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Watching Wisley’s Wagtails

Pied Wagtail Nesting in The Glasshouse

Watching Wisley’s Wagtails

Earlier on this year I got to know one of RHS Wisley Garden‘s Glasshouse gardeners on an RSPB birdwalk (wheel in my case!) around the grounds. Joe and I often chat when I’m visiting the glasshouse and he told me about the pair of pied wagtails that nested in his growing area last year. Birds are far from stupid and the pair have returned to the safety of the glasshouses to nest again. I was delighted when Joe invited me to visit, behind the scenes of the public glasshouse, to see these wonderful little birds bring up their latest brood.

It gave me an idea fo a project that might be just the right motivation for me to finally overcome my difficulties in mastering Premiere Pro. As well as photographing the birds, I’ve started to do some short videos that I hope to edit together to create a little educational documentary about the Wisley Wagtails. I hope that it can be used in the Clore Learning Centre, attached to the Glasshouse to inspire the many children who visit Wisley every year. I think grown-ups will rather like it too!

Last week the female was brooding a total of five precious eggs. It’s an unusual situation for a bird lover in that these adult birds are used to staff walking right by them, even moving their nesting pot around, while pruning and watering. I wouldn’t usually get anywhere near as close to a nest for fear of upsetting the adult birds! The shrub in the pot they have chosen has now started to wilt as it can’t and won’t be watered while the birds are in the nest. The plant will be a sacrifice to the safety of the birds and the joy of being allowed to watch the chicks grow.

I’ve been back today….

There are five beautiful baby wagtails which hatched last Friday!

Watch this space each week for further wagtail tales.

This is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. Next week I hope I can share the fluffy chicks with you all!

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In The Pink

In The Pink

In The Pink

Having just recently been awarded a Judge’s Commendation for Bird Photographer Of The Year (for the second year in a row), I decided to start creating more abstract and creative images, in camera, of various birds. Birdworld, near Farnham, provides the perfect setting for my experiments and the flamigos proved to be the ideal subjects for capturing unusual portraits. I really enjoyed studying the shapes and lines of their poses! This piece was my favourite composition from yesterday. I just loved the sinuous shape of the neck, flowing in and out of the frame. My commended images have both been in the Creative category for BirdPOTY and have involved a lot of processing. As most of you know, that is definitely where my passions lie, but I do want to expand my portfolio with creative pieces that only require minimal processing, like this flamigo. A bit of Topaz Clarity, selective blur, dodge and burn with some colour adjustments were all that was required. It’s also the kind of composition that I know I can get even more creative with, if the mood takes me. I’m posting it today for both the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges. I would love to get some feedback and ideas! I shall include my commended images, below, for you to see, and do head over to the BirdPOTY pages on Photocrowd to see all the shortlisted and commended entries this year. There are some extraordinary images to view!

Wren In The Woods

“Wren In The Woods”, BirdPOTY 2017 Judges Choice. Published in BirdPOTY 2017 book

Caracara With Character

“Caracara With Character”, BirdPOTY 2018 Judges Commendation

 

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Fastest Food In The World!

Woking Peregrine Adult and Juvenile

Fastest Food In The World!

The Woking Peregrine Falcons have successfully raised five youngsters this year! It’s been amazing to watch their journey unfold on the live cameras situated by the nest box. This is only the second year nesting here for these adults, so to raise all five of their brood is really quite something! The juveniles have fledged and all five have been taking to skies over Woking Town to learn how to hunt at around 200mph. These are the fastest animals on Earth! At the moment the adults are leading their young on high speed chases, baiting them with fresh caught food and trying a few food passes in flight. The adult in this image has a pigeon for the juveniles. This is my entry for Wex Mondays this week as it was just the most incredible thing to watch.

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Marsh Warbler Maybe?

I think it's a Marsh Warbler

Marsh Warbler Maybe?

Despite an injury to my neck I managed a little bit of weekend wildlife watching and photography! This sighting at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre has me very excited, as I’m almost 100% certain that it’s a Marsh Warbler. The markings and the song seem to fit. It can be very hard to positively identify some warblers from one another! I hope that the good folks at the RSPB and BTO can help me out. I couldn’t bring the 500mm lens out with my neck injury so can’t actually read the identification ring on the bird’s leg. There’s a nest deep in the shrubs close to the fence post and the fledglings have been popping in and out but not when I was close enough with the camera! The adults were very busy darting in and out of the reeds around the water’s edge. Such a joy to watch! I also managed to get close enough to identify and photograph another resident, a reed bunting. This was another first for me! Nature is most definitely the best remedy for any ailment. I will share this little bundle of joy for my Fotospeed entry this week and hope it makes others smile too 🙂

I think it's a Marsh Warbler