Tag: bird photography

Birds of Prey Experience Day

I just want to preface this post with an explanation; I will not be including the name of this organisation/company because although the experience wasn’t wholly negative it also wasn’t the best ever either. And I really don’t want to spread any bad vibes or tread on anyones feet – this is just my personal experience.

Anyway we booked in for this particular Birds of Prey Experience Day when we saw it advertised on Groupon at just £15 per person. Most Birds of Prey handling days are over double that in price so it seemed like a really great deal – especially for a whole two hours.

Now, myself and my partner have been to many aviaries, bird centres and bird experience days so we did hold a certain level of expectation. We have both held and flown different types of owl and hawk and have always enjoyed the experience so we were really looking forward to this one.

When we arrived we were instantly disappointed to find that there was over 30 people in our group. That’s about 20 too many if you’re wondering. We knew from the offset that with so many participants we would not be doing a whole lot of flying/handling of the birds. Another thing to note was that there was just one person on hand to show us the birds.

After a 40 minute introductory talk we were finally allowed to handle our first bird which was a brown chested barn owl. Barn owls are lovely creatures so I was quite happy to hold one again. We had to line up and take it in turns to have the bird fly to us (just once.) Unfortunately this process took a matter of minutes to experience personally and then another 30 odd as we stood waiting for everyone else to have a go.

Nevertheless the barn owl was a pleasure to hold and to fly.

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After flying the barn owl we flew and held a Harris Hawk. I have handled these before on a couple of occasions so again, this was nothing new to me but Harris Hawks are very lively birds and I enjoyed holding this one. Actually, as the hawk was much perkier this process took much less time than the previous and we probably each held the hawk for mere seconds before it was taken from us and instructed to fly to the next person.

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And in terms of flying/handling the birds that was it. I’m not going to lie; I was very surprised and quite disappointed that in two hours we were only able to hold two birds – eek! But as I mentioned earlier, the problem was that the event was oversold and there really was just too many people!

Next we were treated to some talks on different birds and shown a very beautiful Goshawk and Crowned Eagle. The remainder of the time was spent showing us these birds and educating us on how they are reared/handled and their numbers in the wild.

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The talks were very in-depth and informative and it was nice to see these wonderful birds up close. If I have one criticism though it’s that there was more talking involved than actual experience.

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All in all we had an enjoyable time holding, flying and getting up close and personal with the birds. However, I really don’t think I’d do this particular experience again as there are so many others out there that are much more hands on and personal. If you’re thinking of going on one of these experience days I recommend doing thorough research before booking anything!

RSPB Rainham Marshes – a few shots

On Sunday we were blessed with lovely sunny weather so we decided to make the most of our RSPB memberships and head over to Rainham Marshes reserve. The marshes were absolutely fantastic and whilst I didn’t get the shots I wanted, I did get to see a lot of wildlife and my most favourite- goldfinches! For anyone wanting to visit Rainham Marshes for the purpose of bird-watching I cannot recommend it enough. It is a lovely area also so if you’re not interested in the birds you’d still get a lot of enjoyment out of the walk. When I return I will make sure to take photos of everything and review it properly but for now here are some quick shots of the kind of wildlife you can expect to find there!

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A lone goldfinch

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A dunnock feeding on the ground
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A great tit feeds whilst a blue tit looks on

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A lovely greenfinch with his grey cheeks
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Greenfinch, goldfinch and a sparrow

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Garden birds update 2

Last week we decided to introduce a few new bits and bobs to the bird feeder menu. And what a difference it has made! We have seen a flurry of activity in our garden and rather happily, we have seen even more long-tailed tits.

Last/This week we have spotted robins, long-tailed tits, coal, blue and great tits, a dunnock, wood pigeons and wrens to name a few. Unfortunately we haven’t seen our parrot friend since the last garden birds update a few weeks ago. I hope she is okay. We also haven’t seen any goldfinches yet, but I am hopeful that we will!

The following photographs have been taken by myself and are of some of the birds who have paid us a visit. As always these have been taken through glass and may be blurry in parts. I hope this doesn’t detract from the overall quality and you enjoy these visitors as much as I do!

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Our fluff ball friend mr Robin – or is it a mrs?

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Beautiful Dunnock. We spotted these for the first time last week

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A very blurry pic of a wren- they are so tiny and fast!

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Beautiful blue tit

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A beautiful coal tit in the rain

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This coat tit decided to check out the local property
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Gareth hung this box, and this is the first time I have spotted any bird checking it out

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Note the long tailed tits pink back and lovely yellow eye shadow!
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Long tailed tit in the rain

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A hungry great tit squawks angrily at other birds

Birds of Thorndon

Some photographs I snapped of birds in Thorndon Country Park.

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A very blurry pic – of a chaffinch we saw. This was the only snap I managed to get!

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Thorndon and the robin

As I poured myself a cold glass of water to drown my vague new years hangover with, I noticed a tiny Robin Redbreast out of the kitchen window. For a while he sat perched on our fence, his head cocked and looking inquisitive. Before long he’d moved to the fat ball feeder to peck away happily at the food we’d left out for him.

I decided then that today would be the day I used my new zoom lens to capture some birds with. I bought the Sigma 70-300mm lens for my Nikon last week for the express purpose of bird photography.

I must have sat by our living room patio windows for over an hour as my hands began to grow cold and numb. Eventually I got some shots of the birds that visited our garden – including the little robin. These shots are through a glass door, so they are not pin-sharp perfect.

 

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A while later my very understanding boyfriend realised my need to go out, get some fresh air and snap some birds in the wild. Full of eager excitement (all mine) we set off for Thorndon Country Park. I had never been there before and was quite excited to explore. Whilst we did look around I probably spent at least an hour at the bird feeders snapping away at the great tits, blue tits and robins – I was truly in my element. My boyfriend was incredibly patient despite the fact I would continuously apologise for “being annoying”, pull a face and then continue snapping away at the birds! Eventually we took a walk through the woods but the rain came and we hobbled back to the car with frozen fingers and muddy shoes. For this reason I won’t yet describe this beautiful country park – however, I will re-visit so a post is sure to follow.

The following photographs were taken at Thorndon Country Park with my Sigma lens. Again, these aren’t all in pin-sharp focus. I am still an amateur getting used to my camera (despite the two year photography course) and getting sharp images of birds is hard. Firstly because they are so small, and secondly because they move around a lot!

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I saw about two or three robins at Thorndon which surprised me as I know they are territorial creatures. This one was very beautiful and even posed for a photo!

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The above is the only shot I got of a blue tit. Blue tits are my favourite birds and smaller than the great tits shot above. It was hard to capture but very beautiful to watch.

All in all I had a wonderful day and I’m quite happy with the shots and new lens! Watch out for more bird photography.