Sunday, 31 May 2009


Weymouth is a surprising place. At first glance it's just a bustling seaside resort. Not the kind of place I normally choose to stay. However, in the Lodmoor and Radipole RSPB reserves it has two outstanding wetland bird habitats. Lodmoor is home to a breeding colony of common terns and that was what drew me there. However, both reserves are packed with interesting birds to see, including several varieties or warbler. There are plenty of reed warblers chuckling away in the reed beds. Louder and more distinctive is the call of the Cetti's warbler. Neither of these birds like to show themselves. In contrast the whitethroat seems happy enough to sit on top a tree and sing in full view.

It was also good to see sedge warblers. This particular bird ran me a merry dance before finally emerging long enough for me to grab a few pictures.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Not so common terns

When I first arrived at Lodmoor on Friday, I thought I'd made a mistake. I was expecting a large number of common terns - but there were none in sight. So I contented myself with a walk around the lake. It was a beautiful day and the warblers were out in force. In fact there was plenty to see. But no terns anywhere. Finally I bumped into a friendly RSPB employee - who informed me that the terns were a little late breeding this year - and as such were all out at sea fishing. "You should have been here on Wednesday - there were over a hundred!" she enthused.

Fortunately for me I did manage to catch up with the terns on Saturday afternoon. Having by this time seen that there were a couple sitting on one of the islands I waited and eventually about twenty more returned. It wasn't exactly the display I'd been hoping for - but it was terns and the light was perfect. None came near enough for any close-up flying shots, but I did manage a number of group shots as they chased off various intruders.

All in all, despite continued issues with my 1D MkIIN (having been 'repaired' by Canon it still exhibits exactly the same problem) it was a successful weekend. I'll post up some of my warbler shots in a day or two, once I've had time to go through them.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

On anticipation

Tomorrow I'm heading off to the Dorset coast for a few days. Back to St Aldelhm's Head where I had my recent encounter with the peregrine. I'm also spending some time in around Weymouth - hoping to get some photos of terns.

The last time I spent any time watching such birds was a group of South American Terns on my last day in the Falkland Islands. The sky was a uniform grey which provided very poor contrast with these predominantly white birds. that I wasn't really happy with any of the photos. I was, however, impressed by the glorious wing and body shapes of these birds.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Wet and windy

As the title suggests the weather this weekend has not been very conducive to photography - although the light as I was driving back down the motorway this evening was fabulous. So no photographs again this week. However, sorting through some I took a couple of weeks ago down at Birling Gap I came across this rather nicely posed sparrow.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

On urban wildlife

On Friday evening I went for a walk along the River Crane. It's my nearest local green space and - despite high levels of vandalism and fly-tipping - is home to significant variety of urban wildlife. As it was getting dark I heard furtive movements in the undergrowth. For a moment I wondered if it was a dog or urban fox. However, suddenly in the twilight a muntjac stag appeared. Spotting me he froze for a second on the path before running off to hide. I'm not sure who was more surprised. Despite being told that muntjac had been seen in Crane Park I'd never really believed it. Now of course, knowing they're practically on my doorstep, I am wondering if it would be possible to get a photo.

Muntjac are very shy. I've only seen them on a handful of occasions and I've never managed a clean shot. The only pictures I have were taken a couple of years ago at The Lodge in Bedfordshire. This particular muntjac was the boldest I've met, but even so it opted for concealment, staying for the most part in the densest undergrowth...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

On Lazy Bank Holidays

I had so many plans for this weekend; but in the end I was so tired that I ended up having a fairly relaxed few days. On Saturday the light was great but I only went for a short walk without my camera at home - and I saw a grey wagtail. On Monday the light was not so great and I ventured further afield. The cliffs by Birling Gap were very busy. Lots of people out for a bank holiday walk. As such, the bird-life was skittish. Despite that I did manage a couple of shots.