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Linnets spotted in the garden

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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}

I spotted a Red Kite this afternoon in East Staffordshire

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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.

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Red Kite in Staffordshire

Starling Murmuration at Rocester, Staffordshire (Video)

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I live only a couple of miles from Rocester in Staffordshire, so imagine my surprise when the BBC Midlands Today News broadcast a live report from there about the Starling Murmuration last night.

So as the weather was great today (and I’ve just about recovered from Man Flu that has kept my down all week!) I went up at dusk to see what I could capture.

From some of the photos and videos I’ve seen, the numbers tonight seemed a little down on recent days, however, they still put on a good show.

Nobody really knows why Starlings perform these masterpiece flight shows but it is believed that “strength in numbers” is part of the game. I did see some Sparrow Hawks flying around at the same time.

By the time they started to show in big numbers the light had faded quite a bit and cloud had covered the horizon so no great sunset colours.

I didn’t manage to get many still shots as most of the action was taking place over houses and it was getting too dark to photograph, I switched to a longer lens to try and get inside the Murmuration and got some silhouette shots. I did set up my D7100 to film at the same time (video below).

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Inside the Murumuration - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/2.8, ISO2000, 1/1250sec - {Flickr Link}

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Bad light didn’t stop the fish jumping (including video)

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I took a visit to Norbury Weir on the River Dove which is right on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border north of Uttoxeter. I was there watch the Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout making their way as they migrate upstream to spawn.

The weather was perfect for the fish, but terrible for photography it was one of the darkest days I remember meaning I not only had to shoot with very high ISO settings (up to 6400) but also open up the aperture far more than I would of liked just to try and get a fast enough shutter speed. None of it was good enough and coupled with the dull and flat light, the photos are not exactly what I was hoping for, but at least I got to spend 2 hours watching an amazing spectacle.

It’s quite hard watching these fish attempt time after time to clear the weir without any luck. Norbury Weir is quite long and as the water was only a few inches deep, the big fish struggle to get their powerful bodies in a forward momentum. This weir really needs modification to include a Fish Ladder such as the ones further downstream, but it seems this debate has been going on between the fishing clubs and land owners for quite sometime.

{Click image for a higher resolution}

D810, AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f/6.3, ISO4500, 1/1250sec
D810, AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f/6.3, ISO4500, 1/1250sec

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Cotton Dell in Autumn…..but no Dippers

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I went to Cotton Dell (near Alton Towers) in Staffordshire this morning to see if I could find any Dippers in the stream as they are known to be there.

They eluded me, however, being prepared for a disappointment I took along my 14-24 f/2.8 to get some photos of autumn in full swing. It was great to be shooting with an ISO of just 64 as it meant I didn’t need to use any ND filters to extend the shutter speed to get the water silky smooth.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Cotton Dell in Autumn
Cotton Dell in Autumn – D810, AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, f/11, ISO64, 1sec – {Flickr Link}

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