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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What a Christmas present?

Reed Bunting

Nuthatch

Magpie
After 5 months of hobbling everywhere on crutches, every step being painful not being able to walk
more than 20 metres, the hospital not being able to do much, suddenly a couple of days before
Christmas the pain disappeared, I could stand up straight and walk without a crutch. If any readers
have had sciatica they will know just what I mean. I felt like a new man and it took 20 years off my
age. So I celebrated by going for long walks and photographing everything in sight. Here are a couple
of shots that I took at Warnham LNR when the crowds would let me.
To top it all the hedgehog was caught on one of my infra-red cameras on Christmas morning.
Happy New Year to you all.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Barn Owl

Not being able to get out much I have been spending a lot of time sitting at my computer sorting files
and generally tidying up. I spent a couple of years photographing this barn owl ending with loads of
pictures that have never been seen. This is the male and during this time he had several mates losing
two of them, one to a fox.
Barn owl tend to be more active at dusk so making photography difficult. The field that hunted on was
open and on clear evenings the sun low in the sky made for some exciting views.
 Many people used to watch him in the evenings which he soon got used to and would fly past quite close.
 He would hover while hunting in the long grass just a matter of a few metre's away.
After losing his mate feeding five youngsters was a bit of a handful so he often was seen quartering
the field quite early in the afternoon.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Kingfisher

 With the works in full swing at the reserve and the noise from the pile driver putting in the new retaining wall for the lake one would think that the wildlife should have left weeks ago. Just the opposite, most of the creatures have moved to the other end and left the kingfishers to dominate the area around the works. Luckily for me, not being able to walk far at the moment, tern hide being my limit, I am getting plenty of action. This shot is the best from yesterdays visit when he sat in the willow just 15 metres away.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Kingfishers

                                               The male going down with his eye on a fish.
                                                         Coming back up empty handed.
                                      While the female entertained me with some aero-acrobatics.
I must apologise for the past week I've had trouble replying to and making comments. I hope that I have got it all sorted out now.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Hedgehogs and Kingfishers

With me not feeling up to much over the past week or so I have limited my adventures to the wildlife in my garden. Today I felt more energetic and dosing myself with a few pills I took myself off over to Warnham LNR to see how the works are progressing. A major operation is under way to improve the water flow through the reserve with improvements nature wise .Hopefully the work will be completed early next year and both visitors and the wildlife will reap the benefits.
Harry having a wander around the garden in front of one of my infra-red cameras.
 I thought that with all the heavy machinery in use that it may upset the wildlife but no, it seems to have made no difference at all. Plenty of activity with two kingfishers dashing around the lake with this male catching a fish and chosing to sit on a branch that Jake only cleared for him a few days ago.
Well done Jake, the view is perfect.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Fox in my garden

 With old age creeping up on me and not being so energetic as in my younger days my field trips are not so frequent as I would like, so a lot of my photography is being limited to my small garden. I have several infra-red cameras which are being put to good use just to see what goes on during the hours of darkness. Besides the wood mouse and hedgehog this young dog fox comes quite regular. Mostly after dark but on this occasion visited just after 6.00am.
After a quick check to make sure the coast was clear he finished up the meal worms that had been left for the hedgehog.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Hedgehog in the garden

I have been a little concerned over the past few days on the whereabouts of 'Harry'. The animals that frequent our gardens seem to have gone, this includes the bats, wood mice and even a neighbouring cat. I need not of worried though as last night it returned to normal and my fears of 'wrong doing' were unfounded.
Harry turned up early and devoured his tit-bits before the slugs had a chance.
The day before several of us sat in tern hide and were treated to some close-ups of a common sandpiper and a kingfisher that spent most of the time hiding in the undergrowth.
This was the only opportunity I got of a decent shot before it dissappeared again.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Introducing Harry

This is Harry or Harriette as the case may be. I first captured him/her on my infra-red camera's set up in my small garden. Becoming a regular visitor for its evening meal I decided to push my luck and see how close I could get with a flash camera. To my amazement it totally ignored me, not bothered by the flash, or how close I was, I managed to get these pics and when it had finished the meal worms it just wandered off into the night.
I shall have to be careful not to over feed it so I just leave a couple of tastey nibbles to keep it happy and hope I get more opportunities, who knows, he might bring along a few friends or even a family.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Bullying heron

As a volunteer and therefor a frequent visitor to Warnham LNR in Horsham I get to notice the habits of some of the wildlife. The herons do make demmands and are very much bullys when it comes to others sitting on their fishing perches and are often seen pushing their weight around.
Then after succeeding in gaining control of the situation they promptly nod off.
For your information Warnham LNR is having to change its blog address as from 26th August 2014 to-:
horshamwildlife.blogspot.co.uk

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Busy kingfisher

 This sequence of pictures were taken in less than a minute as a kingfisher arrived on his post for duty. The light was again poor so a lot of the pictures were deleted..
 Spied a fish and took off to make the catch.
 Successfully caught its prey and returned to his post to enjoy the meal.
Sits smuggly on his post waiting for for his dessert to come along.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Bad light nearly stopped play

 Once again when the kingfishers performed the light was poor but with a bit of messing about in photoshop I was able to do a pretty good rescue job.
These shots were taken on three different trips to the post. I got them in the usual way of focusing on the post and waiting for the bird to fly into shot. One eye on the viewfinder and the other watching the bird.
I was lucky enough to get this one after catching a fish. One day the light will be perfect and I will get perfection.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Kingfisher reflections

After the storm this afternoon I had a little time to spare so I dropped in at Warnham LNR to see if I could snap anything up. Sitting in tern hide with nothing happening several people that were there soon left and left me to my own company. A kingfisher came by and settled on the post and within seconds another decided it was his turn for the fishing post.
A scrap ensued and I grabbed a few shots before they both flew off. The fight scenes were poor by my standards so they were deleted but I kept these two of  one bird leaving the battle zone.

My garden animals

After the demise of my private nature reserve for reasons beyond my control I had several infra-red cameras sitting around unused. As I knew that we had a wood mouse living in our shed I thought I would set the cameras up and see what I could get. Because I live in a ground floor flat with a miniscule garden I did not expect much. I had seen the wood mouse in daylight so it was no surprise to see this little fellow tucking into the peanuts left for him.
 This young fox had to jump the fence to get into the garden attracted by the smell of the peanuts and mouse no doubt. He now calls quite often.
The hedgehog was the biggest surprise. We had a new garden gate fitted some time ago which
had quite a sizable gap under it which allowed this hedgehog access to the garden and the food. Again, he is now a regular visitor.
I wonder what the chances are of a badger paying a visit?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Kingfishers

As you are aware I like my pictures to have some movement or a bit of action so as the common terns have now left for Africa I have turned my attention to the kingfishers. I have so far identified four different birds and  I am sure there are more.
 A small bird such as the kingfisher travelling at some 30 to 40 mph low over the water can be a bit tricky to photograph but my Alpha 77  seems to capture it well.
I got this one by holding the camera still and letting the bird fly across the frame. At 12 frames a second you are bound to get at least one decent shot.
This one I focussed on the water where I thought the kingfisher would dive and waited for him to perform. If you are quick enough you can get the moment he hits the water but I need a bit more practice for that.

Friday, 25 July 2014

After the storms

 After the storms this afternoon I took my usual trip to the reserve. I had been trying to get a decent picture of one of the pair of common sandpipers that have been hanging around. This one was very obliging.
 A couple of odd photo opportunities arose. Whats this? A swan who thinks he's a heron or a heron who thinks he's a swan.
This heron stood like this for several minutes. Does anybody know what he is up to?
 This kingfisher was defending his fishing post and barked abuse at a passing grey wagtail.
He even had a go at a tern on the goal post but not so brave this time and quickly left.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Exploring young fox

 Sitting quietly in tern hide with several others when the word fox was whispered and out of the undergrowth appeared a young dog fox. A hot day and thirsty the need for a drink had overcome his fear.

 He paused for a moment when he realised he was being watched.
 Not sure about the situation he seemed undecided.
Thirst overcame fear and he carried on down to the waters edge for his drink.
 Thirst quenched he crept of into the bushes.
Pausing for second for me to take his portrait.

Mike Attwood - Photographer

About Me

My photo
Evacuated during the second world war to a village in Yorkshire where I lived in the home of a good photographer for more than five years who taught me the basics and a great deal about nature. Well past retirement age I have been a wildlife photographer for more than 30 years. Red Kites have been my speciality for much of this period. I did spend several years snapping wheelchair athletes and organizing the British Road Race Championship. In the year 2000 I was awarded a distinction by the Royal Photographic Society for my portfolio on wheelchair athletes. Most of my pics are digital, using Sony cameras and Sigma lenses. I used to spend many weeks each year with friends in Wales which is close to the Elan Valleys where I got many of my raptor pics. I now get these pictures more closely to home, specially red kites and peregrines. I support my pension by selling my pics, cards, coasters, fridge magnets and key rings etc. at craft fairs, something I wish I had done much earlier in life. I give illustrated talks to clubs and societies on wildlife and other branches of photography that I have been involved in.