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30th November 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

Another enjoyable walk around the park this morning. Colder than previous visits  especially by the lake.

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DSC04359The female kingfisher was there  …

DSC04363and then she was gone.

DSC043853 mute swans flew down the lake and three stayed behind at the other end.

DSC04393The tawny owl doesn’t really want to be seen

DSC044123 grey herons on the lake

DSC04436This one was disturbed by the mute swans

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DSC04466We saw two robins and heard many more

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28th November 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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I set off on my walk around Eastville Park this morning full of optimism as the sun was shining and I was confident of taking some reasonable photographs. I wasn’t really disappointed in the end as there was lots to photograph but I hadn’t counted on the lake  still being in the shade: just a bit more editing to do.

I saw a kingfisher in three different places but I think it was always the same female.  There was lots of activity from seven cormorants (four of whom I saw fishing on the lake) and there was a female goosander and three grey herons. There must be a huge stock of fish.

The tawny owl could be seen clearly (at least she was in the sun). I tried photographing the black-headed gulls in flight but there really wasn’t enough light. Good fun trying though. It was the same thing with a crow bathing in the River Frome.

The best thing about it being a sunny day was there were lots of people about, many of them stopped to talk, and they all had a smile on their face.

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25th November 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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Perhaps I was foolish to take my camera out on such a dismal afternoon but you can’t give in, can you?

I realised early on that the light wasn’t good enough to capture much in the way of bird photographs but I enjoyed seeing a kingfisher, 2 grey herons and 2 cormorants on the lake, a cormorant on the River Frome and a dipper and a grey wagtail on Fishponds Brook.

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As the rain came down I limited my use of my camera and with my phone tried to capture a little of the colour which remains in the park.

I was drenched by the time I reached home but my spirits had been lifted by my walk in the park and I had fun editing my photos.

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24th November 2019 – Slimbridge Wetlands Centre

 

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Yet another dull and dreary day so we settled on the safe bet of Slimbridge Wetlands Centre in Gloucestershire where there’s always a chance of seeing something and where we knew we could keep fairly dry by visiting the numerous hides. We also wanted to see what the newly opened Estuary Tower hide was like.

DSC02258Golden plovers and lapwings (I think) were the first flocks we saw

In the end it only rained on the journey there. However, the weather was so  miserably dull that we didn’t spend long at the centre and headed home pleased that we had had some fresh air and had stretched our legs a little. We did visit the Estuary Tower hide which was most impressive with excellent access and very good views across the estuary (that is if it’s clear enough to see anything).

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DSC02413Despite the excellence of the  Estuary Tower hide we weren’t going to see much in this light

The highlight of our visit was a water rail which was close enough for me to get some decent photos.

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DSC02620Water rail

Not a great day for photographing wildfowl but I was pleased to see one of my favourites – pintails.

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DSC02653Greylag goose

I also took the opportunity to photograph some small birds at close quarters.

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Can’t wait for the sun to come back!

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22nd November 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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The park had a very different feel from when the sun was shining at the beginning of the week. However, even though it started raining before the end of our walk (and I had to tuck my camera away), there was plenty to see.  There was a dipper and a grey wagtail (both looking rather forlorn) on the River Frome. On the lake the drake goosander was visible again. There were three cormorants in the trees over the lake and one fishing on the lake. A juvenile grey heron on the lily ponds looked as though it could do with a good meal. The six mute swans were quite grumpy, sometimes with each other and sometimes with any mallard that came too close. I suppose it must have been the weather.

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DSC02193Mute swan busking – (a mild  form of threat display)

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20th November 2019 – Eastville Park Bristol

This morning it was very cold and gloomy in the park. What a difference a couple of days make! On Monday I took more photos than I would care to admit. Today I didn’t take my camera out of my bag until just before leaving the lake when I saw a couple of goldcrests fidgeting in the branches and four long-tailed tits darting around them.

With the firecrest, the goldcrest is the UK’s smallest bird but a real treat to see. The photo I offer here is not what I saw with my eyes but a greatly enhanced image due to the magic of Sony (camera) and Adobe (software).

Today on the lake I could see only one grey heron and a couple of cormorants. I could see no kingfishers, neither the drake goosander nor the little grebe. But on the other hand I didn’t stand around for long looking.

DSC01716Goldcrest in the gloom of Eastville Park

 

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18th November 2019 – Eastville Park, Bristol

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It was such a glorious morning that I indulged myself and spent several hours birdwatching/taking photos at Eastville Park. I suppose the main reason for spending so long (and not walking a little further) was that I had several sightings of a kingfisher but didn’t manage to get a photo until quite late on. And then it stayed around for ages and I ended up with far too many photos. It’s amazing though how different its colours seem when perched in different parts of the lake. It’s all physics!

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The other reason for staying was that there was a drake goosander on the lake and it took ages to move in to a sunny enough spot for me to get a decent photo.

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But there was also plenty to distract me with lots of grey herons (at least 8), cormorants, a little grebe, 6 mute swans (the most I have ever seen there in recent years) and a tawny owl.

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DSC01406Grey herons everywhere

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DSC000696 mute swans on the lake too

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DSC00657Plenty of cormorants too

DSC01392I couldn’t see the head of the tawny owl

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DSC00885A sweet little grebe

And when I wasn’t taking birds I resorted to using my phone to take photos of the lovely colours still remaining in the trees.

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16th November 2019 – Stoke Park Estate, Bristol

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After a week of gloomy and very wet weather I jumped at the chance to take a short walk to Stoke Park this morning. It was lovely and sunny and so I took a 28mm lens to try and take some landscape photos.

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However, on arrival at Duchess Pond I saw a sparrowhawk fly in and land in the pond quite close by.  In a panic I quickly swapped my lens for a much longer one. At first I failed to change the settings from those for landscapes and failed to get any decent shots as the sparrowhawk flew off when disturbed by crows. Luckily it came back for a further bath by which time I had sorted out my settings and got some very pleasing results.

I had a quick walk around the lake and took some photos of a cormorant and coots, moorhens and mallards in the beautiful sunshine. But by then I just wanted to get home to edit my sparrowhawk photos. Wonderful.

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13th November 2019 – Bristol

Today we were going in to town for lunch but stopped off at Eastville Park for a quick walk around the lake where we saw a goldcrest, several long-tailed tits, a tawny owl, 2 grey herons, half a dozen cormorants and 5 mute swans (the most for some time). It wasn’t  great light but good for the record.

 

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Gold crest

DSC01386Long-tailed tit

DSC01393Tawny owl

DSC01433Cormorant

DSC01463Mute swan seemingly seeing off a newcomer

To make our lunch really worthwhile we headed for Brandon Hill in the centre of the city for another walk (we were anticipating a good lunch) where I had the opportunity for a few more nature photos. We saw another gold crest (no photo sadly). The stars of the show for me were the squirrels.

 

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The lunch (littlefrench_bristol in Westbury Park) felt well earned and was well up to our expectations.

We treated ourselves to a lovely bottle of Chinon (just for the memories) and had a great chat with our taxi driver on the way home!

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10th November 2019 – RSPB Newport Wetlands Reserve

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A filthy day yesterday but today a total change with lots of sunshine. However, we didn’t want to be ploughing through mud and so had a walk around the RSPB Newport Wetlands. The paths on the reserve may have been good but we didn’t see many birds. Never mind, at least there wasn’t too much editing to do.

The only bird worth recording was a robin.

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Frustrated with the lack of birds I attempted a few views across the reserve – the power of Wales.

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