Thursday, 24 December 2009

Rosie the red-necked red deer

It hardly seems possible that Christmas is nearly upon us again, although the last few days of snow and frost have helped make things feel a little more festive. I don't have any photos of reindeer, but I rather like this shot of a red deer taken in Bushy Park last week (as I was taking a break from Christmas shopping!).

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and blessed 2010!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

In the deep mid-winter

The last few days have been bitterly cold with snowfall across the south of England - relatively unusual for December. Today, however, the sun was out and the light was beautiful. I took the opportunity for a walk in the park after completing my Christmas shopping. Most of the ponds in the Woodland Gardens were covered in thick ice, restricting the ducks to a few small areas of open water. This enabled me to get up close and personal with a couple of species which generally keep their distance. The first of these was a female red-crested pochard. Not quite as gaudy as the male - but I think I prefer her subtle colours. Particularly in the soft winter light

The second was the tufted duck. I have lots of photos of these - but for some reason very few that I'm pleased with. I think the problem is that if you expose the shot so as not to blow out the brilliant whites, you lose the sheen of their heads. On this shot I over-exposed the white feathers, but cropping them out yields an interesting portrait.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

A morning at Cliffe Pools RSPB

I took advantage of the great light today by having a wander round Cliffe Pools RSPB reserve near Rochester in Kent. There was a lot going on down there. Lapwings, egrets and kingfishers to name but a few species I saw. The highlights of the day for me, however, were a chance encounter with a group of shore larks and an extended display by a kestrel.

I'd read about shore larks in another blog last week - otherwise I'd have had no idea what they were. Sadly, they were on the far side of a rather muddy stream so I wasn't able to get close enough for anything other than a record shot.

The kestrel, however, seemed positively determined to be photographed. It kept flying close by and then hovering or perching up in full view. I wish all birds where this co-operative!