215/365 Montezume Oropendola Psarocolius montezuma

Into the seventh week of leading photography tours in Costa Rica.  I have met a lot of superb people and the birds here are magnificent.  One of the birds that will keep you entertained is the Montezuma Oropendola.  Here is a male standing in the rain whilst keeping a close eye on the females. 

Please click below for larger image.

Montezuma Oropendola, Psarocolius montezuma, Costa Rica, January, 2014. 
Canon 5D3 and Canon 500mm f4 L IS lens and Canon 580EX II speedlite. 

215/365 Oropendula

203/365 Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus

Still ploughing through images and came across this Mistle Thrush at one of Bence Mate’s drinking pools in Hungary from May this year.

203/365 Mistle Thrush

186/365 Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus

I was sitting in a hide waiting for a species of bird that, in the end, never turned up! Anyway, in the distance I could hear a nightjar churring away even though it was 2 hours before sunset! As you can imagine I was very intrigued to find out where this individual was but decided to sit in the hide waiting for my target subject.  What happened next was pretty incredible.. I heard the nightjar churring again so tried to locate the position of the calling so I could go out and try and find it later that evening.  Next thing, the Nightjar came flying over the trees in front of me and landed in a pine tree right opposite the hide.  I couldn’t believe my luck!! 😉 I didn’t leave the hide until I knew my target species wasn’t going to arrive.  I watched the nightjar for about 45 minutes from the hide through live view on the camera. It was mesmerising to see such a hard to find bird just resting completely relaxed on the branch right in front of me.  I continued to watch it as it yawned, and waddled up and down the branch to find the best position for its camouflage to work.  With the last rays of light just tipping the trees behind the hide, I knew that my target species wasn’t going to arrive this late so took the opportunity to photograph the nightjar instead.  And here’s one of the images…  a beautiful bird and superb camouflage… a truly memorable evening out in the field.

Whats your best memory?

Nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus, Hungary, June, 2013
Canon 5D mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS and 1.4x III converter, 1/100sec at f/5.6 ISO 2000.

186/365 Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus

122/365 Ring Ouzel

As the rain had started to slow down last night, I organised a small outing with my good friend this morning to see if the weather had brought down any migrants on to the Malvern Hills.  Meeting at half 6, we decided to do the two highest points on the Malverns (North Hill and Worcestershire Beacon) hoping something would have dropped in.  We weren’t dissapointed with great sightings of 5 Ring Ouzels, and single Wheatear and Redstart.  To celebrate, todays image is of a male Ring Ouzel I photographed on the hills two years ago in the autumn when they came back through the Malverns from their breeding grounds.

Ring Ouzel, Turdus torquatus, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, October, 2009.
Canon 7D with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with Canon 1.4x teleconverter.


Malvern Hills guided walk 26/7/11

Henley-in-Arden Wildlife Society contacted me and asked if I could take their group on a guided wildlife walk on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. 
Worcestershire Beacon followed by North Hill was the plan for the morning walk and then British Camp and Swinyard was programmed in after lunch.  17 people turned up on what was a great day for walking and being outdoors and also for observing wildlife.
Some great birds were seen including Pied Flycatchers chasing Redstarts around a hawthorn tree, two migrant Wheatears, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a very close flyby from a juvenile Sparrowhawk, hovering behviour from both Kestrel and Buzzard (although I think the Kestrel wins feathers down!) Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Stonechat feeding their young, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Linnet and juvenile Whitethroat to name but a few.
A great line up from the insect world were seen aswell including Small Heath, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and excellent views of Grayling (a Malvern speciality), Cinnabar moth caterpillars, a single Vapourer moth caterpillar, Violet Ground Beetle, Wolf spider, and Funnel Web Spiders.
A great day with great company was had by all and the ice cream at the end just finished it off nicely! 😉
If you are a trust or society leader and would like to find out more about the guided walks I offer please get in touch either by email or by phone and I can discuss the options in more detail.

Visible migration on the Malvern Hills

After seeing the forecast for the morning I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to see what birds were migrating around this part of the country.
My route took me as follows: Walking from Great Malvern, up past St Annes Well, along the contour path, circular route around the top of North Hill (just in case!!), then back down the zig zag path down to the North Quarry car park.   Although quite windy at the top the amount of birds flying over was quite interesting.
Heres the list:

1 male RING OUZEL (around west side of North Hill feeding on the rowan)
23 Chaffinch
3 Redpoll
48 Woodpigeon
5 Raven
14 Carrion Crow
4 Jackdaw
25 Meadow Pipits
1 Green Woodpecker
5 Skylark
73 Redwing heading northwest
3 Wheatear on southern path of North Hill
4 Linnets
5 Goldfinch
3 Bullfinch
2 Wren
2 Dunnock

Quite a decent list for two hours birding!