Monday, 29 December 2008

Finchy fun

Just like last winter, my garden is quickly becoming a haven for finches. I'm getting 20+ Goldfinches, 20+ Greenfinches, 25+ Chaffinches and 11+ Bramblings at the moment. Interestingly, one of the male Bramblings is ringed. I wonder if it's a returning bird from last year?

Monday, 8 December 2008

Winter leaves

Pretty chilly out there this morning.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

More Cattle Egret pain

Cattle Egret pain

Poor old Bedfordshire has missed out on a Cattle Egret yet again. This bird at Havesham, Milton Keynes is just over the border, like at least four other birds have been in the last couple of years. I'm sure it will happen sooner or later, but we keep saying that about Great White Egrets and American Wigeon too, and neither of them have bothered to grace us with their presence either! Still, it was nice to see this bird this morning.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Knobby knees

Snowy Egret legs, Texas, May 2008.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

More marvelous Moorhens

Two more shots of Moorhens to go along with my previous post "Laughing Moorhens"

The above two images are of British birds, taken at the Swiss Gardens, Beds, 2nd December 2008. Note the shape and size of the frontal shield. This birds shield is much smaller than the Brazilian and Madagascan individuals, and has a rounded top edge, very different from the square edge of the other birds. European birds also look smaller in stature with a bronzier sheen to their wings and flanks.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Crested Tit video

We spent a long weekend around Aviemore in November, the birding was slow but this wonderful Crestie made up for it....a bit.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Laughing Moorhens

So, Moorhens then. A common bird across the world, but are they all the same 'species'? Martin Garners book "Frontiers in Birding" has a chapter all about sorting out Moorhens from the States. However, he only mentions that cachinnans (or Laughing Moorhen in the book) has a range from North America down to Mexico and Central America, Bermuda and the West Indes, with a winter range sporaically to South America If this is true what are the birds breeding throughout South America - are they cachinnans too? (I will have to look this up.)

These images are of some Moorhens at REGUA in the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil. They have a deeper voice, look a little bigger and also have a squarer top to their sheild:

And this one is from Madagascar. Looks pretty similar to me, with the same shaped sheild. Unfortunately I never noticed if the call was deeper on these birds:

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Swallow-tailed Cotinga

A simply gorgeous bird. We saw many Swallow-tailed Cotingas on this tour, and we never tired of seeing them - absolutely stunning. However this wasn't the rarest Cotinga we saw on our travels - we also scored Grey-winged Cotinga at Pico de Caledonia! Unfortunately I never got a shot of it though, dispite it landing around ten meters from where Carrie and I were standing...


Birds weren't the only thing on the agenda for our trip to Brazil. These Manned Wolves at Cara├ža Monastery are fed every night on chicken and kitchen scraps by the monks. They attract quite a crowd and up to 100 people can be seen sitting around the patio waiting for these amazing animals to come in each evening.

Three-toed Jacamar

These Three-toed Jacamars were at a secret stakeout our guide showed us. We saw six in all along the road sides!

Brazil nuts

Just back from two weeks birding in the south-east of Brazil. Some excellent birds and mamals were seen including these two Brazilian Mergansers at their usual stake out near Serra da Canastra. October 2008.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Evening glow

Mute Swan at Broom GP, 27th September 2008. Lovely light on this bird.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Long gone

Found this shot take last year at Broom. Probably one of my best Swifts and I hadn't seen it until last week!


I've been to the one in Orkney (but not the one in Shetland), and now we have our very own in Bedfordshire...


Not a species I get many chances to photograph - this Magpie perched up nicely towards of my vismig session. It was getting slow by then anyway...

Misty thrushes

Blackbird (above) and two Song Thrushes taken in this mornings foggy vismig session on the Pinnacle. I particularly like the Song Thrushes shot.

Saturday, 20 September 2008


A very confiding juvenile Redstart at Pegsdon Hills today.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Greenland Wheatear, South Ronaldsay, Orkney, August 2006. Awesome looking beasts!


Black-headed Gull, Helston Boating Lake, Cornwall, October 2003. Surprisingly difficult to get really nice pictures of.


Ring-billed Gull, Helston Boating Lake, Cornwall, October 2003. Twitched on our way on to Scilly for a week.


Fulmar, South Ronaldsay, Orkney Isles, August 2006. I found this bird a few hundred meters inland on a track, presumably a bit lost!

Friday, 29 August 2008


We've had this monster in our bathroom for the last couple of nights. This evening Carrie had enough and I had to usher it out the door. Not before I took a few shots mind you. This is the Giant House Spider Tegenaria duellica (previously know as T. gigantea) and the leg span of the males can reach up to 75mm!

Cosmic leafhopper

Insects never fail to amaze. This is a Rhododendron Leafhopper Graphocephala fennahi, apparently introduced to the UK from the US in the early 1900's. It's an amazing coloured beastie. The Lodge, 28th August 2008.

Yellowhammer sunshine

Yellowhammer, Broom, 29th August 2008. Crap light tonight, but the sheer brilliance of this males plumage upped the shutter speed enough (using spot metering) that I got a sharp image.

Buntings really are a wonderful bunch of birds, aren't they?

Autumnal Robin

Robin at Broom, 29th August 2008. Robins are one of my favourite species to photograph. They are always full of character and usually sit still long enough for me to grab a few shots!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Bairds Sandpiper video, part 2

Another video of the Bairds Sand at Paxo. Quite chuffed with seeing this one as it was a UK tick. Seen plenty in Ecuador and the US though...

Bairds Sandpiper video, part 1

Bairds Sandpiper, Pumphouse, Paxton Pits, 27th August 2008. A stunning juvenile bird. Only the second (or third) record for Cambs, and just a few miles north of Bedfordshires only record at Wyboston GP (albeit from 13-24th Sept 1961!)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Surprise Little Grebe shot

Remember my effort at digi-DSLR-scoping? Well, I found this one tonight amongst the masses of images I took that day. Very reasonable I reckon. More perseverence may be needed...

Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plover, Texas, May 2008. Looks just like a Grey Plover to me...

Forsters Tern

Forsters Tern, Texas, May 2008. Looks just like a Common Tern to me...

Least Tern

Least Tern, Texas, May 2008. Looks just like a Little Tern to me...

Volcano Hummingbird

Volcano Hummingbird, Costa Rica, February 2008. This one has an exceptionally short bill so it probably a juvenile.

Volcano Junco

Volcano Junco, Costa Rica, February 2007. Very tame birds. This one hopped around the car wheels.

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