Viewing entries tagged
Grey Squirrel

Ivy Bee's

Finally caught up with an autumn and found my own Ivy Bee’s, unintentionally of course. Just met up with a friend at Pontypool Park Gates and thought I’d check the Ivy along the bridge right next to the Esso Garage. Took a while to spot them at first in amongst the wasps and hundreds of Harlequin Ladybirds but there were about 7 Bee’s regularly feeding at the same time nearest the Esso garage. Not easy subjects to get a good photo of really but I did my best. I may return this week for a second crack at it.

Ivy Bee

I’ve been organising photographs this weekend, getting on-top of backups before installing a new operation system on my Mac. Mac 0s Majave is proving to be a must-have upgrade for photographers. The new finger ‘showcase’ viewing mode is particularly useful for previewing a days work of photographs. Mac was always good for photography as you only needed to press spacebar to preview files and photo’s without even opening them. Well, in this new showcase mode you don’t even need to do that, you can simple zoom into the photo there and then, without opening anything. This allows you to find out which images are sharpest much quicker and delete those which aren’t needed, very quickly. In doing this, I came across an image from the Spring. A Garden Warbler, peeking out of the shadows of a dark gorse bush.

Garden Warbler

Whats a Garden without a Garden Spider? Been keeping an eye on this female for a couple weeks. She’s laid quite a few eggs so next year should be good for them if they can survive the winter.

For those that watched Autumnwatch this year, what did you think? Squirrels were a big feature, and I was shocked to see that American Grey’s were actually below their native Red Squirrels in dominancy. Being much bigger animals, I would have thought the Greys would have dominated over the Reds at the bird feeders. I wonder if our native Red Squirrels would be as dominant over the Greys? I guess we’ll never know if the Greys continue to spread disease to them. A trip up North is needed soon, I do miss seeing our Reds.

Grey Squirrel

Forest of Dean

Day's trip at the Dean in some beautiful weather today. Spent most of the day at Cannop Ponds and the water was very busy. I spent a lot of time chatting to the locals too about wildlife. Met a guy called Ray Buckley also who is a local wildlife photographer, I've seen his photographs before online and he's captured some fantastic forest photos of the dear and wild boar. I've personally not seen one for a long time so was glad to be told of a place nearby where I might find some. I stumbled upon a loan pregnant female that was feeding on acorns in quite a busy area. She wasn't at all phased by people as you can see, the image was taken at 300mm and I found it hard to fit her all in half the time as she was too close. While chatting about her to the locals in the car park, I was approached by an angry man who went out of his way to shout at everyone for getting too close and that "wild boar are the worse thing to have ever happened to the forest". While I can understand his frustration and concern about the increasing numbers of wild boar, I didn't appreciate being shouted at from the off, without any reason to say such things, simply the fact that I was holding a camera, he Assumed I'd be getting too close. I suspect his anger is being aimed at photographers because of the few minority of photographers that have been visiting this area, feeding the wild boar in order to get closer shots. Personally I don't agree with feeding them as their tolerance to people will inevitably result in those individuals getting shot. It's certainly a controversial subject and I'm sure a wildlife TV series will be about soon about the ongoing problems that residence are having in the Forest of Dean. I hope you enjoy my photographs from today. 

Autumn Gone?

What is your favourite part of Autumn? For most people, it's the change of colours in the leaves before they fall. Red being the most popular and vibrant.. It's a shame I can't see it though uh? lol Red is one of those colours I know is there, so long as it isn't amongst other colours and isn't too dark (Needs to have light shining on it or emitting its own light). So how did I know which of my photos had red in it? Two reasons, 1. While looking at the photographs digitally, I can tweak the colours individually and physically see the changes. Usually I need to boost the reds up to extreme levels for me to see them, and then I can dial them back to a level that is acceptable to everyone else. I probably still get it wrong but nobody has complained so far lol.. would you tell me if I did? Probably not lol. 

For me, Autumn is more about the winter visitors and the summer departing birds. Much like the Brambling that seemed to have come back this year in decent numbers, unlike last year where we got very few reports in Gwent. Every year is different, dependant on weather conditions and available food. This is what makes autumn / winter special in my eyes, as you really have no idea what may turn up in what has to be the most energetic season of all. Everything is on the move, even your Garden birds tend to move down to warmer climates. I hate to burst any bubbles, but your resident Robin probably isn't the same Robin you've been seeing all summer. We get thousands of Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Robins moving down from Scandinavia in the winter time and most never truly settle till they've found a stable food source in manageable temperatures. If it's too cold here, they'll even skip the Uk into France.. Joys of being a bird! I can't even begin to imagine the things they must encounter on their travels..

Forest Farm

Our Leopard Gecko 'Maze' had to undergo surgery yesterday in Cardiff to remove undeveloped eggs, having suffered from a disease called Follicular Stasis. Happy to report that the surgery went well and she's now in recovery which may take some time. Unfortunately Lizards, Gecko's and pretty much anything with scales, don't quite heal as well as mammals so she'l need the stitches out and will need a lot of monitoring over the next 6 weeks. I'll keep you updated in future blogs on her progress. 


While Maze was awaiting surgery, I had a lot of hours to kill, so rather than travel all the home, I had a day in Cardiff. Lucky I brought my camera with me as I didn't end up picking Maze up till 8pm. I spent a few hours at Forest Farm, a cherished nature reserve that many people love due to its very tame wildlife. This is a fantastic spot with 3 hides setup slightly different and offering completely different species to observe. Kingfishers are usually very obliging but they are currently breeding so use the ponds less at this time of year. Plenty of other visitors to keep me occupied with a Heron fishing for 3 hours straight, picking out small fish. Lots of baby Rabbits emerged from the hedgerows too and the cuteness levels hit the roof. Many people feed the animals at FF so I had lots of Grey Squirrels popping their heads into the hide wanting food and I had both a Robin and Great Tit feeding out of my hand, even though I didn't have anything to offer them. (Mistake of the day). Also at FF I heard a Grasshopper Warbler! A first for me! And as far as I know, possibly a first for FF? I'll have to find that out. I had an Early Mining Bee, totally high on pollen and could barely fly it was that loaded up - This gave me opportunity to snap quite a few photos, though I wished I had a macro lens, I did as best as I could with my 100-400mk ii. 

My favourite image of the day though had to be the Feral Pigeon. A bird that many people disregard in their birding life as they are extremely Common and found in places most birders try to get far away from. Personally though, I love them! They bring meaning to what would otherwise be a concrete, lifeless wasteland. And how beautiful are they?! I'm colourblind and even I can see how beautiful those colours are, if only absent in the Reds. I'll leave you to enjoy the rest of the photos. Nobody has probably read this far anyway and if you did, I appreciate your time. 

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. 

Don't hate me

 I wasn't going to use this image.. but that face is just.... well.. do I... no! I still prefer Red Squirrels.