20 Nov 2006

A nice surprise gift of a Peregrine sketch.

No new birds for the list

A few posts ago I mentioned Alan Dalton an Irish Birder living in Sweden and his Bird Art and how I had been given a sketch of some Black Tailed Godwits well it arrived and he had very kindly added another picture which was of a Peregrine. Thank you Alan. Once I get my sister Tyrella to frame it I can add it to my slowly growing collection of Peregrine Falcons. I bought one about ten years ago by a Mr Straughan a Belfast artist (Of whom I can find no further information) which I think is lovely and Tyrella gave me another by Andrew Stock who has been The President of the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) since 2004. Tyrella does some of his picture framing from her studio attached to her B and B

Well the only bird photos from the last couple of days that I have taken are of a Greenshank and a Snipe. The light has been grey all the time and it has been raining alot recently so I have been shooting at high ISO. The snipe is fairly small in the frame but I was amazed at the length of his wings!!

17 Nov 2006

Birding Marthas Vineyard

No new birds!!

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I have just finished reading Bird News ( Vagrants and Visitors on a Peculiar Island ) by E. Vernon Laux in which he documents a birding year in the life of Martha's Vineyard. You may well wonder what this has to do with birding in Northern Ireland. Well I lived on the Vineyard on and off from 1984 to 1989 and having read this book I now look back with some regret that I didn't take more interest in the birds at the time. There were a few birds that I do remember Cardinals, Blue Jays, the Sanderlings on the beach running away only a few feet in front of you. However the bird that I particularly remember more than any other was the abundance of Osprey's. I had probably only seen one or two in my life at that time. Then I pitched up on the Vineyard and they were everywhere during the breeding season.I marvelled at their prowess of catching fish in Sengekontacket Pond. I used to do two jobs at the time. One was working in Edgartown in a couple of restaurants "Martha's Restaurant on Main street and L'Etoile at the Charlotte Inn on South Summer Street. The other job was industrial cleaning which enabled me to see places all over the Island where the general tourist wouldnt see. Some of the houses where I used to clean would have nesting poles for the Ospreys on their land.

They also had what I regard as probably one of the best regional newspapers in the world "The Vineyard Gazette". It has world class photography and there was also a column called Bird News which was a weekly update of Birding News and information by a number of different authors. I would love to see more local papers here in Northern Ireland have a similar column. I am thinking about going there next summer with the children in August.

Vernon Laux the author of the above book found a Red Footed Falcon on the Island. This was a major find as there had never been one seen before in either North or South America. I even remember reading about it in the Daily Telegraph.

I have been to the hide at Belfast Lough a few times in the last week and the weather for photography has been pretty appalling but I did get a few shots of the birds and animals that are causing quite alot of disturbance at the moment. Anthony (The RSPB Warden) reckons there are a couple of Sparrowhawks that are making a nuisance of themselves as well as the regular visits by the Peregrines. This fox was very wary and when it appeared the nearby moorhens sped off in all directions.

13 Nov 2006

Some very nice Birthday presents and a few more bird photos.

No New Birds

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First of all I disliked the google ad at the top of the blog so have removed it. Its not a great money earner anyway. So far I have earned £46.43 over eight months and as far as I can work out you dont get paid until you reach £50. I think it looks better to the eye when one opens the blog up without it.

Well for my birthday I have been given two birdy items. The first from my sister Tyrella was an infrared nestbox kit from Eco-Watch. Now the question is where to put the nestbox so that I can see live images on my TV. Well i've got at least six months to decide before the breeding season starts all over again! I hope that she got herself one to put up outside her lovely wee Bed and Breakfast in Scotland. She has crossbills that frequent her garden, a bird I have yet to see , as well as Red Squirrels that come to her bird feeders .

My second present which has yet to arrive is a sketch of some Black Tailed Godwits by Alan Dalton, an Irish birder living in Sweden. He is a very talented bird artist. You can see some of his work on Birdforum under the monniker Buzzard12 here. I am slowly building up a collection of Bird sketches, paintings and prints.

Well yesterday I was out with the camera again and here are a few images. The first a bird I find very difficult to photograph as they never sit still and are also very small. The Goldcrest.

The next four photos are birds that are in my garden. Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Bluetit.

In the afternoon I went out to Killard National Nature reserve just as the sun was setting and I found the Grey Plover out on the rocks with much to my surprise another one. So hopefully they will both stay the winter.

8 Nov 2006

The VERY messy Grey Wagtail, a few Bird Photos and out at Killard again.

No New Birds

Its already the 8th of November and I have not posted anything for nearly 10 days. My excuse is that it was my 44th birthday last week and Im still recovering. Not quite true!!

Well the Grey Wagtail I have mentioned in the past is still attacking the door mirrors of our car. It must be nearly a month now that this has been going on. It starts at first light and continues until the sun is almost setting. When not attacking the mirrors it is walking all over the car leaving very muddy footprints. and it poohs absolutely everywhere. I am not very good at washing cars and tend to leave it for six months or so however I couldnt drive this in its present state!!

My feeders are very popular at the moment and there are so many goldfinch and greenfinch coming that it seems to attract other birds such as the sparrowhawk again A blackcap was also seen in the hedge in front of the house. I was told today by Anthony McGeehan that this would have been a migrating bird from probably Eastern Europe. The Blackcaps that breed here in May will have long gone back to the Mediterranean or North or West Africa. I have also had a few Coal Tits to the feeders. They tend to dive in and then fly away to a safe perch nearby to eat the sunflower hearts rather than hang around. I caught this one in the split second it arrived at the top of the feeder

I have also started trying to catch birds in flight. My first image is of a bluetit. It is underexposed and taken on a very grey day and is out of focus but it shows the opacity of its wings at full extension and for all its faults as an image I quite like it.

A couple of evenings ago I went out to Killard (One of my most favourite spots in the world) I took a few photos of Bar Tailed Godwits flying by
and also tried for some shots of a grey plover but when I lay down I noticed this juvenile ringed plover which was marginally nearer and in wonderful evening light.

While I was there I also took this image of a Stonechat . I posted it on the Nature Photographers Network (UK Forum) here This is one of the forums that I would visit on an almost daily basis as quite often has superb images. Anyway one of the forum members has done some post processing in Photoshop which I dont have and has made it into an absolutely lovely image.
Than you Sean.

Eve Happy Birthday!