[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Ringed Plover


Bird Snapping
June 7, 2009 9:45 am
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Ringed Plover

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Last week when I saw the dunlins I also spotted these plovers. I knew instantly that they were plovers, but I was not sure which species it was.

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Later though I identified it as a ringed plover. Its distinctive features are the orange beak tipped with black and the orange legs.

SONY DSCIn contrast, the Little ringed plover, which looks similar has a black bill and pale legs. Also the ringed plover displays a white wing bar in flight which is absent in the little ringed plover.

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The birds are usually seen on tidal flats and fields where they feed insects, crustaceans and worms, relying on their sight.

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They nest on the ground  with little or no plant cover. An interesting fact about the ringed plover is that when nesting, and if threatened by predators, the parent bird will draw attention away from the nest by walking away and feigning a broken wing.

SONY DSC Although this species is usually migratory, most of the birds in UK are resident throughout the year.

 

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All these pictures were obtained with my Sony A200 camera + Minolta 500mm f8 reflex lens. Images were cropped later.

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For more bird photography visit .

For those interest in macro photography do visit my Macro Blog.

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 6/07/2009 10:51:00 AM

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[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Dunlins


Bird Snapping
May 31, 2009 6:21 am
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Dunlins

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This weekend turned out to be sunny and hot again, and we decided to head out to Severn beach . Severn beach is known for its Dunlins and sure enough there was a flock hanging around.   

SONY DSC The last time I went there I still had my point and shoot bridge camera and as a result my pictures were blurred and noisy.

SONY DSC This time, armed with my Sony A200 dSLR and Minolta 500mm f8 lens, I was counting on getting much better images.

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The Dunlins although looking very attractive in these images, are quite well camouflaged and hard to pick out amidst the rocks and mud.

SONY DSC The Dunlins are among the more common small waders found in England. SONY DSC In spring and summer, they have a dark patch on their bellies which is distinctive. Their slightly downturned beaks and fat shape are also worth noting.

SONY DSC In winter they lose all the streaks on their bellies and flanks and become harder to identify.

SONY DSC The bill length varies between sexes, with the females having longer bills than the males.

SONY DSC They have a characteristic "sewing machine" feeding action, by which they pick out small food items. Their feed includes small crustaceans, insects , molluscs and worms.

SONY DSCThey are gregarious birds and can be seen in feeding flocks formed with other birds such as plovers as seen in the picture above.

  

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 5/31/2009 07:27:00 AM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Swifts and House Martins


Bird Snapping
May 28, 2009 11:11 am
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Swifts and House Martins

Great sunshine last Sunday gave me an opportunity to aim my fixed aperture f8 Minolta 500mm lens at the sky and try photograph some birds in flight.

A few mallards flew past giving me some ok shots….SONY DSC

Some even came too close for my camera`s comfort!

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However, my real target was the swifts which have been increasing in numbers over Blackberry hill.

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as you can see from the image above, most of my shots were out of focus…..

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The swifts were just too swift for my camera`s auto focus….

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I tried shifting to manual focus and got a half decent shot…but with the success I was having, I decided that such fast birds were not for the current setup I had.

I was about to head off when I noticed a flash of white among the all black swifts. I also noticed that these birds were much slower in flight.

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These slower birds turned out to be house martins.

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I couldn't get closer, but hopefully I`ll get some better shots soon. Last July I had also photographed swallows on Blackberry hill. I wonder if all three will stay together in a season.

   

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 5/28/2009 12:17:00 PM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: A Wren is Bagged


Bird Snapping
May 25, 2009 4:11 am
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A Wren is Bagged

The Wren has been another bird that I`ve never been able to capture a decent image of. I see them all the time when I`m in the woods or on a quiet evening. However, all that changed yesterday.

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Although it is among the more widespread species in the country, normally the wrens are very shy. They prefer living among the undergrowth, and frittering about amidst the bushes.

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They do come out into the open, but normally it is a glimpse , not long enough for the auto focus seed of my camera and lens.

SONY DSC I have thus had many a close encounter with wrens, ending up being frustratingly close to a great shot but coming up a cropper!

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Yesterday though, was a perfect day. The sun was shining like it never does in the UK, and as I was stalking a Whitethroat, I was drawn to a bird sitting on a broken tree trunk and singing away. It was a young wren. I went berserk and clicked away.

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It flew away after a minute but ended up sitting in a bush even closer to me, where it resumed its singing. I clicked away yet again (ending up with more than 400 snaps).

SONY DSC I guess this bird is a juvenile, given away by the above display, in which it appears to be readying itself for receiving from its parent.

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Wrens are normally solitary birds. However, during winter they are known to form roosting packs.

SONY DSC Another interesting thing about wrens is that the male builds several nests. The female then chooses one amongst them and then prepares it for her eggs.

SONY DSC The wrens have an amazingly loud song and you are more likely to hear a wren before you see it. If not the musical song, its the constant “chit chit” call from among the bushes.

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Anyway, I’m glad to finally have a wren among my photo collection. I wonder which difficult bird is going to model itself next.

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 5/25/2009 05:20:00 AM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Two Chiffchaffs


Bird Snapping
April 19, 2009 3:42 am
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Two Chiffchaffs

Its amazing how the body form varies in warblers. Its often quite confusing. I was out yesterday, concentrating on macro photos for my Macro Photography website when out of the trees burst two chiffchaffs fighting with each other in mid flight. One of them came and sat right above my head. Luckily, my birding setup was still intact on the SLR (I`m testing the macro setup on my bridge camera). Anyway, that gave me my first close up of a chiff chaff. You can see its been involved in a fight, as some feathers are out of place and a few strands of the other bird are still stuck in its beak.

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Anyway, as you can see from the above shots, the bird has a very elongated form. Half an hour later, we saw another chiffchaff, sitting in the trees and singing away. This one however has a more rounded body structure. If I hadn`t known better, Id have said its two different species!

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Perhaps, its just they way they ruffle their feathers, but this variation always has me confused. Well, with the amount of confusion going around…with people reporting that one can even imitate the calls of others, I wouldn't even be surprised it was two different species. meanwhile here`s a guide to differentiate between chiffchaff's and willow warblers from the birdwatch.co.uk website (Click for link):

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 4/19/2009 04:49:00 AM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Canada Goose at Duchess Pond


Bird Snapping
April 15, 2009 12:27 am
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Canada Goose at Duchess Pond

 

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

@Duchess pond

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 4/15/2009 01:33:00 AM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Little Egret


Bird Snapping
April 14, 2009 7:58 am
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Little Egret

 

 

Considering that I  have never seen a little Egret in the UK before, the past two weeks have been amazing. I`ve seen more than my fair share, although at Zoos. The first few shots were taken, not of a captive bird, which showed up in time for the penguin feeding session. While the weekend crowd jostled with each other to view the penguins, I concentrated on the Egret.

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A week later and I was at the Bristol zoo, this time the birds were captive ones.

Bistol Zoo Birds

 

Bistol Zoo Birds

 

Bistol Zoo Birds

The little egret is a recent coloniser in UK. The plumes on its head are a feature of the adult bird in breeding season.

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 4/14/2009 09:04:00 AM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Chiffchaff singing


Bird Snapping
April 2, 2009 11:15 pm
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Chiffchaff singing

 

With Chiffchaffs becoming more common, now that spring is here, I`m getting to see some on Star Hill as well. This one was high up in the tree and I wouldnt have known it was there if it hadn't been for the loud and chirpy chiff-chaff chiff-chaff…. echoing off the treetop.

Chiffchaff

 

Chiffchaff

 

Chiffchaff

 

Chiffchaff

 

Chiffchaff

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 4/03/2009 12:21:00 AM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Blackbird


Bird Snapping
March 31, 2009 11:49 pm
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Blackbird

 

Blackbird

 

Blackbird

 

Blackbird

Blackbird

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 4/01/2009 12:55:00 AM

[Bird Snapping] Bird Snapping: Moorhen Flying


Bird Snapping
March 31, 2009 2:12 pm
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Moorhen Flying

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Posted By Tom to Bird Snapping on 3/31/2009 03:20:00 PM