanbag. At one point, I heard a young girl's voice behind me say, "Come and look at this". Interested to see what the fuss was about, I turned around, only to see a whole family of goons gawking at me. I was the 'this' they were looking at. I was tempted to give them a rude gesture, but nobly resisted!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Signs of Spring

It's been colder than normal for a while here, but that hasn't stopped flowers springing up in abundance. I haven't done much nature photography lately, but here are a few snaps I took the other day:-


Crocuses (or croci!):

Hazel catkins: