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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Active peregrines

With a bit of luck going my way I was able to get closer to the peregrine nest site than I ever had before and still didn't get out of the car. This youngster was wasn't sure of his next move.......
.....eventually he decided to clamber up the chalk face albeit with some diffculty.
Mum was calling them, probably for their tea.....
.... this one also heard her but he was having fun playing hide-and-seek.
 Dad wasn't the least bit interested.....
.....and decided to fly off and do his own thing.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Family of four

My day was made when I saw these two young peregrines. I knew for weeks that there was a nest up there somewhere and it was confirmed the other day with the sighting of one youngster. Then I spotted these two.

 Then to my amazement I saw two more sitting on top of the cliff. I waited a long time hoping they would move closer to one another but no such luck this is the best shot I could get.
These two seemed to get on well together.
Meanwhile dad sat in a nearby tree watching his new family. All this without getting out of the driving seat of my car.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Barn owls again


 Nothing much happened this evening with the peregrines so my attention turned to the barn owl. This shot it flew straight at me, something that I've had happen several times before. As they hunt by sound I think they investigate the sound of the camera.

 Once it was satisfied it couldn't eat me it carried on hunting.
Owls soon become accustomed to human presence and will fly quite close. I had one land on my camera lens once, unfortuneately there was no-one around to get the picture.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

At last.

 I have been watching these peregrines for many weeks now and this evening I was rewarded by the first sighting of a new family. I had believed there was a nest up there somewhere but watching carefully the movements and behaviour of the birds I just couldn't be certain of its existence.
This evening my thoughts were confirmed with the first sighting of a youngster by this pair and did a bit of practice on its wing movements and making a lot of noise screaming.
 Then I spotted what all the fuss was about, hidden in a tree some distance away was mum having her evening meal.
The youngster didn't have to wait for long and mum brought it a share. Mum then flew off with food in her talons I am sure to feed another.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Gruesome, but life

Paid my usual visit to the peregrines last evening to find mum was feasting on a kill. 
After eating her fill she flew off to feed the youngsters. Still cannot locate the nest. my view being obscured by the trees. The young ones can be heard welcoming mum.
Meanwhile behind my back the barn owl is doing the same more quietly and sedately.

Friday, 9 June 2017

More barn owl pics.

With the peregrines still keeping the whereabouts of their nest a secret the barn owls have come to the fore.
The pair are both hunting often seen at the same time. When they make a kill they disappear into the trees at the same spot so I have now changed my mind on the location of their nest.
The location is so clear that I am able to photograph them in very low light.
I have now sorted my new Sony Alpha 77/2 with a bit of help from the instruction book from the 77. The book that comes with the 2 being absolutely useless.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

New camera test


 .
I collected a new camera body the other day but because of the wet weather I was unable to try it until now. I took a trip out to check on the peregrines. I parked the car and set the camera up on the roof when Jacque who had come with me for a drop of fresh air gave me a nudge and behind me was a barn owl quartering the field..
Not an unusual occurance but what an opportunity to try the camera.
 The owl gave us about 10 minutes of pure delight in which I forgot about the peregrines and rattled off over 100 shots of this beauty.
 It came quite close at times so I was able to test the camera over its full range of goodies.
I think I spent my money wisely.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Barn owl

While I sit in the car watching and photographing the peregrines this is whats happening behind my back on the other side of the road.
I think it has a nest nearby and hunts in the field behind me.
I was so intent on watching the peregrines that I never noticed it, until one evening I saw it in the reflection of my glasses. Now I stand a mirror on the roof of the car so that I can get an advanced warning of it approaching.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Peregrines in flight

 These pictures wre taken at a distance of about 350ft so I am very pleased with the results (with a little help from photoshop). They speak highly of my Sony cameras and my 22 year old Sigma 500 lens.
They are taken using my binoculars as a rest on the roof of my car.

This one I had the camera trained on the sitting bird when the other flew in almost hitting its mate.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Barn owl

 Last night with nothing much to do I thought I would check on the peregrines, still not sure if they have young. When just as I was about to leave having packed all my gear into the car this barn owl appeared.
I quickly grabbed my camera and took these shots before it vanished into the woods.
 Wrong lens, wrong camera settings and failing light and with just a few seconds to get the shots off.
Still, now I know where to look and at what time so I shall be waiting with everything set up correctly and I bet it doesn't turn up.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Unbelievable!

I found this scene extraordinary, not that the peregrine was so close to the rabbit, the peregrine would be little threat to it, but the rabbit was half way up a cliff with no signs of how it got there. It must have fallen over the cliff edge, some 100ft down and survived and there it was having a meal quite unconcerned on how it was going to get back up, or down as the case may be.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Peregrines

Rarely do I catch both the male and female together. Its either one or the other. This leads me to believe that they have a nest nearby with young in it. First the male will feed then the female will arrive and have her lunch while the male stands by.
 She has what she wants.
Then flies off to the nest to feed her young. The trouble is that when she does this she disappears from view and I don't see her again.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

My evening walk.

I went for my usual evening walk. The pain killers that I have to take for my gout were working well today. On the way I found this bullfinch having a good time in a crab apple tree. There was a female with him but she was shy and kept herself hidden.
Egyptian goose was a bird that I hadn't seen for a long time when I came across this pair. After a lot of noise and wing flapping the male failed to interest the female and so they went their different ways.
It was a different matter with this pair of black backed gulls. After chasing her around for half an hour he finally got his way. When he had finished he just flew off into the sunset and left her sitting all alone.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Missing the shorties

One of the classic birds that I get each winter is the short-eared owl which I love to photograph but this winter they didn't come. They usually arrive late in the year and stay until spring. This year I spent a lot of time through the winter months looking for them but no such luck. These pictures were taken  last year when we had about ten birds locally.
 They are quite used to people walking their dogs and will fly quite close. They are usually active in the early afternoon and late into the evening.
 This one, after I had taken several shots passed over me just a few feet above my head.
I am posting these pictures as it is so quiet nature-wise and I have a lot of difficulty finding anything to photograph. The local peregrines are confusing me as to whether they are nesting or not. I rarely see them as a pair, mainly just the male so the female could be sitting but I can find no trace of the nest site. I shall keep looking.

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.