Long-tailed Tits on the River Tweed

I was sitting by the River Tweed on Saturday morning hoping for a sighting of an otter or goosander, but neither turned up. In the distance I could hear a small flock of long-tailed tits calling, they were getting nearer by the minute. I set my camera up near a small hawthorn bush on the rivers edge and waited for them to come along. I didn’t need to wait for long as a small number of them landed in the bush with an even smaller number landing on the outside of the bush were I could get my camera on them.

I really like these little birds, they way just tumble in and tumble out of the trees and the distinctive se-se-se sound they make as they go. They stayed for a few minutes only before moving on to the next feeding place down the river.

Here are just a few of the images I took as they passed the hawthorn bush.

Little Egret

Twenty years ago when a little egret was spotted it caused quite a stir a amongst bird watchers and wildlife photographers. As time has passed the little egret is spreading its range wider and wider and moving up the country.

The first record of breeding little egrets were a pair nested, raising three young, on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset, in 1996   (RSPB)

Leighton Moss is an RSPB reserve I use to visit on a regular basis being a hour away from home when I lived in Lancashire. We would see an odd little egret in a year. I would go to Cornwall on holiday and visit the Hayle Estuary and see these beautiful birds and would think how lucky people in Cornwall were to have these birds, they seemed to be in every creek and estuary.

Since the mid nineties their breeding success  and spread has been quite impressive. They have moved north and now can be found in many parts of the country. Even in the north east of England in Northumberland, a pair can be seen on Budle bay and on the coast up to Holy Island. IN 2002 there were 146 – 162 breeding pairs in the UK with wintering numbers between 800 and 900 individuals (BTO)

When I visited Leighton Moss a few weeks ago and they now have a resident population of little egrets. On the Allan Pool alone there was a small group of 14 with other birds spread over the reserve. The numbers in Lancashire have increased dramatically and are now a common occurance along the coastal areas.

The pictures below are just a few from a trip down to Lancashire a few weeks ago

Scotish Seabird Centre Nature Photography Competition 2011 Short-listing

The Scottish Seabird Nature Photography Competition have shortlisted their entries to go into their exhibition and for the public vote. This is were members of the public view the images and and vote for their favorites. The winner will be announced in mid February.

The categories my images have been selected for are, Scottish Wildlife and World Wide Wildlife.

Here are my images that have been short-listed.

Scottish Wildlife.

Common Sandpiper Submissive, Loch Scridian, Isle Of Mull
Brown Hares Boxing, Kelso

World Wide Wildlife

Arctic Terns Passing Sandeel, Farne Islands

Coots on the Water

I was finalizing the pictures from the shoots at the Hirsel Country Park near Coldstream last week and finally got to the pictures of coot running across the surface of the lake. If you see the size of the feet on a coot, you can understand just how they manage to keep on the surface of the lake.

I had waited for some time to get these images. I thought that coot’s squabbled and fought all day long, but the evidence is that that it occurs periodically throughout the day and not continually. The day was sunny and some of the autumn reflections on the water from the trees and the clear sky  were something to see,  I think I have caught the colours  in some of the pictures of the coot running on the water.

I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Moody Mute Swans at the Hirsel

As the sun dropped in the late afternoon a peculiar light transcended over the lake at the Hirsel near Coldstream. There was only about twenty minutes shooting time left and the sun was hitting the swans but not illuminating the water, as the sun set lower the light warmed up.  This led to a moody atmosphere of which I have often though of and hoped for, but never come across before. Just never been in the right place at the right time

Here are just a few of my pictures

More LIttle Grebes at The Hirsel

The weather was cold and crisp this morning, I was looking for flat calm on the lake to get some images with good reflections. The little grebes were performing well and I took some more pictures of them. The birds were obvious feeling hungry as they started to fish just in front of me. They kept themselves busy for some time .

Here are some of the pictures I managed to get.

Coot at the Hirsel Country Park

Here are a few pictures of a much maligned water bird, its the coot, seen mostly as a bland black bird sitting and squabbling in the UK’s waterways. But if you take a closer look it really is a beautiful bird with its dark pink eye and white crown. They are one of Britain’s most successful birds. They live on just about every pond and lake in the country. When you observe them you will almost certainly see the interacting, squabbling and fighting as they defend their territory and they defend it vigorously

They feed on the weed growing in the water which also helps keep it at bay

Mute Swans at the Hirsel

These are some pictures I managed to get at the Hirsel when photographing the little grebes.

The mute swan is a very serene bird, I watched the sub adults feeding on the sub surface  weed, an adult would come and check on them from time to time and the birds would fly around the lake then dispersal for a while.

The weather was the coldest this autumn with the first real frost on the season setting in letting ice for on the water and it gave a reminder that I should have looked out my thermals, I will from now on.

Here are some of the pictures