Thursday, 30 October 2008

Room for much improvement!

Roy told me I should post my awful Kingfisher shot and I've decided to do so. It will give me some encouragement to do much better in the future! (-:
Firstly the shot as taken through the camera (spot the bird). I knew I was too far away (sigh)!
and then cropped so that you have SOME idea of how much improvement there is for me to make!Oh well, if everything was easy.......

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

First frost.

A change in wind direction from the usual westerlies to a blast from the north has caused a decided nip in the air and we've had our first real frost of the winter here in Frome.
This gave me some nice photo opportunities while taking a walk around Rodden Reserve. Here are some grass seeds and leaves touched by the frost and the early morning sun.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Getting there....

One of the great things about having a 'local patch' to wander around reasonably regularly is that no two days are alike. There is always something new to notice or experience that makes that walk around worthwhile. Nor does it have to be earth shattering stuff.
Here are some photos I took of birds and butterflies that made those walks worthwhile.
Great Spotted Woodpeckers when not at a feeder so often tend to hide behind branches and 'chip' at you! This one was kind to me for a very short space of time.

I was chuffed to see this Comma enjoying the autumn sunshine.

These Black-headed Gulls were lined up on the bridge as if to say 'whose going to be first to be skinny dipping then!'
Below is the reason for my title today. At last, I seem to be getting closer to my goal of taking a decent photograph of Winter Wren. This little guy let me get closer and closer to him, one small step at a time. At the time he was having a singing battle with a wren on the other side of the path. Made my day! (-:

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Sky Watch Friday.

Todays two SWF photos are ones I took at my local nature reserve on the edge of my town of Frome in Somerset.

The first was taken as we spent Saturday morning assembling and placing some floating islands into the deepest part of the lake. Actually most of the work was done by others while I took photos for our website. It's a tough job, but someones gotta do it! (-: Seriously though, three of our members braved the chilly waters to get the islands in place. This should provide some great and safe habitat for birds and animals in the future.

The second was taken a couple of days later as some rain clouds were approaching.

Many thanks to the whole gang who maintain SWF site. For many other wonderful images from around the world, please click on the SWF logo on the right hand side.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Autumn walk

When ever I go for a walk when I up in the Cotswolds doing gardening for my Mum, I always go the same way. This last week I decided to go in the opposite direction for a change.
Here are some of the sights I noticed on this lovely autumnal walk.

Black Bryony - It's not immediately obvious why this plant is called black as the berries are conspicuously red! In fact its name comes from the colour of its fleshy roots. It is a member of the yam family, but its roots and berries are poisonous. It has the most gorgeous large and shiny heart shaped leaves which unfortunately aren't showing up at this time of year.

A break in the dry stone wall leading into the beechwoods, possibly used by a badger.

Elderberries - The Elder is one of our most used hedgerow shrubs even today. In June, the flowers are often cut to make Elderflower cordial and at this time of year the deep purple berries are made into a rich dark wine.

A path through the trees which I wasn't able to resist.

An autumnal view.
Fleeing sheep - was this because I hadn't had a bath for a week and they were downwind??? (-:

A view of their pasture.
I think I'll go on this walk again..........

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Birds on Mum's feeders

Here are some of the birds that visit Mum's feeders. I tried to catch a photo of Marsh Tit, but they're just too damned quick to flit off after getting the sunflower heart out. One day.....
All these are taken through double glazing which doesn't help with clarity!

Blue Tit

Great Tit


Saturday, 18 October 2008


Last week while up in the Cotswolds I took a lovely morning walk. The sun was still quite low in the sky and this created some great sunlit photo opportunities. Of course, I wish now that I'd had taken more time to make more of that opportunity, but here are some photos that I did manage to get.
Beech trees and bare earth.....


Wonderful old Beech tree.....

Tree trunk.....

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Sky Watch Friday

I took these two SWF photos while up gardening for my Mum over the last couple of days. She lives in the little village of Colesbourne up in the Cotswold Hills.
These were both taken early morning......
one looking towards the sun overlooking sheep pasture.....

one looking the other way, this is the first halfway decent photo that I've managed to take of the moon so far, still experiementing........

Monday, 13 October 2008

Severn Estuary

After our visit to Cheddar yesterday, we spent the afternoon on the River Severn Estuary near Kingston Seymour.

Unfortunately we got there when the tide was at its lowest so any birds were really distant, it was still a lovely place and day for a walk though. We could hear the Curlew with their evocative call and saw some distant Shelduck and Redshank out near the tideline.
The only birds that I could get remotely near to photograph were a lovely bright autumn plummaged Meadow Pippit and a Kestrel hovering.

I kept trying to get closer to the Kestrel, but each time I did, he would swoop away a bit further and hover again! This is the best photo I could get.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Reservoir day!

After some initial fogginess, another gorgeous autumn day dawned today (I can hardly believe it).
I met up with two birding friends for a day out.
Todays post will show our visit to Chew Valley Lake and Cheddar Reservoir.

While we were at Chew the fog was still pretty much in evidence, though showing signs of lifting gradually. These fishermen seemed to be suspended in nothingness. Very ethereal.

I managed to catch a snatch at my namesake (Winter Wren) foraging in a hedgerow. One day I'll get a decent shot of one of these!

An adult Moorhen was showing the ropes to its youngster off Herriots Bridge at Chew.

It was now time to move on to Cheddar Reservoir. The town of Cheddar is where the original and best Cheddar cheese comes from. We drove via the famous Cheddar Gorge. This place is swamped with tourists in summer, but wasn't too bad on this October day.

At the reservoir we eventually tracked down our target bird for the day, a lovely graceful Grey Phalarope. These photos are heavily cropped I'm afraid, its a shame it didn't come just a little bit closer to shore, but still, we got great views of it through our scopes.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Rodden today.

It was such a nice autumn day that in spite of my cold I went for a stroll around my local nature reserve.
It was pretty quiet, but I had three Ravens fly over with their distinctive 'kronking' call. They always seem like they are having a good time to me. I also had 5 Buzzards in the air one of which was being mobbed by some Crows. The usual Grey Heron was standing around fishing. A pair of Bullfinches was in the trees doing their ever so soft call to eachother and a Meadow Pippit had me thinking it might be a Tree Pippit for a minute.

There's not much in flower now, but this Mimulus was a lovely splash of brightness along the Rodden brook.
There were still plenty of dragonflies about. I definitely identified Common and Southern Hawkers and Common Darter. I guess all that will change when we get a few sharp frosts.