A Few scarce butterflies

Firstly I must apologise for long absence from posting,but to be honest, I have hardly done anything decent to post about !.

Well its now mid-summer and ,as usual with me, my thoughts turn to insects – which,in my case usually means dragonflies or butterflies – usually both !.

I must say that where I am in Huddersfield,West Yorkshire,we are`nt blessed with butterfly habitat so everything I tackle is a car drive away and sometimes many hours at that

Common blue butterfly was the first one i went for this year just an hours travel down the M1 to a large untouched meadow in Derbyshire that i stumbled upon by accident a few years ago

Its heaving with common blues – the meadow being full of birds-foot trefoil – the foodplant of the caterpillars

No doubt I don`t need to remind you about the terrible May we had with cold and consistent Westerlies having a severe impact on our early emerging butterflies – luckily common blues start to emerge more or less at the end of May and the weather was starting to look better for them.

As soon as I arrived at the meadow,the butterflies were evident but I noticed they were nearly all males – maybe its one of those species where the males emerge first ?

Click on image to enlarge

Male Common blue

butterfly. common blue,male 005

I need`nt have worried though  – I started to get my eye in and found several females,though they were outnumbered by about 10 to 1 by males

Female Common blue

butterfly. common blue,female 001-2

I did`nt see any pairs mating – the nearest being these 2 close together – the photo taken as they had gone to rest up for the night – the female is on the left

Click on image to enlarge

butterfly. Common blue - male 003

The first ” big one ” that I went for this year,a relative of Common blue,was actually extinct in Britain about 60 years ago

The Large blue butterfly was successfully re-introduced at several sites in the South-West of England,though only a couple of the sites are open to the general public.

The Large blue has a fascinating lifestyle whereas it depends upon one type of ant which takes the caterpillar underground into the ant nest where it preys on the ants offspring – amazing !

I was researching on the internet for Large blue colonies and found out about a place I had never heard of in Gloucestershire – Daneway Banks SSSI

It was still 3 hours drive from home but it sounded very promising so I arrived there at the crack of dawn with absolutely no idea where to look – even the reserve was`nt signposted

I ambled around for about 2 hours seeing nothing but a curious fox and not a soul in sight – I was becoming anxious

My luck then changed when a car pulled up and a friendly guy who came most days before work pointed me to the best area for them

They still were`nt easy to find but slowly we began to find them and in the next 3 hours saw at least six individuals

Female Large blue

Butterfly.Large blue9378

Butterfly.Large blue9399

It was getting very hot and so was I ! – the reserve is on a steep banking and its hard going chasing up and down trying to keep an eye on a flying insect about as big as your thumbnail

I wanted a shot with the wings open but they just were`nt playing so I had to be satisfied with the above wings closed pics

My next target was Black hairstreak – another big drive South to Northamptonshire to a site I had heard of many times over the years but never made the effort to visit

The gloriously named Glapthorn Cow Pastures is actually a broad-leaved woodland with not a cow or a pasture in sight !

Again,it is a reserve managed primarily for Black hairstreak with plenty of Blackthorn – the butterflies only lay their eggs on Blackthorn

Although it`s a very uncommon and localised butterfly,I did see plenty of them here- at least 20, but they were always flitting around the tree-tops – hopeless for photography – and in  nearly 2 full days visits,I only saw 4 at ground level feeding

Apparently,some years they get big numbers down low but not this year – not for me anyway !

Female Black hairstreak

Butterfly.Black hairstreak9418

Butterfly.Black hairstreak9420

Also took a few shots of Large skipper while waiting for the hairstreaks to show

Butterfly.Large skipper9483

Another Butterfly I have long wanted to get pics of is Britains only truly montane species – The Mountain ringlet.

Only found in the Lake district in England ( yes another big drive ! ),and a few sites in Scotland,and as its name implies,found only at high altitude.

I went to Irton Fell on a hot and sunny day – these butterflies only fly in sunshine apparently and thats a rare commodity in the Lakes

I saw at least 100 but they were so active because of the weather – really frustrating to photograph and I only managed one decent pic all day !Also,I left it a bit late in the year and most were fading or tatty specimens – should have been about mid – June to get them in mint condition

Butterfly.Mountain ringlet 9549

So there you are – frustrating a lot of the time but it would`nt be as much fun if it was easy !

Hope you enjoy

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Around Huddersfield

steveknellphotography

Hi you all

I have`nt posted in a good while so here are a few bits and bobs taken around Huddersfield – my home town

I have become a bit obsessed recently with some of our beautiful uplands – only 15 minute drive from my house

The area in question is basically rough farmland,uncultivated pasture with cows and sheep farming predominating.

I recently became aware of a pair of yellow wagtails in suitable habitat for breeding – as far as I know,this bird has never bred – certainly not recently – in our area.

However,thats just what they`re doing,and at the time of writing this,they are feeding young in the nest – about 1 week oldImage

Male Yellow Wagtail

I studied the behaviour of the birds,especially the super bright male – basically to see what photo opportunities were available – I did`nt want pictures with food in the bill,so I…

View original post 296 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Around Huddersfield

Hi you all

I have`nt posted in a good while so here are a few bits and bobs taken around Huddersfield – my home town

I have become a bit obsessed recently with some of our beautiful uplands – only 15 minute drive from my house

The area in question is basically rough farmland,uncultivated pasture with cows and sheep farming predominating.

I recently became aware of a pair of yellow wagtails in suitable habitat for breeding – as far as I know,this bird has never bred – certainly not recently – in our area.

However,thats just what they`re doing,and at the time of writing this,they are feeding young in the nest – about 1 week oldImage

Male Yellow Wagtail

I studied the behaviour of the birds,especially the super bright male – basically to see what photo opportunities were available – I did`nt want pictures with food in the bill,so I watched where they perched after visiting the nest

It was soon apparent that the male invariably landed in some rough ground about 20 metres from the nest where he usually had a preen and sometimes sang

This was where I decided to put up my portable hide and hope he still would come

It worked a treat with the male, but the female never landed and I could see she always flew a good distance from the nest after feedsImage

This was 4.30 in the morning with the sun just coming over the horizon – a beautiful time of day in June

So far I have only had 1 go and the party was over by 7 o`clock as already,the sun was just too bright on such a sparkling bird.

On the bonus side,I had noticed 4 brown hare close to the road in the next field along – and as hares go,they seemed reasonably approachable and so,yes you`ve guessed,next morning with another good weather forcast for first thing,the hide was up even before the sun was – and of course – the hares ran off !

Undaunted,I quickly erected the hide and got in – I was`nt really expecting any pics, but lo and behold – after about 45 mins,I could see a pair of very long ears coming through the long grass – and they were coming my way!

And another not far behindImage

This hare`s beady eyes are looking startled because it can hear the camera shutter and does`nt know what it is,so I only took a few shots and it quickly settled down – in fact in the end,it went to sleep in front of me !

It`s one of my favourite mammals and at long last,I had photo`s of themImage

Image


 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Old Moor RSPB ….

I recently discovered an RSPB reserve just 20 miles from home – I don`t know why I have never visited it before but for some reason it had slipped by me

It is basically a wetland site , but the bit that interested me was the “farmland” birds that were coming to the feeders for a never ending supply of seed.

I havent done much in the way of these subjects – birds like yellowhammer and reed bunting ,tree sparrow and various finches – and here they were in good numbers with the

added bonus of it being Spring so the fresh foliage of the hawthorn hedgerow looking really good

Bullfinch 001

Male Bullfinch

 

bullfinch-3

Male Bullfinch

bullfinch-8

Male Bullfinch

Always a delight – male bullfinches are surely one of our most beautiful birds

Another striking finch is the goldfinch – these were`nt as regular to come as bullfinch and when they arrived they were nearly always in pairs

goldfinchGoldfinch

Male and female look the same in Goldfinch

We read about farmland birds being in decline and so its pleasing to go to a reserve like Old Moor and see birds like tree sparrow still in very healthy numbers.They are additionally encouraged by a myriad of nest boxes put up specifically for them.

Like goldfinch,the male and female are identical

tree sparrowTree sparrow

tree sparrow-2Tree sparrow

The feeders are about 5 0r 6 foot off the ground and the birds up to now all prefer to feed directly from them – yellowhammer and reed bunting feed on the floor and i never saw either trying to land directly on the feeders instead scratting around on the floor underneath where additional seed is put out for them.

Frustratingly from a photography angle – these two species normally flew very quickly onto the ground to feed so it was tricky to get one perched in the hedge where obviously,it made a better photo

yellowhammer-2Male Yellowhammer

This fence was often used instead – perhaps because they felt safer as it was closer to the ground,am not sure

reed bunting-3Male Reed Bunting

I got there in the end though with a bit of perseverance

reed bunting-4Male Reed bunting

reed bunting-5Male Reed bunting

So there we are – some dificult species added which I am pleased with -and I will finish with a couple of the more common finches,chaffinch and the grumpy looking greenfinch

still nice though

greenfinchMale Greenfinch

greenfinch-2Female Greenfinch

chaffinchMale Chaffinch

Thanks for looking – hope you enjoyed

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hungary for birds. The finale

We were due at the airport for about 3 . 00 pm – and Budapest was at least a 2 hour drive away, so arrangements were made to be back at the hotel for lunch,pay bar bill, collect our bags etc

Based on this, we opted for the other drinking pool hide, called reflection hide number 2 – situated in a clearing though entirely surrounded by mature broad-leaved forest

The set up was basically the same as the other reflection hide, though the much more open aspect compared, gave this hide a different sort of lighting effect,

Also the sun got into the area earlier as well, and so shutter speeds were`nt a problem first thing

So we settled in for our last session with the sun just getting into the site – looking back  the weather had been good to us all week long – and as usual, it was`nt long before the birds started to appear

It soon became evident that the number 2 hide was attracting a lot more song thrush than the number1 hide – almost a non stop stream of them

Another female collecting nest material

click on image to enlarge

song thrush 001

Also blackbirds put in  their presence – this male enjoying a good soak

click on image to enlarge

blackbird 005Male blackbird

The female blackbird is actually a brown bird !

Like the song thrush  , this female was busy collecting moss for her nest

click on image to enlarge

blackbird 001Female blackbird

Blackcaps were again the commonest warbler with regular visits from both male and female birds

This male is perched up and shaking the excess water off his plumage after just been in the water – these shots are normally binners though once in a while you get one that works – as long as the head is sharp

click on image to enlarge

blackcap 004Male blackcap

click on image to enlarge

blackcap 006Female blackcap

Hawfinch were again pretty common – such a secretive bird, materialising out of nowhere then after a quick drink or bath ( or both  !) slipping away back into the forest

click on image to enlarge

hawfinch 008Male Hawfinch

click on image to enlarge

hawfinch 008-2

And then a new species – for me anyway…..

At first I was`nt sure what it was, obviously a female flycatcher but something looked odd about it.

It all became clear when her mate popped in to join her – it was a collared flycatcher !

click on image to enlarge

collared flycatcher 001-2Female collared flycatcher

click on image to enlarge

collared flycatcher 001Male collared flycatcher

Spotted flycatcher – a rather drab bird to look at – unfortunately in big decline in Britain, were also a welcome addition to the bird list with at least one bird flitting around the vicinity of the pool

click on image to enlarge

spotted flycatcher 001Spotted flycatcher

click on image to enlarge

spotted flycatcher 002Spotted flycatcher

We heard a lot more turtle dove ” purring ” in the nearby trees, so were`nt surprised when a pair came in – they really are an attractive member of the pigeon family

click on image to enlarge

turtle dove 001Male turtle dove

Our time was nearly up when a jay, a colourful member of the crow family, showed up and that was the last species I photographed – this bird is panting which tells you it was hotting up – I think if the weather had`nt been so hot then we would`nt have had the numbers and species of birds visiting the water

So I am going to leave you with this nice portrait of a jay and hope you have enjoyed our little jaunt around the Hortobagy region of Hungary

click on image to enlarge

jay 004Jay

All in all, it had been a fantastic week,s photography with great hospitality , excellent company and guides, and of course, the brilliant weather gods – am just glad to leave the salami and pepper sandwiches behind !!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hungary for birds.Day 5

I will apologise now for the pause in posting …..

I have been working hard this week ( electrician ), its a bank holiday this weekend so no work now until Tuesday – Yippeee !!

Anyway, back to Hungary and Bird photography, day 5 …..

This was to be our last full day in the field and it was forcast to be much the same as all week – dry ,bright and sunny, so we decided on a return visit to do some more reflection/drinking/ bathing photography.

We decided to try out the reflection pool number 1 again, purely because we felt there was more potential for a few species not so well covered on our first day in there.

So the dawn start was again ,as predicted ,bright and sunny, with cloudless skies and a hot day predicted, so we were hopeful for plenty of visits to the water

The first bird to visit was a greenfinch – common enough but I liked the quality of the early morning light, with the sun not yet getting into the photography area,the still air making the calm water give a nice reflection

click on image to enlarge

greenfinch 001Male Greenfinch

Song thrush – one of my favourite birds – soon put in an appearance

Again ,the early light complemented the bird

click on image to enlargesong thrush 010

Song thrush

Apart from a brief view of a fly-by Goshawk, it was quieter today – perhaps the goshawk was spooking the birdlife and maybe still around somewhere nearby

After a while birds started to reappear – blackcap, a  member of the warbler family , seemed more common today, although they were always nearby, their song was constantly heard in the background

Only the males have a blackcap – the females and immatures having brown caps

click on image to enlargeblackcap 001Male Blackcap

click on image to enlargeblackcap 001-2Female blackcap

Another species of warbler put in an appearance – one that we were not really expecting – indeed one that was not supposed to be there.

It was a garden warbler !

Not much to look at , though I have always liked drab little brown jobs !, if you know what i mean

click on image to enlarge

garden warbler 001Garden warbler

Hawfinch and turtle dove put in their presence again , much appreciated as ever ,though green woodpecker took centre stage when a pair appeared together.

The male enjoyed having a bathe but the female seemed reluctant to come right down to the edge ,she stayed up in a nearby tree for most of the time.

click on image to enlargegreen woodpecker 000Female green woodpecker

click on image to enlarge

green woodpecker 008

green woodpecker

They are very similar in appearance – the easiest way to tell them apart is by the red in the ” moustache ” , and the much larger red cap of the male

The end of the session was fast approaching when the star of the day came in – a magnificent male black woodpecker

click on image to enlarge

black woodpecker 001Male black woodpecker

According to our guides when speaking later ,we had been very lucky, the black woodpecker only putting in an appearance about once every 2 months !

So that was about it – another great day – it was time to go home tomorrow, but the flight back to the U.K. was`nt until 5.10, so we could have at least a half day in one of the hides – good !!

Join me on next post for the last session of an epic photo journey

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hungary for birds.Day 4

Today was to be a full day in a hide that was located deep in a reedbed -complete with a boardwalk out to it for access – the hide actually built over the water

It is called the pygmy cormorant hide and although we only saw 2 all day,they stayed around for ages – typically with their wings held out, so making for a nice photo

click on image to enlarge

pygmy cormorant 003-2Pygmy cormorant

click on image to enlarge

pygmy cormorant 002Pygmy cormorant

The reedbed was full of birdsong, with typical warbler species of this kind of habitat – Great reed warbler and sedge warbler probably the most common,one new species for me though was Savi`s warbler – and as with all the Locustella warblers – a real challenge to get pics of.

I managed to get some records of one in the end

click on image to enlarge

savis warbler 001Savi`s warbler

click on image to enlarge

savis warbler 001-2

Savi`s warbler singing

The hide is situated overlooking an area of open water with various perches being placed in it to attract birds to rest/preen etc

I was surprised to see so few ducks – there were 2 pair of Pochard and 1 pair of Ferruginous duck  and that was all

click on image to enlargeferruginous duck 001Ferruginous duck

click on image to enlargePochard 001

Pochard

What there were plenty of though, were whiskered terns

These birds breed here and we noticed plenty of nesting activity in the form of mating/carrying nest material etc

click on image to enlarge

whiskered tern 005Whiskered tern

click on image to enlarge

whiskered tern 005-5

Whiskered tern

click on image to enlargewhiskered tern 007-2

Whiskered terns

The best thing about the pygmy cormorant hide ( apart from the whiskered terns ! ) is that you can come out whenever you like without disturbing the birds.

The approach is through tall reeds and either side of the hide is a tall screen made from reeds to camouflage your coming and going

I decided to go exploring this vast area with my camera gear in tow – there was`nt another person in sight and it was a really enjoyable experience to have a place like this all to myself

Bearded tits were often heard or seen distantly now and again,but I was about to get a lucky break !

I chanced upon a beautiful male right on the edge of the reedbed by the footpath,and he was collecting nest material from the tops of the reeds/bullrushes

I watched him make a few sorties into another clump of reed and he was soon joined by a female – also carrying nest material

I quickly set up my kit and made a cautious and steady approach- both birds pretty much ignored me and I started getting some pics of both birds as they popped up onto the reed  stems each time they had finished nest building – this was the best way to get the shot – but you had to be quick !

click on image to enlargebearded tit 002Male Bearded tit

click on image to enlarge

bearded tit 003

Male Bearded tit

I find the females just as attractive, even though they dont have the black ” beard ” markings of the males

click on image to enlargebearded tit 006-3Female Bearded tit

click on image to enlargebearded tit 006-5

Female Bearded tit

So that was pretty much it – again ,I was over the moon with the days events

The beardies really the icing on the cake

Join me for day 5 on my next post

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hungary for birds.Day 3

Day 3 turned into a half day really – not for lack of hides to go in but we needed banks and shops etc, and as we had chosen to do the shorebird hide,(which is a half day hide ),we decided to have the afternoon off and catch up with chores back in town

So as usual,we were picked up from the hotel at dawn,and collected the usual breakfast bag of fruit, yoghurt, sandwich etc – normally there is a lunch bag as well – far too much food and I defy anyone to eat it all in the day !

We would be back at the hotel for lunch this time and so we could have a civilised meal at the table with plates . Luxury – even have a beer or two to wash it down  !!

Anyway,first things first – we had birds to photograph

The shorebird hide is different in that it is mobile and depending on water levels at the marsh where it is situated,this defines where it gets situated for the optimum chance of getting pics – in this case ,waders and terns

As we drove along the dirt track alongside the marsh,we could hear plenty of birdlife, but to be honest, this venue is more about quality than quantity of species and we only got pics of 5 species yet there was never a dull moment as the birds entertained us non-stop

Wood sandpipers,a migratory species on their way North at this time of year, were easily the most common waders.

There was always at least one within camera range and as the hide was at water level ( we were lying down ),the background was out of focus so gave a very pleasing backdrop to the bird

click on image to enlarge

wood sandpiper 002

Wood sandpiper

click on image to enlarge

wood sandpiper 001-2

Wood Sandpiper

Apparently 2013 was a wet Winter/Spring and so water levels are high this year and according to the wardens,this affects breeding numbers of ” marsh terns “

Namely white-winged,whiskered and  black tern

This year the conditions were very suitable for them and we saw plenty of breeding activity, mostly from the white-winged black terns

click on image to enlarge

white-winged black tern 001-3White-winged black tern

click on image to enlargewhite-winged black tern 001-4White-winged black tern.Pair copulating

click on image to enlargewhite-winged black tern 001-2

White-winged black tern

I reckon that around 100 pairs were present,but only 2 pair of whiskered and 1 pair of black tern were amongst them

I did`nt do justice to the black tern as they did`nt really play ball and always landed in the wrong place for some pics, but we managed decent images of whiskered tern – it turned out that day 4 was to be THE place for whiskered tern ,so I will only post one from this site and i will show more on my next blog ( day 4 )

click on image to enlarge

whiskered tern 008-5Whiskered Terns copulating

I wonder why they are called Whiskered tern  ??

Getting back to waders – the other notable species settling in to breed were black-winged stilt

They were never far away ,though frustratingly,they seemed to prefer a patch of muddy swamp just to the right of the hide.

Patience finally paid off when a pair wandered into “our ” bit of water and performed beautifully straight in front of us

click on image to enlargeblack-winged stilt 001

Black- winged stilt

Amazing long legs, even by waders standard

click on image to enlargeblack-winged stilt 001-2bBlack-winged stilt

By now, our 4 hours were nearly up and our guide would be coming to pick us up soon, and to be fair,  I was glad !

 it was around 30 degrees outside and we were hot as hell in the hide – it was reminiscent of a scene from Tenko ( showing my age now ) !!

Also ,the birds had gone a bit quiet, though 4 drake Garganey were of note

click on image to enlargegarganey 003Drake Garganey

So, short and sweet, or should I say short and sweat !

It had been good again though, and I was glad it was a white-winged black tern year, for me, they made the day

See you next time  for day 4…..

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hungary for birds. Day 2

We had come with the clear intention that if it was due to be a sunny day – we intended to get pics of waterbirds.

Nothing looks worse than a bird on water with a grey or white sky reflecting dingy colours !

So day 2 looked likely to be a bright clear day with possible showers later in afternoon,so we chose to go into the egret hide.

This is another low level hide but this hide overlooks a shallow pond roughly 30 metres x 10 metres –  the hide situated right on the waterline

Another dawn start ( in fact they all were ! )and a 30 minute drive later saw us crossing open plain with plenty of birds singing.

Typical open country birds here involved skylark and crested lark, plenty of yellow wagtail  of the central European form (grey-headed ), and plenty of corn bunting also

As we pulled up at the pool , a large flock of assembled black  storks, grey herons, spoonbill , and great white egret made a hasty retreat to a safe distance a few 100 metres away.

We were assured they would soon be back once the vehicle had gone

Our guide put us in and after arranging to be picked up at 6.00pm,was gone

It turned out we need`nt have worried about a grey sky reflected because usually,depending on where the birds stood,there was a large group of trees in the background giving a nice colourful out of focus reflection

It was`nt long before a grey heron came drifting back into the pool, this in turn, giving confidence to the rest of the birds and slowly but surely, they all made their way back in.

click on image to enlarge

grey heron 001-2Grey Heron

Black storks came in next – what a huge bird !

I have only seen a couple before ,and that was at a distance – these were landing so close that i could`nt fit them in the frame, with a 500mm being the only lens I had taken   oooohh

so I was taking portraits of them and their plumage is amazing – its reminiscent of the irridescence in a starlings feather`s, and its all topped off with a stonking great red bill – they should be called black, green and purple stork in my eyes !!

click on image to enlarge

black stork 001Black Stork Portrait

I did manage to get a full size image later on but on the whole,black storks seemed to enjoy the deeper water which was near the hide

click on image to enlarge

black stork 003Black Stork

I guess we had been in the hide about 1 hour or so when a splash alerted us to a new arrival – a drake garganey ! -a nice surprise indeed

It seemed intimidated by all the large birds around it but eventually,it settled on a little area of mud right in front of us.It looked gorgeous with its strong white supercillium clearly showing

I find it strange that this small duck migrates to Africa for the Winter – our only breeding duck to do this

click on image to enlarge

garganey 001Drake Garganey

It suddenly took flight and the reason became clear – it had joined up with a group of 3 more garganey flying overhead ,no doubt still on migration North

Spoonbills and great white egrets must have had a nesting colony nearby ,probably with young to feed,because throughout the day, the whole group of them would take off and dissapear for around an hour,

and then they all came back together

click on image to enlargegreat white egret 002Great white Egret in flight

click on image to enlarge

great white egret 004Great white Egret

click on image to enlarge

great white egret 001-2Great white Egret with fish

click on image to enlarge

spoonbill 001Spoonbill in flight

click on image to enlarge

spoonbill 005-3Spoonbill with reflection

A male marsh harrier had been noticed hunting nearby and occasionally ,it would drift over to the pool looking for any fish that the herons had missed

This gave a small chance of getting them in flight – I did`nt get many sharp and this is probably the best in flight shot I got – it helps that there is eye contact because nearly every other shot has`nt

click on image to enlargemarsh harrier 004Male Marsh Harrier

Then,getting towards the end of the day, it started circling lower and lower and unbelievably it landed ! – about 10 metres away !

Talk about lucky – I managed a few shots before it flew and I consider this my best image of the day

click on image to enlargemarsh harrier 003-2Male Marsh Harrier

So another very successful  and action filled day with some great birds and photo opportunities

Join me on my next blog for Day 3 – now I wonder how my bar tab is going ….

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hungary for birds.Part One

Having just arrived home from a brilliant weeks bird photography in the Hortobagy region of Hungary, it is now time for the daunting task of sifting through innumerable images, binning about 90% of them and then processing whats left for agencies, web, etc

Sakertours operate a cleverly situated number of hides for various hard to do species,these are the guys on the ground in Hungary,and I think its the best way to go for a short week with great pics being achieved every day – you just would`nt have the same success on your own, mostly because they have access to the inaccessible areas of Hortobagy National Park. visit them at  www.sakertour.com

Our first days photography was planned to be a day in one of the two reflection hides, both set in Debrecen great forest – a huge area of mature deciduous woodland

No food is put out but a 5 metre long pool has been made in the forest where there is no other water and so its a magnet for birdlife, especially when it is a dry spell with no rain

The hide is situated low down so you are looking straight at the birds at water level which gives a fantastic perspective

We were in situ for just after dawn and got to wondering what the first bird would be to come for a drink,but we were amazed -first in was a nightingale !

click on image to enlarge

nightingale 001Nightingale

What a great start ! – one of the main reasons I had come to Hungary was to get shots of nightingale – I did`nt expect it in 5 minutes !

It was`nt long before another ” big ” bird came along in the form of Hawfinch – a cracking male

Hawfinch it appears is a reasonably common bird generally across Europe though always shy, and we had many visits throughout the day

click on image to enlarge

hawfinch 001Male Hawfinch

Various commoner woodland birds came along that day – all what you would expect really.

Great tit, blue tit marsh tit,chaffinch ,greenfinch,song thrush, blackbird etc,though there was one more nice surprise in the form of turtle dove – an extrewmely dificult bird to get pics of in the U.K

A pair came to drink together and although they did`nt stay long ,it was enough to get a few frames in the bag – another mission accomplished !

click on image to enlargeturtle dove 002Male Turtle Dove

I really enjoy  anything wildlifey in photography, and it does`nt have to be rare for me to enjoy

In this case, a song thrush must have been nesting nearby and was back and forth collecting nest material

Now I adore songy`s anyway ,but they really made a nice pic with beakloads of moss

click on image to enlarge

song thrush 001-2Song thrush

Other birds of interest were woodpeckers – 6 species were seen at this drinking pool in the course of one week

It was nice to see middle-spotted woodpecker though I have photogaphed them before – what I did`nt really expect was green woodpecker

click on image to enlarge

middle-spotted woodpecker 001Male Middle-spotted Woodpecker

click on image to enlarge

green woodpecker 001Female Green Woodpecker

It was also nice to see plenty of starlings coming, usually in small groups

click on image to enlarge

starling 001Starlings

And another familiar bird of our woods was jay, a very common bird to the water

click on image to enlarge

jay 001Bathing Jay

Thats a cross-section of some of the first days birds and I was more than happy with what we had achieved

Day 2 is going to be my next blog – totally different habitat and birds

I`ll be back…..

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment