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Great Tit

Snow Days

I’m lucky to have access to Ian Howells Woodland Bird Hide. It’s a nice setup of bird feeders that’s not far from home. I offer to help him fill the feeders, which has proven to be quite a responsibility for him during winter as they need filling at-least 3 times a day.! It’s always worth having a good bird feeder setup to return to on snow days as everything just looks better in the snow. Because of the white bright snow, light is reflected to the underparts of the birds giving you better exposure possibilities in the camera. I was particularly happy with the Great Spotted Woodpecker images as I’ve been after a clean show of the male for a while. Watching him flumping around in the snow was quite amusing.

Before you get too excited, this is an old image at Newport Road Cardiff in January 2017. The reason I’m posting this image as it may just happen for us again this year with the closest sightings so far being Crickhowell and Chepstow. There certainly seems to be the odd small flock in Wales and fingers crossed I’ll get the opportunity again as they are stunning Birds and very photogenic.

Christmas Break

Hope you're all having a lovely Christmas! I certainly am, all things considering. (I won't go there).  Today, I visited my winter feeding station which is still going really well despite having spent very little time there. The species list is growing with new visitors every day. Today I had my first Nuthatch which took longer than I thought it would.. I've been having some surprise visitors too which I'm not going to reveal until I get a decent picture of them. Fingers crossed on that one!. For now, I'm still enjoying getting photographs of the beautiful common Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits that are regulars all throughout the day. Here are some photos from today. 

Work Goals

Geez! I'm absolutely shattered, the last couple weeks have been flat out in the lead up till Christmas with two assessments back to back. First, my B+E Trailer test which I was chuffed to pass and also I had my Chainsaw / Crosscutting assessment today, after a weeks crash course in Mid-Wales (Rhayadar) last week, which I also passed!. Fabulous part of Wales mind you! Red Kites everywhere, also saw a lot of Crossbill while felling with a Great Grey Shrike deep in the woodland too. Both physically and mentally draining however so ready for a 'relax' this Christmas. Doubt that'l happen but who knows! 

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If you're following my flicker page  you'll see that I have been uploading a few pictures this month. I've started a winter feeding station at a remote location with a pop up hide set up, in the hope to get some of the more common species. I've noticed that wildlife photographers tend to neglect the common species of bird because either they find them boring or don't find them a challenge to photograph. I for one know how difficult it can be to get decent, natural images of these species so I'm going to try this winter to get some in the bag that I'm happy with. Here are a few so far. 

Reflecting on the day

Always up for trying new photography techniques and I've personally not tried this before but had a lot of fun today on a new reflection pool. These are just a select few of my favourites from today. I'll be digging into these files for a while having come home with over 1000 photographs. I'll distribute them throughout the year lol. 

Foggy Sunday

If you live in Pontypool, you certainly would have noticed the fog today! However, if you went up the mountain, it was a clear sunny day with blue skies! You never would have believed that unless you saw it for yourself but coming down from the mountain was like entering a cloud blanketing over Pontypool. 

Direct sun isn't the best for 'perch' photography though as it casts shadows and makes the birds look a little contrasty but either way, here are a few of my favourites from today. 

Was great to see that a few Butterflies and Dragonflies were making the most of this Autumn Sun! 


Brambling Extended

Another great session with the Brambling today! Finally got the male where I wanted him and even managed to get both male and female on same perch. Most importantly, I managed to learn quite a lot from observing them up close, not just behaviour but also sound. Also learned that nobody messes with a Goldfinch! Absolute bullies they are haha. I though the snapping sound of the bill of a Brambling was enough to scare anything off but the pure persistence and anger of a Goldfinch always seemed to come on top. 

Car Advantage

I didn't realise just how effective having a car actually is for wildlife photography. Not just to get you to locations but you practically carry around a moving 'hide'. For whatever reason, birds don't seem to be too bothered by cars and so long as you stay inside, they don't fly away. The minute you step out the door.. they are gone! haha. Well, as you can see by all my Brambling photographs, I've been making the most of this technique and it already has brought me some really nice photographs. 

Meeting old friends

Today I set out to venture on my old patch in the hope that I bumped into a couple of old friends. Things have changed slightly on the patch since my last visit though! which made it slightly harder to find them but it didn't take too long before me and my Brother found them basking in the sun in the ferns. I am of course talking about my old friends the Common Lizards of the Tranch. I grew up in the Tranch and this mountain was my closest access to green space and despite it being small, it holds so much wildlife!. The 'Table Top' is a section of the mountain that we used to camp on as kids but it was only 3 years ago that I realised just how great this section of the mountain was for Lizards including Slow Worms. The site has history of heathland and you can still see lots of Bilberry and Heather along the edges where the bracken hasn't taken over yet. This site has history of producing Red Grouse but those days seem long gone. Bracken is so hard to manage and we've lost a lot of heathland to the stuff. Despite it being a pain for heathland, the Common Lizards seem to like them. Managed to get a real close shot of the re-gen of the tail of one of the Lizards too which looks incredible!