30 July 2013

Re - Thinking our web presence

So, this week I have finally left both Flickr and Ephotozine. Sick to death of dealing with issues I don't  need to deal with, with people I don't want to deal with, and with systems I can no longer stand dealing with.

We have met many very nice peope on Flickr since we first joined the site in 2006, unfortunately you cannot easily filter out the good from the idiots, self appointed experts and general wastrels. I have felt that Flickr was not for us a long time now - the recent site changes were the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

We were also on Ephotozine for a long period, on and off since 2007 I believe. Similar issues there with the added problem of very abrasive forums and certain issues as to the behaviours of some of the members in those forums and their ideas with regard to racial issues and so on.

The combinaton of these issues and the click clique nature of feedback leading ultimately to our leaving.

Once again some very nice people on both sites, but not enough to warrant further hassle.....

For now, back to blogging, back to my anonymous website where I Post whatever I wish, and you cannot comment even of you wanted too....... :-)

I may re-ignite our Google + site, but we'll see. Sometimes less is more, as they say.

Too old, too sick and too little time for dealing with crap anymore......

We have also left a couple of other sites.....

Photograhy and wldlife watching is supposed to be fun, informative and interesting - and that is what we intend to get back to.

I have never mixed real life with on-line activty - if we knew you in life previously, this changes nothing :-)

27 May 2013

Gilfach Farm Nature Reserve



This last bank holiday weekend we made the trip to Gilfach Farm Nature Reserve, a reserve run by the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust. Good place – click the above image for a slideshow……


more later.

5 May 2013

A Bank Holiday Weekend

Come poor birds, from foes severe, fearless come, you're welcome here.

John Clare

Thus far this May Day bank holiday weekend we've made the trip to Bempton Cliffs; Hatton Locks, and tomorrow (Monday) we intend to visit the National Kit Car show a Stoneleigh Park here in Warwickshire.

With 2.5k mages from just the first two trips, and the car show still to come, it's going to take a while to sort out LOL

More later......

Overall we took some 4,096 images over the four days - 3266 of which were good enough to be added to our collection....

I'll be re-writing this soon -)

30 April 2013

Seri loves Al–and me!!

Sounds like an episode of Jerry Springer, does it not? But it’s true, Seri now loves Al, Mr. Al Paca no less…..and frankly who can blame her.

Alpaca Show - Stoneleigh Park

Click the pic for images.

We visited the Alpaca Show at Stoneleigh Park, here in Warwickshire a few days ago, and what a great event it is. Absolutely nothing going on per se, at least not when we were there :-) but loads of these Peruvian imports standing around in their respective pens looks just utterly adorable.

These animals look like Ewok from the old Star Wars movie franchise, very very cute. Unfortunately they are also exceptionally nervous creatures and spent most of their time trying to hide from the camera – they tended to turn their back on you, issue a mewling sound, which we took to be a stress indicator and folded their ears back. Of course every time we saw such behaviour we moved off to another area to reduce their discomfort.

As experienced wildlife photographers – not good ones, just experienced LOL, we have picked up a number of tricks over the years. Vocal clicks and squeaks usually serve to gain the attention of your subject – they prick their ears up and come to see what all the noise is about – works particularly well with birds (apart from the ears bit of course :-)) but alas not with these hyper sensitive types.

Eventually I found that getting down below their eye level seems to have similar effect – and only then did we start getting shots of them showing interest in what we were up to…….

Speaking with a couple of the owners was quite interesting, lots of interesting info about their lifespan, where they come from, what they do and why and so on. One owner was more hobbyist then the other – he told us how he hand raised one of the youngsters in his charge – and that his were effectively pets.

The other owner was a more hard nosed farmer – asking him about the purpose for keeping these animals we learned that most of their wool was exported, and that surprisingly a couple of his went to a local butcher for Salami…..big surprise, but not a problem for us as such – we eat meat and it has to come from animals of some sort……

Interesting day, shame that the event was held in a large shed, as opposed to outside where the sun was shining, and our cameras would have worked properly. We did ask why they were indoors – the reason was to keep them from getting wet – it was a competitive show after all……

Handsome animals, nice hour or so wandering around, learning as we go :-).

Photos associate with this posting are of a lower quality than I would like – it was very difficult in the shed……

16 April 2013

Back to Brandon Marsh

Another trip to Brandon Marsh today - and at last, it seems that we are seeing genuine spring weather :-) warm, cloudy and not that great for photography - but still a welcome change from the cold northerly winds.

Now that the weather has picked up, and winds are coming from the south we should start to see an influx of the summer migrants. Thus far most species, which we would expect to see at this time of year are either in low numbers, or are completely missing. Goldeneye, for example, are usually on the ponds of Brandon in early March - we have seen none thus far in 2013.

And so to the good news - today I was in the carpark area shooting Swallows, and great it was to see them too....early in the session I was trying to set up the camera - D7000 this time - and was shooting Swallow from very long range, just sorting out the AF mode that would work best in the conditions.

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
Several shot of pigeons flying by, for the same reason - captured a bunch of shots of Swallow - or a least I thought I had....when I got home and viewed the images it turned out that the very long range images were not Swallow, not House Martin, not Sand martin, not even birds - they were of a bat (no idea as to which species – not my forte) which was hunting in broad daylight amongst the hirundines you can imagine my surprise, and frankly, delight.....

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
Walked into the Sensory Garden, a pair of Grey Wagtail flitting around, we knew they were there, but great to see them again.

Brandon Marsh - Early spring

Walk to the Baldwin hide, Oystercatchers on the island, very close and appealing - we love these birds. A Chiff Chaff flitting through the bushes on the far side of the island took my gaze for a while, and then back to the island - a Greylag female has been sitting on her nest for several days now - with her partner doing his best to see off anything that gets too close....Teal and Tufted ducks along with Mallard all resplendent in their spring colours and set for breeding are dabbling around and generally getting in everyone else's way....

Brandon Marsh - Early spring

Look across to where the Great Crested Grebes nest was - bad news - flooded out and eggs lost, but at least it is very early in the season and they can try again.....

A few hours pass and then a walk to the East Marsh hide - a pair of Garganey are the stars of this particular show - again we have known of their presence for a few days...great to see them. The drake Garganey is a stunning looking duck.....the female, not so, but where would the one be without the other :-)

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
Another half hour or so passed and i've had enough.....pain pain pain pain pain......start walking out of the reserve - it's only a few hundred metres back to the car, and. Spotted my first Brimstone Butterfly of the year....Brimstone are usually the first to show in the spring, but it is always noteworthy when one sees the first of the year....

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
So, all in all, an interesting visit....lots of birds we know well and see often, a bat hunting with Swallows, Oystercatchers, pair of Garganey, Chiff Chaff and nesting geese :-) and a pair of Grey Wagtails...delightful. Oh, and not to forget the Brimstone...how could I forget this bright green leaf imitating butterfly :-) silly me.....

UPDATE: 17 April 2013.

Happy to state that my report of the demise of the Great Crested Grebes nest was premature – they are holding on……

6 April 2013

4 April 2013

It's been a while

Not kept this blog going too well, issues of health and such like has been keeping our attention for the past several months. We have however been keeping up with our photography, and have amassed many thousand more images. Indeed our collection now extends well beyond the 300,000 mark.....

Our most recent acquisitions, if I can put it that way, are from the Easter vacation period, just passed. We managed to visit our beloved Aberystwyth - where we lived for 10 years, studied, met and married. We shot Red Kites at Nant yr Arian, and rather a lot of scenery....

We also made a couple of trips to our local playground of Brandon Marsh, and made a very nice journey into Oxfordshire to the excellent Cotswolds Wildlife Park. Ostensibly we went to see the Rhinoceros trio kept there, but, despite the abysmal light, we managed to see a lot more and find new favourites.

My favourite animal is now, after seeing one for the first time, the Giant Anteater - what an amazing animal species they are :-). In addition we saw delightful Red Panda and a host of other species - many of which were just trying to stay out of the cold - and who can blame them.

We will certainly make one more trip to the park - but perhaps on a day with some sunshine and warmth - both of which were sadly lacking this time around.

Still, great place and worth another go :-)

Prior to that it's been trips to the usual locations for us, in and around Warwickshire, Leicestershire and adjacent counties. We have barely left home this year, so far - but we shall see what comes up :-) such is life... A few of recent shots from Bradgate Country Park are attached.

I will add Easter images to this posting later.... really must try to keep writing this thing LOL