Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tractor and Stork

Last night, 27.9.05, I took the Weedon clan to see our friendly neighbourhood White Stork was enjoying the ploughing activities in a field on the east side of Gunthorpe Road. The driver of the tractor pulling the plough would have got point-blank views as you can see from these shots.

Nikon Coolpix 880, Kowa TSN-821 + 32xWLER

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Life sketch 1

It must be a year or so ago that my friend Katie Bogbumper Fuller bought me an A6 sketching pad from The Works. It has been sitting around gathering rust since, as has my sketching. In fact my sketching has been becoming rustier and rustier for more than 25 years.
When I was a young 'un I was always drawing this that and the other, all the time, and fancied myself as a bit of a good drawist. Then we started doing Art as a school subject, which basically was like being in an uncontrolled playground, where play was not encouraged and art was the last thing on the pupils' minds. They were much more interested in nattering and finding new ways to laugh at the teacher's cleft palette, or the other teacher's turkey-neck. Art was also the last thing on the teachers' minds and the whole class was intensely dull.
Worse still, it was examined at the end of the year. And there I was, around about the top of virtually every subject (if I say so myself, and I do), being told that in the one subject, Art, in which I rather fancied myself, I was 29th in the class with a pitiful mark of 33%.
Result: I more or less gave up drawing, painting and doing anything. Thanks very much Mr Turkey-neck Goffey and Miss Shepherd for killing off creativity and artistic ambitions. You represent the worst type of teacher, the kind that destroys rather than nurtures.
God, this is starting to sound like one of those wordy Blogs that clog the Internet with teenage angst and self-pity. What I really want to say is, it is about time I started drawing again. My daughter Jasmine is my inspiration, as she is constantly creating sculptures, collages, arrangements, paintings and drawings, all day every day. She says (at the age of 6), that she always does best int he subjects she likes the best. So, for me, I figure, the best way to proceed is to practise from life and what I really want to practise on is birds (and such like).
So, true to the spirit of blogging, I'm going to bare my soul and plot my progress within this site. Like a good birder, I'm going to take the pad out whenever I go birding (alongside the digiscoping kit, of course). The above is from my first efforts on Sunday (25.9.05), using the trusty A6, and is supposed to be of Golden Plovers, plus a Lapwing. Let's hope there are some major improvements, coming...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Wheatear at Prior's Fen

Prior's Fen, Saturday 24.9.05, 7am-9.30am

I went searching for Brian (The Natural Stone) Stone's Dotterel on Friday evening. I bumped into Josh Jones coming back having refound it. However, by the time I caught up with the flock of Lapwings and Golden Plovers it was apparently with, nothing was apparent, the light had gone and night won the race. So, I returned for another search on Saturday morning. I failed to find the sneaky plover, but the search brought its own rewards, namely:
Spotted Redshank, 1,
Greenshank, 3,
Dunlin, 4,
Ringed Plover, 2,
Common Sandpiper, 3,
Golden Plover, c200,
Lapwing, c2,000,
Snipe, 2,
Wigeon, 18,
Little Owl, 1, flew out of ancient Willow west of Middle Pit,
Hobby, 1, sat in field south of Middle Pit,
Wheatear, 1, in field east of East Pit,
Birds flying over (heard), included Lesser Redpoll and Siskin.
Also of note, Small Copper on the wing.
And here are some photos of a very obliging Wheatear (Click on some for a bigger version):

Nikon Coolpix 880 through Kowa TSN-821 + 32xWLER

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

September 05 Biscay gallery

All Santurtzi, Spain, unless stated otherwise. Some photos are clickable for bigger versions.

Pied Flycatcher (4.9.05)

Pink grasshoper (4.9.05)

Burnet Companion (4.9.05)

Stonechat (4.9.05)

Common Blue and Brown Argus flirting (4.9.05)

Grasshopper (4.9.05)

Stonechat (7.9.05)

Bloody-nosed beetle (7.9.05)

Clouds and sunset over Biscay from the Pride of Bilbao (7.9.05)

Griffon Vultures (10.7.05)

Clouded Yellow (10.9.05)

Yellow spikey composite (10.9.05)

Praying Mantis (10.9.05)

Peregrine on distant chimney (10.9.05)

Reed Warbler on the Pride of Bilbao (15.10.05)

Mating Bloody-nosed Beetles (16.9.05)

Long-tailed Blue (16.9.05)
Nikon Coolpix 4500 and Coolpix 880 (birds through Kowa TSN-821 + 32xWLER)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The eagle hasn't landed

I'm off today on my 13th and final Biscay crossing of the year. I only came back on Sunday night after three consecutive trips, amassing 11 species of cetacean and seeing thousands of whales and dolphins (with nearly 300 Fin Whales [or unidentified large rorquals] along the way. The birds have been very good too, with loads of shearwaters in the Bay, and a few days ago I had my best view of a Little Shearwater at the bow of the Pride of Bilbao.
I'll be posting more on the last few trips when I return, but meantime check out the Company of Whales website for our latest sightings and have a look at these Short-toed Eagle pics, snapped hovering over Santurtzi (10.9.05)

Nikon Coolpix 880 through Kowa TSN-821 + 32xWLER

Friday, September 02, 2005

White Stork

White Stork, outskirts of Peterborough, Cambs, 1.9.05.
Nikon Coolpix 880 through Kowa TSN-821 + 32xWLER