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Thursday, 22 December 2016

Peregrine Falcons

The workmen having long gone and things are getting back to normal around the home I took a break and thought I would look up a couple of old friends of mine. There they were the female screaming at her mate, possibly for something to eat.
Having had enough of her tongue he decided to take off and find something else to do.
He hadn't gone long before he sneaked back while she was looking the other way.
He hid lower down the cliff and watched her. Darkness fell and I left them to their matrimonial difficulties. If only I could get nearer but at my age climbing cliffs is out of the question.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Green woodpecker

A miserable wet day with no chance of going out with my camera when this happened. A green woodpecker decided he liked the colour of my lawn with the sand and other debris left by the the builders covering it.
With the falling rain  I managed this shot through the living room window before it misted up and he had enough and flew off. Its the best bird I have had in the garden since we moved in.

Beware work in progress

For the past two weeks we have extensive  work done on the outside of the house with scaffolding and machinery all over the garden which the animals  have found it all a bit upsetting and they have not been visiting. Most of the work is now finished and the machinery gone and the hedgehogs were the first to return followed closely by the foxes. That's the vixen saying hello to Charlie the hedgehog.
The scaffolding is still up but they don't seem to mind that. The foxes are a pair, this is the male who I have named Bigtail and the vixen I have called Scruff. You would know why if you saw them both together. This is a shot of Bigtail.

Friday, 18 November 2016

BINGO !

I went for my afternoon walk hoping to find something to photograph and BINGO I saw the great grey shrike much closer than I had seen it before. It seemed a bit agitated and I soon saw why.
 Sitting much closer to me was another and as they are very territorial and don't like each others company it quickly left leaving me to enjoy the other one.
As I wandered back to the car I came across this stonechat enjoying the late afternoon sun.

Old faithfuls

 Still having a lot of trouble finding interesting wildlife to photograph. Nothing is happening in my garden during daylight hours, no birds on my feeders, except the occasional wood pigeon. I do have a couple of local spots that have been good to me in the past but over the last few months they have produced little.
But after dark my garden comes to life. Beside the bats that are often seen in the warmer evenings the hedgehog visits for his supper of meal worms and the fox comes round for his peanuts and grapes.
I've had little success photographing the bats, but with a bit of luck in the Spring who knows?
You eat your meal worms son and I will keep a look out.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Great grey shrike

Almost 80 years old and I see my first great grey shrike. I've been looking for owls for the past few months with little success or in fact anything else of interest when this evening when a group of twitchers  turned up complete with scopes and within a few moments spotted this bird about 150m away. With the fading light I didn't have much time and out of a dozen or so shots this one was the best. Within minutes it had disappeared into the gloom.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Shovellers

 For the past few months I have spent an hour or two each day looking for some sort of wildlife to photograph. As you can see I haven't had much luck. Just a few old faithfuls on a local pond that have been keeping my interests alive. The light wasn't good this afternoon and I struggled to get some decent shots.
This is a shoveller doing what he is best at, shovelling.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Favourite pics

 Having very little to photograph lately I have been going through my files (all 30,000 or so) and picked out these that I don't think they have been seen before. The barn owl is one that I photographed on a regular basis for about 5 years.
The fox and I new each other well. 10 years ago I found it, a tiny little black thing, obviously lost wandering and howling so I steered it towards its den. I saw it on many occasions after that and he just accepted me as the norm and I got many pictures of him.
 A fisherman friend of mine told me that where he goes fishing there is lots of wildlife around. He told me of an osprey that drops in for a meal, I never saw the osprey but got the shock of my life when this badger wandered past.
 At my old home this pair of hedgehogs used to pop round every evening for a bite to eat. They became quite trusting and rarely ran away, in fact on one occasion one took food from my hand. I have hedgehogs at my new home but they are not so friendly.
I have taken many pictures of kingfishers over the years. This one is one of my favourites, she would sit just a few feet away knowing I was there but ignoring me.
Nuthatch in its typical pose. Another of my favourite birds.
This osprey visited Horsham on a couple of occasions saving me the trouble of traveling to Wales to photograph them.
This is a young peregrine. I discovered the nest at the time I had a Welsh licence. The nest was on the opposite side of a ravine which was about 30m deep with a river at the bottom. The bird was only about10m from me. I had two years photography at this nest site.
This was a lucky shot of a red kite. I was standing in the shadow of a building and the kite didn't see me till the last minute.
This is a rare leucistic red kite. I have only come across 3 birds in the British Isles. This one I photographed for about 10 years. Leucisism is a lack of melanin which is the pigment that puts the colour into hair and feathers. These birds are not known to breed.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Curlew

 I have been scouring the countryside looking for wildlife of interest and have had little luck. So deciding to stretch my legs a bit I headed of down to the coast to a place I know where I would have better luck. What disappointment, all I could find was this solitary curlew too far away to get any decent shots.
Must try harder as my teacher at school would say.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Evening patrol



Still nothing to shout about locally. I go out late afternoon on most days and tour the local patches but there is very little to see. On the way home I call in to see how the peregrines are, as you can see they are both healthy and well fed. The youngsters have long gone although one was seen nearby a couple of days ago.
The foxes are regular visitors to my garden which gives me a use for my trail camera's. The hedgehogs too come in just after dark for their supper. I put down peanuts and mealworms, which the hedgehog loves leaving the peanuts for the fox.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Fallow deer

I went for my usual evening walk in our local woodland still looking for the badger set that I know exists somewhere nearby when I came across the fallow deer that I met the other night. It was quite dark and I wasn't sure that I could get a good image but I took the chance and this was the outcome. I used my 500m F4 lens with an ISO800 setting and with a little help from photoshop I was pleased with the result.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Ghostly animal

Have'nt had much luck with the camera lately but I am still playing with low light shots. This evening I met this fallow deer and we stood and stared at each other for several minutes until he heard the click of the camera shutter and decided that was enough.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Black tailed godwit and friends.

 I went for a walk by the river this evening and got the surprise of my life. I was the last thing I expected to see. Black tailed godwits  feeding in the shallows.
 They were some distance away so these are the best shots that I could manage. My camera set up with converters was equal to about 1500mm and hand held I took many shots knowing that the law of averages would give me something worth keeping.
 I took about 150 shots and had 9 of them OK. Couldn't do that in the days of film.
On the far bank well out of range for anything decent was this group of gadwall (I think) with a pair of snipe and a couple of lapwings, all seem to be enjoying each others company. Not bad for a 10 minute stroll.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Herons

The herons on our village pond are quite used to the traffic noise and passers-by and so are very obliging when it comes to being photographed. I don't know why they are called grey herons because these are most certainly blue.
Strange pose of this one, it had spotted a goldfish,(there are several in the pond) and he appeared to get annoyed with it. By the angle of its foot I thought it might going to stamp on it.
With the angle of the setting sun reflecting off the water gave the appearance of an actor in front of the stage footlights.
This one is an actor playing the part of a swan.

Friday, 12 August 2016

The village pond

 Encouraged by the earlier walks I did the same this evening and on the way I passed the village pond and spotted a family of young coots .
 On one of the posts surrounding the pond a young green woodpecker sat motionless thinking I hadn't seen him. He was still there when I left to go home.
Standing guard over the pond stood a young heron keeping a watchful eye on the other  youngsters.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

New set up

 Numerous troubles that I have had computer-wise have now gone thanks to a genius and the parting of a three figure sum. I spent a little time exploring other parts of my new patch. I have plenty of ponds and rivers around me that have a variety of wildlife.
 They a good feeding area's for lapwings and egrets.
 And of course the rabbit is everywhere.
Deciding to give the peregrines a rest for a while I tried a local sand pit some miles away from the nest and to my surprise the first thing that I saw was the male peregrine with a kill.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Peregrines at play

 Problems with windows 10 have brought my blogging to a standstill but it hasn't stopped me from my photography. Over the past week I have paid many visits to the peregrines and have enjoyed the spectacle of the young birds at play.
 Don't quite know what the game was but they certainly enjoyed playing it.
The lower bird loved turning upside down and did it several times.

Worn out after playing for about 20 minutes they settled down to wait for their evening meal. The pictures were taken with a 600m lens with 2x converter and of course hand held at a distance of about 400ft.
Just as a matter of interest I've scrapped windows 10 and reverted to  7pro.

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.