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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Little Owl, Reed Warblers, cute Cygnets and killer Badgers!

It's Summertime, so as normal for this time of year, my photographic mojo has taken a little bit of a battering. Hence, there hasn't been a Blog post for a month!
  I find that birds are often harder to see and photograph during the Summer, they're busy nesting and raising chicks, so they're at their most vulnerable and tend to stay out of sight. Grass and vegetation is longer, trees are covered in thick leaves, so there are plenty of places to hide away safely from predators.....and camera lenses! 
  Not only are the birds more secretive, the harsh Summer sunlight can often make it harder to photograph any birds that are visible, and the huge difference between brightness and shade in most habitats at this time of year make setting the camera up for optimum exposure a real challenge!
    There's also the fact I don't like being out when it's too hot! 
However, as always, my camera is at hand if I come across anything interesting, and I have taken a few shots in the last month!
  Most interesting was a Little Owl in a dead tree near Bleadon in Somerset. It was across a field and almost invisible to the naked eye! Thank goodness for my 600mm zoom lens!
   During the month a Badger killed and ate not one, not two, but THREE Hedgehogs in my little Somerset garden! All were on different nights, a 4th was attacked, but my daughter heard it's screams from her bedroom window and my other half rushed out to rescue the terrified Hedgehog at gone midnight! It stayed the night safely in a box in our porch, with water and cat food until being released nearby the following evening. That lucky Hedgehog got to live another day, I just hope it stays out of our Badgers way! 
 I invested in a trailcam and now check every morning to see what has been visiting the garden during the night. So far it's been Hedgehogs, Woodmice and Badgers! We've been providing food for the Badgers... Peanuts, grapes and apples, and they have been finding plenty of earthworms on our lawn, so there's no reason why they need to eat the local Hedgehogs!

Badger in my garden on trailcam.

One of the good things about this time of the year is the Mute Swan Cygnets and Poppies! People who have been following my work for years know that these are 2 of my favourite photographic subjects, and I managed pics of both recently. The Cygnets were at Chew Valley Lake near Bristol, and a bit older than the cutest tiny ones I've photographed in the past, and the Poppies were at Apex Park in Burnham on Sea, Somerset. Also at Apex were some obliging Reed Warblers. These birds are a nightmare to photograph usually, but the reedbeds aren't extensive at Apex Park, so as a result the Warblers are more visible and a bit easier to photograph!

Below is a collection of pics of the above mentioned nature, plus shots of Jay, young Great Spotted Woodpecker and Blackbird being fed by their parents, Heron, Song Thrush and Daisies!

^Above^ - Little Owl near Bleadon in Somerset.

^Above^ - Injured Badger visiting my garden in pitch black (Used flash from bedroom window!)
               Has probably been scrapping with another Badger.

^Above^ - The rescued Hedgehog in our garden.

^Above^ - Cute Cygnets at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Jackdaws at Chew Valley Lake.

^Above^ - Young and adult Reed Warblers at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Song Thrush with lunch at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Young Robin at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Small Tortoishell Butterfly on Thistles at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Woodpigeons at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Jay at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Magpies at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Female House Sparrow at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Dunnock at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Young Chiffchaff  at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Heron at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Young Great Spotted Woodpecker being fed by a parent in my Somerset garden.

^Above^ - The young Great Spotted Woodpecker in my garden.


^Above^ - The adult Great Spotted Woodpecker in my garden.

^Above^ - Young Blackbird being fed by it's dad in my garden.

^Above^ - Robin, still enjoying bathing in my garden!

^Above^ - Female Blackbird about to have a bath in my garden.

^Above^ - Woodpigeon portrait, in my garden.

^Above^ - Grey Wagtail on a roof in Croscombe in Somerset.

^Above^ - Jackdaw at Croscombe.

^Above^ - Swifts at Croscombe.

^Above^ - Starling in my own Somerset village.

^Above^ - Wild Poppies and Daisies at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Cornflower at Apex Park.

^Above^ - Bees and Bumble Bee on Daisies at Apex Park.