Tuesday, 30 April 2013

My first rare of the year and a first for Suffolk. 27th April 2013.

It was a Friday night, and I thought I would just pop onto BINS Click here and see if there was anything interesting that had appeared during the day.
To my pleasant surprise there was! An Eastern Subalpine Warbler had landed down at my local patch of Languard Common and was showing well for people. Funny, it supposed to be in Morocco!
I mentioned this to my wife and said I'd pop down there in the morning before we went off and did anything.
Sure enough I got up the next day and headed down to find a ever growing crowd of people looking at it and got some lovely photo's of a very obliging bird.

Kind regards


Monday, 29 April 2013

Some birthdays are pretty special. 25th April 2013

Birthdays. When you were a young child, right up till your late teens they are important to you. From presents and parties to going out late and not quiet remembering what happened. There important at that age.
As you grow older the fun goes out of them little by little till you start to dread the dam date arriving. Subsequently you get to the point where the majority of the time its best left not said, it hoping it goes past nice and quickly.
However, once in a while a birthday comes along and surprises you. Not like in a surprise party or meal that someone has sneaked about getting sorted for you whether you had an idea of it or not. A genuine experience of 'wow, I'm not going to forget that for a while. That was nice!' birthday.
We that's what happened to me on mine.
It started like any other day does. You get up, make yourself ready then decided what your going to do with yourself to alleviate the impending hours that await you. For me I decided I was going to go out and do a bit of bird watching and photography.
I'd looked on Bins Click here to see if there was anything interesting on there area and sure enough there was down at my local patch of landguard. I packed my camera and off I went.

I arrived at Landguard and made my way onto the common and noticed a group at a distance who had cameras and were watching something. I approached them and introduced myself. Listened to what they were talking about and was watching the dozen or so Wheatears feeding. Then one of the gentlemen said his goodbyes, picked his camera up and walked off. He seemed to be heading off to look for something so I followed, caught up with the gentlemen and we started chatting. We saw a couple of Meadow Pipits and a nice Male Linnet It was a few minutes into our conversation that I caught a glimpse of the man at just the right netangle to suddenly realise who I was in the company of.

3 years ago I started bird watching, I found Bins online and started to find the places to go and what to look for. I bought myself a bridge camera and began learning how to take photo's. It was then that I started to follow with interest a photographer called John Richardson, and over the last few years I have sit in wonder at some of the beautiful wildlife he has photographed hoping one day I might be as good as him and of course get to meet him. I updated my camera, and with more and more practise produced better and better results. Yet I still never got to meet my Idol. I'd either miss him by a day or he was somewhere else than I was. I even had friends that knew his well and yet still I missed meeting him!

Until my birthday, because the man I was talking to, the glimpse I had had. It was then that I realised to my total and utter amazement that it was John Richardson! My idol!
Of course I was trying my hardest to just act as normal as possible. After all you don't want to jump right in and make yourself look like a total crazed person gibbering away saying "I'm your number one fan!" (Sorry, reference to the movie 'Misery' there.)
However inside I could hardly contain myself.
I explained myself to him and properly introduced myself. When I had done that, he then went on to say he had seen some of my work and had heard of me! Well, that did it, I was total blown away by that bit of news I can tell ya.
Anyway, he was going to go look for a Grasshopper Warbler that was down near the ferry from a text alert he had received. He had never seen on, just heard it. I asked if I could join him to which he agreed.
This really couldn't get any better, I thought to myself. My birthday, meeting John, going to go photograph with him a uncommon bird. Yes flaming please!!

We travelled down to the Ferry. Took a bit of time working out from the instructions that the alert had giving to where the bird was but once we had found it we spent our time chatting and waiting patiently for an opportunity to photograph it. For some reason once your in John's company thing seem to happen that luck alone cant explain. Because within minutes the little bird, which is supposed to be a fairly elusive and shy species, was in the brush next to us singing its heart out in front of me and John.

Pleased with the first shots we had got, we waited to see if it would come out into the open better and a full body shot.
Whilst we were waiting we were watching other birds coming over the sea way and off into the distance. I was even able to get a flight shot of a Little Egret that came over.

Sure enough after a little waiting about (John going for a dip in a nearby watery ditch. We'll say no more Mr Richardson.) The bird moved position out into the open.

It was getting close to time for me to have to leave for work. I was ecstatic with what had happened that morning and it will stay with me for a very long time. Plus the sunburn which I had no idea I had till I arrived at work will remind me for a while at least!
All I can say really is. Thank you John for making THIS birthday special.
Kind regards

My first trip to Minsmere this year. 23rd April 2013.

I'll admit it now, I've not been out to photograph or birdwatch at all this year. Infact I will to say not since after my holiday in Wales back in Oct 2012. Bad of me, I know.
However, what with weather and work, it not been the easiest hobby to make time for of late. That and spring to was a little while to get going what with all that snow we have had, snow, rain....blah. Anyway....without making more excuses I did get an opputunity to go out for an afternoon walk around my fav RSPB reserve in the county, Minsmere.
I arrived with the weather feeling lovely and warm and a fairly clear sky. Took a stroll right round the reserve and finally settle down in the Island Mere hide in the hopes of catching sight of my first Bittern of the year.
I did however get a few distant shots of a Female Wheatear off the beach near East hide on my walk round.
I settled down in the hide and enjoyed the light warm breeze coming through the window, the sun was shining low in the sky giving everything a lease of life and glow. The rich colours of the reeds and plants seemed all that more vivid. The sounds of water and wildlife where a very relaxing backing track. I did have to wait long for my quay. On the left hand side of hide, where the reeds stopped and the water began, came out a Male Bittern. He made his way down the edge of the reeds fishing as he went.
Now without coming across big headed or nothing, I have taken my fair share of Bittern photographs. However catching a Bittern with a fish in its mouth has eluded me for some time. Thankfully, patience is a vertue, and practice makes perfect. I took up a good position and started photographing. The results were worth it:


All in all a lovely experience once again from Minsmere. I'd seen the manager, Ian Barnthorpe a few hours before hand and had explained this was my first trip this year which he ageknowledged but also said that it was early days and that I would get something soon enough.
Boy was he right. Thanks Ian.
Kind regards,

Hello there....

Welcome to my blog. I'm Chappers aka John Chapman and after some consideration I have decided to start a blog about my obsession with wildlife (specifically birds) and photography.
Thankfully I have plenty to share with you all at the moment as I have just gone and celebrated my 37th birthday which just so happens to have had a fair few wonderful experiences develope.
Shall we start......