7th September

http://flaghead.co.uk/pages/gallery/astart/triggersmart-start.html 

  

Haw & Boar 12.4.2012

Yesterday I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go to the Wye Valley to photograph Hawfinch, and then in the afternoon to the Forest of Dean to see if we could find some Wild Boar.

A good friend of mine Stuart Sutton (no relation) a wildlife warden for Forestry Commision and keen wildlife photographer contacted me regarding the Hawfinch and possible Wild Boar at one of his colleagues' woods in the Wye Valley & Forest of Dean.

Yesterday morning we set off from East Sussex at 2.30am and arrived at the first location in the wonderful Wye Valley at 6.30am and met Stuarts colleague Adrian Thomas.

Adrian took us to a remote location in one of his woods, where we set up our photographic hides. It wasn't long before we could hear the Hawfinches in the tops of the trees above our heads, we sat there for a further ten minutes until the first Hawfinch came down to feed. We both sat there for a good 4 hours and got some great shots of Hawfinch.

 

 

 

We then went to Symonds Yat for a spot of lunch and admired the views  , , ,,   mmmm ,,,,,,,, , !.

 

After lunch we set off to the location in the Forest of Dean given to us by Stuarts other colleague, we arrived about  2.00pm and were told to go to a crossroads in this wood and get well covered and wait. Again it wasn't long and we spotted our first Boar appearing out of the undergrowth and behind it there were seven piglets and then another sow!!!!

They came right out in the open but the light wasn't great and then it started to rain, I wasn't bothered in the slightest, I couldn't believe I was so close to wild Boar, after all the things you hear about them.

They looked so at home in their natural environment and I managed some super shots, a day truly to remember.

I would like to thank all responsible at the Forestry Commision for a wonderful day!

 

 

Autumn Squirrels 22.11.2011

This is my take on the autumn Grey Squirrel as I see it.

I have set up in a local wood near where I live to photograph the humble Grey Squirrel, being an intuder to our countryside the grey has been persecuted from the length and breth of our country for running out the native Red Squirrel.

The picture that I was after was to get the Squirrel in mid jump, but was I going to do it with High Speed Flash or natural light, well I decided on natural light for my first set of images. This sequence of images show the Grey jumping from one branch to another in different stages.

 

  Frog Blog   25.7.2011

Last week while out on a walk something cought my eye moving in the grass, as got closer I could see it was the humble Common Frog, this got me thinking, so I rushed back to the truck and grabed a container to put the frog in.

Once home I put the frog in a aquarium with water and some plant life and a rock.

The next day I got the high speed flash equiptment all set up around my garden pond, I took a series of pictures in which a few turned out really nice.

Frog leaping off the rock which is just under the surface of the water.

 

 

 

 

Little Owl Experience   20.6.2011

The past four weeks I have had the pleasure of spending some quality time with a little owl family.

From when the female had just finished brooding the chicks right up to when the young branched, which is when the young Owlets leave the safety of the nest chamber and climb out to a safe haven higher in the tree. At this time, the young are still unable to fly and are still being fed by both adult parents.

I have seen some great Little Owl behaviour, and seen how versatile they are at catching their prey from beetles, worms, moths, mice and even a small bird.

I have also spent time from early evening up to midnight and caught them in flight bringing in all types of prey, as you will see in some of my images. However, amongst all of the behaviour I love best is when they do that Little Owl thing, they sit on a post shake themselves and blow their feathers up like a football they look just splendid.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I did taking them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adders

26 March 2011  

Most adders are distinctively marked with a dark zigzag running down the length of the spine and an inverted 'V' shape on the neck. Males are generally white or pale grey with a black zigzag. Females are a pale brown colour, with a darker brown zigzag. But some adders are entirely black and can be mistaken for some other species.

I have been working with Adders just latley at a local site where I live, I started with images of Adders basking in the sun, then moved on to a slightly harder shot of them flicking there tounge.

But the picture I was after was catch a Adder in mid strike mode, I had never seen such an image before It was defanantly some thing that I felt needed recording not for my sake but just for a record.

The stiking images were taken with special high speed flash and some very high tech equipment.

I would advise you not to try this, as I have great knowledge in working with these snakes it could end up in harming you or more inportantly the snake its self.

                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

20 February 2011

Hi, the dreary weather continues, but I have managed to get out on the odd occasion,

I went over to Seaford Head to see if the Kittiwakes and the Fulmars had returned and I’m glad to report they have.
 
The Kittiwakes have already paired up and taking up their nest sites, which I can only describe as a petite platform constructed of mud, seaweed and the odd piece of decorative string.
 
How the hell they bring up one or two chicks on such a precarious construction high up on a cliff god only knows! The female was sat on the nest and the male was bringing in small tokens of food, which I should imagine is part of their bonding process.
 
The Fulmars were slightly higher up on the cliff, again they had taken up some nesting sites and they also were bonding in the way of one of the adult birds were sat tight, chattering its beak and swaying its head side to side.
 
The other Fulmars were flying in close to me and tilting their heads to one side as if to have a better look to see if I was a threat or not. The speed these birds fly is incredible, no beating of the wings just gliding  and making the most of the thermal currents to get extra thrust, a challenge for any photographer but I was glad with the results.

 

 

 

23 January 2011

Hi
Been very frustrated lately with the terrible weather we have had to injure! nonstop rain now for 3 weeks!
I have managed to get out on the odd occasion; one was a visit to the a site in Sussex where I heard there were some Exmore ponies.
I drove to the Forest where the ponies had been seen.
After a good steady walk for about a mile I came to the top of a very steep hill I see something move about 500 yards in the distance as I looked through my lens I could see the ponies they looked stunning with a very cold light and it was trying to snow.
As I got closer and  was surprised they wasn’t detoured by my presence, I spent about an hour with them willing it to snow but nothing, After a while the sky started to break up and the light was becoming too harsh it was time for me to go. I will return again maybe when we have some snow on the ground.
 
 As I was walking back to the truck I come across this 3 year old buck and a young doe.

 

8 December 2010

Hi Its been a while but I have been after a certain shot of a Nuthatch in flight and still not sure I have the shot I wanted but dam close as you will see below.

The other thing is trying to conqure this light problem of bird taken with flash looking like daylight rather than at night, Im glad to say I think I have acheived it at last but not without its problems.

It was also bad timing with snow as I wanted to get out more and photograph the Barn Owl in the snow but was tied up in the Nuthatch flight project, I did manage to get out one morning just before the large snow fall we had and grabed a couple of Owl shots, one that I am pleased with that I have posted as picture of the month.

While I was doing the flight shots of the Nuthatch I also got some nice shots of the Great and Blue and Coal Tits in flight.

This above Is close to the picture I was after, I really wanted his wings spread more.

 

This Robin above came from know where so I grabed a quick picture .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th December 2010
Arctic Blast
This last week the country has suffered sub zero temperatures, and up until Wednesday a dusting of snow.
That all changed Wednesday night, when down here in Sussex it started to snow about 7.30pm, it continued all night and all the next day by which time we had a foot of snow.
It was time to go to the feeding station to see if I could get some nice wintery scenes of the Robin and Blue Tits in the snow.
When I got there, the feeders were stripped bare, and the poor little birds were nowhere to be seen. There was a solitary Robin that looked like he had swallowed a tennis ball and that was it.
So I quickly filled the feeders up with seed and nuts got in the hide and waited, it was a matter of seconds before the feeders were buzzing with activity.
I had put out a Teasel head next to one of the feeders as a perch knowing the birds would land on it.  The Coal and Blue Tits would land on the Teasel, but the Marsh and Great Tits were reluctant to, so the next step was to put some sunflower hearts in the top of the Teasel head and sit back and wait.
I noticed the Marsh Tits would hover around the head and pick the hearts out this way; this was the shot to try for.
I set the camera iso up to 1600 and the aperture on F/5.6, which gave a shutter speed of 1/8000 of a second, which you need to freeze birds in flight.
It was great fun getting all the shots you see today and to see the birds getting their feed.
 
 
 
 
 
 

20 November 2010

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Hi Bloggers
It has been a while, but the weather down these parts has been absolute rubbish.
But the last few weeks when we have had a break in the poor weather I have been spending as much time as possible at my feeding station.
I have been concentrating on getting flight shots of the Tit family, but the one that has escaped me so far is the Longtailed Tit, I hear them all around me but for some reason they want come down to the feeders, I know in previous experience that they only visit the feeders sporadically, and also it’s not really cold enough.
Anyway, I have flight shots of Blue, Coal, Great and Marsh Tits, another Tit I never see is the Willow Tit so I have crossed that one off the list.
I have enjoyed working with these flighty little birds but they are all quite aggressive around the feeders especially the Blue Tit but still one of my favourites.
I hope you will enjoy the images I have uploaded, and will upload more in the coming weeks.
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 November 2010

I Need to get out more

Hi! Not been out lately, I have been on the computer going through some old images trying to free some space on my hard drives.

That is the only trouble with digital photography you seem to spend more time at the computer than you do out in the field photographing, but all the same its got to be done.

But the plus side is that you come across pictures that you had forgotten you even had and so today I have uploaded some of them. These are some of the first images with high speed flash, on digital that I had taken.

Here are some pictures of Kingfisher's at the nest that I held my first schedule one licence for. Also some images of a Wren at the nest in an old barn not far from where I live.

I hope to be out soon at the feeding station trying for some pictures of birds in flight, I will bring you pictures as they develop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22 October 2010

Dormouse Heaven

Hi everyone. Today I have some fantastic news, well for me and a friend of mine it was.

Some time ago a friend of mine, who works as a wildlife warden for the Forestry Commission, approached me on wanting to photograph Dormice for their photo library.  The only picture they had were in wardens' hands when checking their boxes that the Commission put out for them, but nothing in a natural setting.

At this point I would just like to point out that the Forestry Commission probably do more for Dormouse conservation than any other organisation in the uk.

But to do these little fellows properly you need to do them in a controlled environment where they can't escape, that is where I came in as I have a small studio setup for such projects.

So some time back he submitted an application for a licence with the backing of the Commission.

The top and bottom of it was we were granted the licence last week, and have just successfully had our photography session with this charismatic little chap and all went swimmingly.

 

 

 

 

This picture below shows the Dormouse in the canopy of the trees where it spends most of its' time.

 

 

 

20 October 2010

Mayhem in the Park

Yesterday I visited Petworth Park with two friends, an annual ritual of mine.

I arrived there at 7.45am as the gates aren't open until 8.0 clock, later than I would like. Anyway I eagerly parked, grabbed my gear and on my way over to the main rut stand I could see loads of Deer in the distance and a faint sound that was familiar to me - the belching of the master bucks, my walking gathered pace with adrenalin pumping

I soon arrived at the stand and there were possibly between 15- 20 bucks, around 7 years old, and one that stood out from the crowd. Stood bang in the middle, a black buck shouting and guarding all his ladies from the rest of the bucks, his antlers were huge.

An hour later it all went very quiet only the odd one shouting here and there, but my experience told me it was all going to kick off, and I was right!  Within minutes the master buck had 5 challenges in quick succession all lasting about 10 minutes each.  He wasn't having any of it!  He made it look easy; he had a purpose about him that others were lacking.  It was mayhem for about an hour where ever you looked there were fights breaking out all over the place, my camera was on overtime.  It started to quieten down again and I had exhausted a 16 gig card, I was sure I had got some great shots.

As you can see in this image below 3 deer fighting at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 October 2010

Kingfishers

 

After my failure the other morning trying to get a certain shot of a Kingfisher, I was back down there again this morning, once again before light, to set up.

Just as it broke light the sky filled with a orange glow! What a morning - all I could hear was the faint sound of distant commuters heading to work.

All of a sudden the familiar sound of the 'peeping'  in the distance getting closer. The Kingfisher arrived very vocal, straight up onto the Reed Mace head and there was my picture.  As I clicked away the female sat there motionless, she was sat there no longer than 5 minutes, then she sped off.

Five minutes later she was back again, this time with another female. One on the Reed Mace and the other on the ground, they both started aggressive posturing behaviour broken up by sporadic little tussles.

This behaviour carried on for another hour before one took off with the other one in close pursuit. 

 

 

 

 

15 October 2010

 

                       

 

This morning I went out again trying to get some 'different' pictures of Kingfishers, I arrived a my local Res at about 6. a.m and set up my hide.

I always like to get there before light so anything that is about doesn't get disturbed by me coming in.  I had brought a selection of different perches but this morning I had decided to use a simple upright mossy perch that I thought looked quite natural.

I had been in the hide for about 50 minutes, by this time it was light enough to see but not to photograph, when all of a sudden I heard that familiar sound; the peeping of the Kingfisher, getting louder & louder until it arrived on a natural perch about 30 meters away.  It was possibly there no longer than 2 minutes when there was all this commotion, it was a Sparrowhawk going for my Kingfisher.  I was desperately hoping that the Kingfisher survived the arial attack as all had gone quiet.  Then suddenly I heard 'peep peep' again and he was back - thank God!  The Sparrowhawk had 5 more attempts but was not successful on this occasion.

I did not succeed in getting any pictures of the Kingfisher this morning but the Sparrowhawk obviously thought my perch was a winner and landed on it, I got my best Sparrowhawk pictures to date, what a morning!

 

 

 

            Sparrowhawk

 

Hi, the dreary weather continues, but I have managed to get out on the odd occasion,

I went over to Seaford Head to see if the Kittiwakes and the Fulmars had returned and I’m glad to report they have.

The Kittiwakes have already paired up and taking up their nest sites, which I can only describe as a petite platform constructed of mud, seaweed and the odd piece of decorative string.

How the hell they bring up one or two chicks on such a precarious construction high up on a cliff god only knows! The female was sat on the nest and the male was bringing in small tokens of food, which I should imagine is part of their bonding process.

The Fulmars were slightly higher up on the cliff, again they had taken up some nesting sites and they also were bonding  in the way of one of the adult birds were sat tight, chattering its beak and swaying its head side to side.

The  other Fulmars were flying in close to me and tilting their heads to one side as if to have a better look to see if I was a threat or not. The speed these birds fly is incredible, no beating of the wings just  gliding  and making the most of the thermal currents to get extra thrust, a challenge for any photographer but I was glad with the results.

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