What an awesome day Mike and I had in a private hide photographing this woodland specialist, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Latin Name Accipiter Nisus. We were blessed with amazing light all day and superb views of this awesome bird.
Most people’s sightings of a sparrowhawk are little more than a flash of grey / blue as the hawk flies through their gardens hoping to grab a little bird off their garden feeders.
This bird has been nicknamed Mad Max and he certainly lives up to his reputation, he is fearless and while eating, will happily sit in front of the hide for 20 minutes or so.
Alan McFadyen has painstakingly built a woodland hide in Scotland specifically for photographing this beautiful bird of prey. All of his efforts are now paying off with Mad Max making daily visits through this woodland area. There is nowhere else in the UK where you can get this close to the sparrowhawks and get these sort of photographs.
It should be stated that Mad Max is a totally wild bird and it’s his choice that he makes these visits. Alan did say that if Max nails a blackbird or other bird of similar size then he is done feeding for the day, and thus, like all nature photography, alot of luck is needed to get shots of these amazing birds.
Alan does his absolute best to give photographers the best chance of photographing elusive birds. The various feeders around the hide site are teaming with little birds which are part of the Sparrowhawks daily diet.
I highly recommend anyone wanting great shots of this stunning bird to contact Alan and book a day in his hide, you will not be disappointed. Alan is a great guy and will really look after you during your visit.
More shots are available to see and purchase at my website:
My Sparrowhawk Gallery
Or Book your place here, you will not regret it.
Finally got a shot of a Male Crossbill in full breeding plumage.
he landed for maybe 1 minute max during the 9 hours we were sitting under camo netting in heather / grass / mud.
Nikon 500 F4VR lens
Nikon 1.7xTCII Teleconverter
effective focal length – 1275mm
Managed to get some better shots this time on Bowes Moor of the Crossbills.
Mike and I got about 20 seconds of activity during the 7 hours we were sat in wet long grass under camouflage netting hoping that they would actually land on this tree where we were pointing our lenses at.
This was my favourite shot of the day and made all the discomfort worth it
Without doubt one of the UK’s favourite birds.
I photographed this little guy, named Spike, at Sion Hall Bird of Prey Centre near Thirsk in North Yorkshire.
Nikon 500 F4VR Lens
While Randy was over here visiting from north Carolina I took him to one of my favourite places, Sion Hall Birds of Prey Centre near Thirsk in the North East of the UK.
For getting head shots, like this one, of the awesome Raptors, this place cannot be beat. The birds are awesome, the setting is superb and the people who run the centre are amazing.
hopefully im going to organise another photoshoot there soon for a maximum of 10 photographers. These are always great workshops and everyone comes away with great images from the event and the best thing is you dont really need lenses over 300mm
check this place out by clicking the link below.
Just past the Entrance to the RSPB Saltholne Reserve on Teesside is a small island where, at this time of Year, pairs of Pied Avocets come to breed. There is a small wooden blind with 2 viewing apertures which provides good viewing of these birds without disturbing them.
This year seems to be a good year for the Avocets , with around 10 breeding pairs. Last weekend (22nd May 2011) 4 or 5 Avocet Chicks were counted along the edge of the island feeding.
The Pied Avocet is the emblum of the RSPB
The Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta, is a striking white wader with bold black markings. Adults have white plumage except for a black cap and black patches in the wings and on the back. They have long, upturned bills and long, bluish legs. It is approximately 16.5-17.75 inches (42–45 cm) in length of which the bill is approximately 2.95-3.35 inches (7.5–8.5 cm) and the legs are approximately 3-4 inches (8–10.5 cm). Its wing-span is approximately 30-31.5 inches (77–80 cm). Males and females look alike. The juvenile resembles the adult but with more greyish and sepia tones.
The call of the Avocet is a far-carrying, liquid, melodious kluit kluit.
If you are anywhere near this location and have a bit of time to spare make sure you go along and see them.
Until next time