Friday, October 30, 2009

More Herons

Another late lunch break with the herons yesterday... there is only so much you can do in 40 minutes. I also attempted a few wide angle shots of the free-roaming collection birds on the main lake.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn back lighting

Last weekend I was up in Ayrshire and it was a complete washout - no sightings to report and no photos to post. A late lunch break in Regent's Park today allowed me to capture these backlit photographs of the Grey Herons. Even later in the afternoon would be better but the sun dips early behind the shade of the tall buildings around the park's Outer Circle.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Waxwing drawing

I did another drawing for the forthcoming Ayrshire Bird Report 2008 last night. Its based on a bird photographed in Kilmarnock during last winter's invasion.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Starlings in flight

I captured these Starling in flight in Kensington Gardens this afternoon. The cloud cleared only after 1530h and then allowed shutter speeds up to 1/3200. Hopefully on a future blue sky day I can improve on these.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brown Shrike on Staines Moor

The Surrey Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) - potentially the 8th for Britain - remained all week after being found on 11 October. Today was my first chance of getting there and after a hassle-free trip on the Piccadilly Line via Heathrow Terminal 5 and a short bus journey to Stanwell Moor I joined the procession of birders walking out to Staines Moor. The views were poor though, particularly as my 'scope is still in Scotland, and the shrike kept its distance from the crowd.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Black-crowned Night Heron in Parque el Olivar

During my last day in Lima last week I was just about to leave the park when I thought I would give it one final look around…. maybe I had missed Hooded Siskin? This turned out to be a good move as a Night Heron suddenly appeared with an appetite for the ornamental carp! Half an hour later it plung-dived into the pond, caught a fair-sized fish and then flew a short distance as it pondered its next move. All this in full view of dog walkers and joggers in this upmarket area of Lima – a world away from the poverty of the barriadas on the city’s outskirts. Considering the amount of time I’ve put in with Grey Herons in the British Isles, I’ve still haven’t managed to get ‘fish shots’ like these.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

American Black Vultures at Yarinacocha

Before my three day adventure last week, I grabbed these shots just before the boat was about to leave. The American Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) at Yarinacocha are very approachable and would allow for some very interesting photographs if you have time. These birds look majestic in the air but on the ground they are not a patch on the Old World vultures. They are fairly clumsy looking and the head and the beak does not look at all fierce like the true raptors. In fact, there is some debate regarding their exact taxonomy with some authorities suggesting they are related to the storks (Ciconiidae) while others place them with the New World Vultures and other raptors (Accipitridae). Perhaps they are distinct from both groups?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Circuito Mágico del Agua

A few photographs from my last night in Lima - the light and water show in Parque de la Reserva in Lince district. A tripod would have been very useful but most of these were taken hand-held at 1/2 to 2 second exposures while panning or zooming manually. Oh, and one final Cusqueña!

Lima - days 44-45

Final days back in Lima before heading home and with time to kill I decided to get down to Costa Verde via a few of the city park, particularly Parque el Olivar in San Isidro district. The highlights were three Harris’ Hawk and a fishing Night Heron at close range – proving that sometimes the best bird encounters can occur in an urban situation, where bird are habituated to humans, than in a remote Amazonian rainforest. I found West Peruvian Dove, Eared Dove, American Black Vulture, Blue-black Grassquit, Vermilion Flycatcher, Scrub Blackbird, Red-masked Parakeet, Scarlet-fronted Parakeet (both introductions), Amazilia Hummingbird, Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Shiny Cowbird, Bananaquit, Croaking Ground-Dove, Saffron Finch, House Sparrow, Blue-grey Tanager, House Wren, Harris’ Hawk, Tropical Kingbird, Long-tailed Mockingbird, Rufous-collared Sparrow and Black-crowned Night-Heron. The Night Heron proved to be photographic highlight as it fished for carp! More of which will appear in a later blog. After a nice ceviche at AltaMar, the coast was quiet and quite disappointing compared to previous visits in the previous seven years but provided Inca Tern (12+), Band-tailed Gull (Belcher’s Gull), South American Tern, Kelp Gull, Peruvian Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant and American Kestrel. Photos from top-to-bottom are Night Heron, Band-tailed Gull, Saffron Finch, Eared Dove, Scrub Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Long-tailed Mockingbird and West Peruvian Dove.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Fishing for Piranha

I used to do a bit of fishing with my dad and brother when I was young, but that was before I got hooked on birds. I took some time to catch breakfast with Miguel this morning. He caught some bait fish with a special weighted net which he skilfully threw from the dugout canoe. I caught five Red-bellied Piranhas (Pygocentrus nattereri) and one of a different 'white' species which were soon joining the rest of the catch for soup, rice and a cocona and aji salad.