Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Backlit Mute Swans

A lunchtime walk along the Embankment in Peterborough.

Mute Swan Cygnus olor

Canon EOS500 70-300mm IS USM

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sepia Dawn White-front

A misty dawn provided this atmospheric shot of the lingering white-front at the west end of Gunwade Lake, Ferry Meadows.

European White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons albifrons with Greylags Anser anser

Canon EOS500 70-300mm IS USM

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Goosander, Ferry Meadows

Found this swimming on Lynch Lake at Ferry Meadows this morning.

Goosander, female/immature with Black-headed and Common Gulls

Canon EOS500D 70-300mm IS USM

Friday, November 18, 2011

European White-fronted Goose

This was found at Ferry Meadows yesterday by newcomer on the block Malte Busch, who also found a Great Grey Shrike here but that could not be relocated this morning. I relocated the goose with a flock of Greylags just west of the river along the Nene Valley Railway.

Note the pinkish bill and clear white band at the tail tip, features that help place it in the North-east European tunra population rather than that from Greenland.

Lone adults consorting with feral geese are often written off as escapes but there have been no records of such birds in the summer and there can be little doubt this is wild bird. There has been an unusual influx of these geese into Britain over the past week or so and no doubt we will see more.

It would be nice to get a decent bird that isn't only photographable at a distance in half light.

European White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons albifrons

Canon EOS500D 70-300mm IS USM

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grey Squirrel

The only photographable wildlife on another sunny lunchtime jaunt to the Broadway Cemetery.

Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

Canon EOS500D 70-300mm IS USM

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mid-November mothing

A run of mild nights has resulted in just a couple of Feathered Thorns. These were there again last night but had a bit of company giving the following list:
1395 Rusty Dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis), 1
1760 Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata), 1
1923 Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria), 2
2259 Dark Chestnut (Conistra ligula), 1

Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria

Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata

Canon Powershot A640

Friday, November 11, 2011

Woo, Smew

Smew is now seriously scarce in the Peterborough area; this was my first in the area for 4 years! I found this redhead in the south bay of Gunwade Lake but while I was cycling around to the west side for a better look it had taken off and I watched it fly high to the east never to be seen again. A real shame.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Grey Phalarope

So, another Grey Phal! And another find, my third (although the first was a joint effort).

I was cycling into work around Overton Lake when I picked it up. Initially heard calling rather like Kingfisher and while scanning for it saw this. At first in flight it resembled a tiny marsh tern! As it got closer it looked more wader-like and I entertained thoughts of Sanderling, but it didn't look right and that call was wrong. Then it landed on the water, still rather distant, but the penny had dropped and I was fairly sure of the id at this point and started to ring the other birders I knew were on site.

It remained flighty, only settling and attempting to feed for short periods. Before anyone else got to it it flew off and it took a while to refind it on Overton again where it was successfully seen by Don Gardener, Chris Avanti, Matt Webb and Mike Weedon. I stayed with it for about half an hour until it flew off again. I headed off to work but it was relocated on Gunwade Lake where it showed well until 10:00 when it flew off high to the north.

Of course the photos leave a lot to be desired. It was very dull (which is why the bird was here in the first place) and the bird stayed at a good distance. I've included the blurred flight shots as it's nice to have some images of the open wing.

Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius

Canon EOS 500D 70-300mm IS USM

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Terror of the garden feeders. The coarse barring and streaked upper breast mark this out as a juvenile. I think it may have overdone the eye-liner though. It was quite small, so probably a male. Unfortunately not terribly close and taken through double glazing so not a brilliant shot.

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus

Canon EOS 500D 70-300mm IS USM

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A few late moths

Ran the MV trap last night and came up with a few moths:
2227 The Sprawler (Brachionycha sphinx) 2
2245 Green-brindled Crecent (Allophyes oxyacanthae) ab. capucina 1
2375 Large Wainscot (Rhizedra lutosa) 1
2441 Silver Y (Autographa gamma) 1

The Sprawler Brachionycha sphinx

Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa

Canon Powershot A640

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Dark Chestnut

The weather has been quite favourable for mothing for the past few days with mild southerly winds promising the chance of migrants but I've just not got around to setting the trap up. However a good moth came to me last night in the shape of the third ever Dark Chestnut for the garden attracted to house lights.

This is a classic dark, oily-looking individual with a nice straight termen and sharp apex.

Dark Chestnut Conistra ligula

Canon Powershot A640

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Broadway Cemetery

For some time now I've been very unhappy with shots from my EOS500 and 70-300mm combination to the point where I've been considering a replacement. But as ever the first thing to check is operator error. Now there is no getting away from the fact that the 70-300mm is not sharp at 300mm wide open. But what I'd failed to realise was just how much better it is stopped down and how good the IS is even at relatively slow shutter speeds. The following shots were taken at Broadway Cemetery this lunchtime. All are stopped down to f16 or more leading to shutter speeds of as low as 1/30s even at ISO400. But here's the thing, they are really sharp and not at all noisy.

So basically I've been ballsing it up all this time by not working with the limitations and strengths of the equipment. I hope to get get out and get some more shots before too long.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f. spectabilis

Canon EOS 500 70-300mm IS USM