My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Monday, 30 June 2008

Another visit to LWC - trying out a camera.

Today, at short notice, I met a friend at the London Wetland Centre; Hugh had offered to lend me his Nikon D70 with his Sigma 50-500 Lens (this doesn't have IS (Image Stabilisation)). My camera is a Canon D20 and, for birding, I use a 100-400 with IS. The loan was to enable me to compare differences. If I were to use the Canon lens with IS switched off, then my pictures aren't very good.

I've also been dissatisfied with my results recently - even with IS!!

Well - firstly the extra 100 focal length certainly makes a difference; secondly, the Nikon and lens are a little heavier but not much.

Getting used to having all the function buttons and menus programmes etc. in different places was quite challenging!

Outcome: I was very pleased with the results. Some pics were hand-held whilst others I had a fence rail or a shelf (in a hide) to take the weight of the camera. All those of the young Blackbird were hand-held but I have to admit it was only about 8ft away! This can't be a true comparison although some of the shots wouldn't have been quite so good with a shorter focal lens.

Herewith the fruits of my labours - some subjects I'm afraid are the same as Saturdays but not that many.

Tomorrow (hopefully) I'm going to try some comparative shots around the garden, using both cameras and taking the subjects with the same settings, focal length and without IS (on the Canon) - if I've got the patience that is!

If anyone notices any particular differences, please feel free to let me know - good or bad!

Something floral to start with

and the birdy pics...

Mr. House Sparrow was one of the first shots with the camera and
I hadn't really got the hang of this - the subject refused to face the camera though!

Coots again..

A return appearance of the young Grey Heron

A young blackbird cooling down - it was lovely to watch.


Mute Swan


Collection bird (apologies - can't remember the name of it)


Sunday, 29 June 2008


After a very pleasant day out yesterday, I was out for a meal in the evening with my son, daughter, grandson and my son and daughter's step-brother and his wife. This was to celebrate four birthdays that will have taken place all within the same two week period. June is like December in my family!!

Today I had time to myself so managed to spend the day gardening. I can't believe in the week I've been away just how much everything has grown!

Down by the water fountain, there was I down on my hands and knees weeding, when a tiny froglet emerged from the wet stones about two inches from my nose! I think I was more startled than the froglet - lovely to see it though.

Managed to get a great deal done today - haven't cut the grass yet (machete on order!) so that still needs to be done, amongst other things.

At the end of the day, I had a shower, a meal (and a small glass of the red stuff) and here I am talking to you - I hope this all makes sense LOL!

A simple day, but one which was so satisfying in the company of the birds and wildlife in the sunny garden and one which, following a good day yesterday, did wonders for my temper :)

Saturday, 28 June 2008

We were at the London Wetland Centre - but where were the birds?

Today I met Pete for a wander around the LWC. The weather was perfect.

There were amazingly few birds about; masses of coots with young, tufted ducks, ruddy ducks, swans and cygnets, a young heron, a lapwing with one youngster, a Little Grebe on a nest (hiding in the rushes) and a Great Crested Grebe out on the water. A couple of terns in among the numerous black-headed gulls - adult and young.

Damsel and Dragonflies were flitting about and a large flock of Long-tailed tits were passing through the trees. Up on the cafe roof a Pied Wagtail sat spying out it's next feed of dropped crumbs from the diners.

At the end of the day, just as we were about to leave, we heard that four Black-tailed Godwits had just arrived and were out on the water scrape. This was an opportunity too good to miss, so we retraced our steps and there they were. Lovely to see all four of them together and delighted they arrived before we left! Regrettably my pics are no more than record shots but I'm sure Pete will have some better ones.

A lovely day in some very welcome warm sunshine, a gentle breeze, a happy ending - and great company :D.

Young Coot

Young Heron

Tufted Duck

Young Pochard

Young Tufted Ducks

Blue Tit - given the state of its feathers I would think
this was a Dad!

Pied Wagtail

Black-tailed Godwits

Poet Laureate in the family

On my return from Barnes, I found I'd been left a very precious present by my Daughter and Grandson.

"Little Laureate 2008 (Surrey)" is a book that has just been published by Young Writers. An extract from the Forward states:

Quote "This year's Young Writers competition has proven as vibrant and dynamic as ever.... Each poem has been selected from a wealth of Little Laureates 2008 entries before ultimately being published in this, our seventeenth primary school poetry series." Unquote.

This is one of the poems; I think it's great - it is written by my 10-year old Grandson :)who's appeared in many of my blogs.

What is a Star?
A star is like a diamond in the sky shining bright,
A star is like a ship sailing and shining through the night,
A star is like a ghost that fades in the day's light,
A star is a tiny sun shining in the high sky,
A star is a gateway to another world glistening and shining,
But everyone knows a star is a gateway to Heaven.

Well done young man - it's a beautiful poem and thank you both for the gift.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Back home again

And today I wish my son:
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY - xx He's staying up with me for a couple of days so he can go out celebrating with his sister and friends - whilst my grandson and I have an evening together.

I travelled back home today leaving Devon in thick mist. Such changeable conditions - at the top of the hills we were shrouded in mist or low lying cloud and then, having descended, back into brilliant sunshine.

The journey was very slow along the A31 (as it often is) but many of our "slow" bits were caused by drives who were reluctant to do more than about 25 miles per hour in a 50 mph limit - and these were main roads!! Hey ho - patience is a virtue.

Finally got home to find things in the house and garden not as I would have wished, but that's not a story for my blog!!

I looked out at my "feeding area" and was delighted to see:
7 Great Tits - several were young
3 - Blue Tites
1 - Green Finch
1 - Ring-necked Parakeet and
1 - Nuthatch - who arrived just before I left for my hols and is still around.
and all these delightful visitors at the same time!

No pics today - not easy when driving a car up main roads and motor ways.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Last day of hols

The weather forecast didn't bode well and, having a long(ish) journey back tomorrow off we went to a reasonably local National Trust Garden - Knighthayes Court and House. This is one of my favourite gardens and I can never tire of the lovely views, beautiful plants, the lily pond and the beautiful wooded area beyond the house.

Saw Buzzards circling overhead; Mr. Chaffinch joined us for lunch and Mrs. Blackbird was foraging in the Kitchen Garden. Chiff-chaffs were singing and at one time, three could be heard; couldn't see them as they were safely hidden high up in the trees.

A great end to a lovely week in glorious Devon.

What shall I miss most? - the sound of the Swallows as I awake each morning - fantastic! And looking out of the doors over the fields at the cows and horses; birds flying across the lane as I approach and the rabbits scurrying into the fields. Great stuff!

Birdy visitors

Views of the Gardens

One of the many butterflies

and a dragonfly that wouldn't stay still long enough...

And the Plants

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