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Gwent Uplands

Another unbelievable sunny day today, perfect for Reptiles and it would seem Butterflies too with Brimstone, Peacock, Red-Admiral, Large White and Small Tortoiseshell all on the wing. I spent most of my time today in search for an Adder but still can’t find one. I think I need to change the method, try and approach it a little differently. Either that, or focus on a new sight instead, maybe somewhere that’s a little less vast.

I only got the camera out once after spotting what I first thought to be a Cuckoo, but luckily it landed on a post and it turned out to be a beautiful Male Merlin! My first adult Male bird and my first on my local moorland. I’ve only seen Merlin a hand full of times, but they’ve all been distant, hunting on the wing or perched a mile off, so it was nice to get one full frame in the scope in beautiful sunshine. A single Peregrine was hunting low to the moors too, flushing all the Skylarks but no catch this time.

In other news, I may have secured a deal with a new distributer for my photography prints. This company offers much better prices than my current dealer which means I can bring down my sale price to something a little more competitive. It also allows me to sell a lot more stuff, like Pillows, T-Shirts, Mugs, Hats, Beanbags, Prints, Canvas’, phone cases and much more. There is a catch however and I’m not sure whether I’ll get around it but the dealer is based in the US / EU. This wouldn’t be an issue but with Brexit coming up, this option may not work out for me as there’s no telling yet if we’ll continue to have free import charges from the EU to the UK. I very much doubt that will be the case, so this might all be a complete waste of time.

Either way the company offer great free mockups and I’ve updated my canvas’ in my store so you can see the difference. Check it out

Also, if you missed Sundays blog, I’m now offering some design services for new local businesses. Read more about it via my new Design Page

Non-natives & Order Call

Today I took an hour to investigate reports of a Female Mandarin near the 14 Locks stretch of Canal, pictures online of which looked to actually be a Female Wood Duck. I’m not overly familiar with Wood Duck, till today anyway. After finding the bird, Wood Duck was confirmed with all the right features, with thick white eye-ring, point towards the eye at the base of bill, saturated wing tips, and upturned thin flank stripes. Not only that, the bird seemed to be quite chunky, only slightly smaller than the accompanied Mallards. Both Wood Duck and Mandarin are invasive species and spark a bit of controversy amongst naturalists as they have the potential to unbalance native populations of wildfowl by competing for similar food supplies. Personally, I’m unconvinced on this argument, and see them as a species that fit into their own category, but unlike invasive predators, it’s very difficult to assess the impact of invasive species like this. Mandarin and Wood Duck nest in holes in Trees which rules out any breeding competition with our native Ducks, but it does mean they occupy the same nesting holes as many of our Birds of Prey like Kestrels and Owls, most of which are in serious decline. As with everything in conservation, nothing is straight forward and the area of wildlife control creates even more controversy.

Here is a picture of this very Wood Duck. Likely to be an escapee from a collection rather than a wild bird, but beautiful either way.

Female Wood Duck

A call out to anyone interested in purchasing prints for Christmas. If anybody desires any of my photographs in the last couple of years for yourself or your loved ones, now is the time to get your orders in. If ordered within the next three weeks I can guarantee it will make it in time for Christmas. My most popular prints are listed below but I have many more. I’m also offering personal wildlife sound recording and photography workshops with a special featured sale on Woodland Bird Photography based at Ian Howell’s professional Bird hide setup.

Bird Photography Special

Bird Photography Special

I’m now taking bookings for Bird Photography Sessions featured at Ian Howells Woodland Bird Hide, alongside my usual training. This will be a full days worth, with the chance of photographing an array of Garden Birds species, but also the chance to photograph Birds of Prey like Buzzards and Sparrowhawks with an optional extra to stay after dark for Nocturnal Tawny Owls.

If you’re interested, or know someone that might be interested as a Christmas gift, please get in touch with me and we can arrange a date. Prices for all my training can be found below, also viewed in my store page.

Bird Photography Special @ Ian's Woodland Bird Hide
from 100.00

New to Bird Photography? Just bought a DSLR Camera? Or simply want to develop your skills and take your Bird photos to the next level. Book a session with me now and gain access to Ian’s Woodland Bird Hide where you can practice on an array of woodland bird species from Woodpeckers to Sparrowhawks. A minimum of 300mm focal range is required for this setup but no previous experience required.

In this session we’ll cover all camera settings, from ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Focus Settings and Metering, all of which can make or break a photo if not set up correctly for your subject.

Optional Extra:
Add To Cart

Store Updates

11 Days into the new year and I've come a long way already! Below is a sneak peak at my new store. I've had to design all these Mockups myself because I'm cheap and don't want to pay someone else to do something I'm capable of doing myself... I've not been taught how to use Photoshop but with a little help from Youtube, I'm getting the hang of it. 

Below is just some of the items I'll be selling. If there is anything else you'd like added to this list, I'll try make it happen! Still need to finalise all the financial side of things yet, also having issues with Paypal but I'm sure i'll get there soon. 

Store Improvements

You may have noticed (probably not) but I've removed the store from the menu bar. Nobody  ever visited that page because for quite sometime, the only product in there was a used teleconverter that I've never used... This is all about to change however, and in the not so distant future (once Paypal sort themselves out) I'll have lots of merchandise for you to purchase. I'm in the process of creating my own small business and with it, partnering up with some of my local printers. If you like Mugs, Pillows, Canvas', Aluminium Prints, Keychains, Clocks ect, they'l all be available soon! I'm so excited to see how this goes and move forward. 

On the wildlife front, everyone seems to be going mad, with Waxing sightings popping up everywhere in South Wales. I personally haven't had any time to get see them yet but hopefully will find some time this weekend so I can show you what all the fuss is about. Waxwing' are winter migrants to this country and only ever come down this far when the Berry crop in Scandinavia runs out or isn't enough to sustain them through the winter. They arrive mostly down the East coast and have been sighted in England / Scotland in the last couple months but finally, they've started to turn up in Wales which is a huge treat, as they really are stunning little Birds, very exotic looking. 

For now, you'll have to enjoy these two photos from work. 

Winter Robin using car to warm up. 

Winter moon over Brecon