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Common Toad Waiting in Ambush


Just had a great few minutes watching a Common Toad wedged between 2 rocks in the garden ambushing any Beetles in his range.

I grabbed the camera but as I was only working with light from my garden flood light it was difficult to get a pin sharp photo due to his throat movement and no chance of a tongue out ambush shot.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Common Toad - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/8, ISO1000, 1sec - {Flickr Link}

Linnets spotted in the garden


Over the last week I’ve spotted a pair of Linnets in the garden. Our back garden is mainly surrounded by Hawthorn seperating us from farmland so the perfect habitat for many birds including Linnets.

Today I spotted just the male frequenting the electric cable that feeds our house. As the sun was setting I decided to stick the camera out of an upstairs window to get a shot of him. As a complete fluke, he hopped on top of the Hawthorn right in my line of sight and a perfect angle to the setting sun.

I had a 1.4x teleconverter attached to my 500mm f/4 so expected a small amount of sharpness drop-off but still a shot I’m happy with.

There is no sign of the female, but it’s only the female that sits on the nest, so hopefully he’s just keeping lookout and bringing her food.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Male Linnet - D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 with TC-14III @ 700mm, f/8, ISO900, 1/800sec - {Flickr Link}
Male Linnet - D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 with TC-14III @ 700mm, f/8, ISO900, 1/800sec - {Flickr Link}

Short Clip of a Badger (Video)


Last night I set my Bushnell Natureview up on a track near to a local Badger Sett. I wasn’t after any footage to create a video, but just to try and monitor their activities.

I hope to hide out for some photos and wondered the time of day these Badgers are active. I only got one short clip and it was at 10pm which is far too late for photography (unless I use flash, which I’m not a fan of), but hope that they do surface around dusk. I will be planning some trips to hide out near the sett.

Its always a risk leaving trail cameras out overnight in case they get stolen, however, this was hidden away from any place people would be walking and it was still there this morning.

Bushnell Natureview
Bushnell Natureview

Badgers are protected by law and any disturbance to a sett is illegal, therefore, I’m carefully around what I do and where I do it. They have a very good sense of smell and in the short clip below you can see that it’s having a good sniff around where I pulled out some nettles to try and hide the camera.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}

Do Our Local Foxes Have Young?


I’ve not been monitoring the (Rural) Foxes we have in the garden as much as I did this time last year, however, last night I set the Bushnell Natureview up in the garden.

We occasionally leave out some food scraps (no cooked bones!) and sometimes some treats, but not enough for them to rely on us for food.

Foxes will collect and store food that they don’t eat in food caches but the “Cramming” we are seeing is exactly what happened this time last year. As you can see on the footage, the Fox crams as much food in it’s mouth in one go and carries it off. I think it’s because it’s taking it back to the Den to feed the Vixen who is babysitting her newborn. The food could even be for the young if they are already old enough.

A few weeks after this happened last year, and the Vixen made an appearance in the garden with a single cub.

This repeated behaviour is hopefully a sign that the Vixen has given birth again.

{Remember to watch in HD if possible}

I spotted a Red Kite this afternoon in East Staffordshire


I was driving not too far from home today (East Staffordshire) and spotted this Red Kite soaring around near Draycott-in-the-Clay.

I managed to get this shot on my phone which clearly shows it distinctive forked tail.

I did get home,  grab a camera and return but the weather turned and a nasty blizzard came through. I didn’t manage to find it.

I will keep an eye open for it.   It’s great that these once almost extinct birds are starting to appear in more and more parts of the UK.

Red Kite in Staffordshire

Buzzards Soaring


It was an amazing clear sky early evening so I thought I’d try my luck at capturing the House Martins, my luck was out!

I did see this group of six Buzzards circling on the thermals though. We have a lot of Buzzards where I live, but I have never seen such a large group together.

This shot was taken into the low sun, so converting to Black and White was the plan from the start to get a nice silhouette effect.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Buzzards Soaring - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/8, ISO320, 1/2000sec - {Flickr Link}

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