Simon Knight Photography: Blog en-us (C) Simon Knight Photography (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 26 May 2013 08:29:00 GMT Sun, 26 May 2013 08:29:00 GMT Simon Knight Photography: Blog 120 90 Falcon fest.... After last weeks aborted trip to see the showy Red-footed Falcon at Lakenheath (a certain Thrush getting in the way) we finally made it, the bird was fairly inactive in the morning and the just found Savi's Warbler was elusive. A decision was made to head for the Norfolk coast and call back in the evening.

Not a huge amount on the Norfolk coast, a Wood Sandpiper at Cley showed well but the Temmincks Stint at Titchwell has gone missing by the time we arrived.

Back at Lakenheath, the Falcon was showing superbly well in glorious evening light allowing many images to be made (most of them had half a bird in unfortunately!). A few decent images were made.

The Savi's was singing on and off and even gave reasonable scope views now and then, the first i have seen since the Lea Valley bird a few years ago.

Only downer of the day was the lack of Golden Oriole's, two birds are believed to be back but they stayed silent for us during our visit

Red-footed Falcon 9 - Lakenheath 250513

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 26 May 2013 08:28:42 GMT
Mega unblocked for all! A belated dash to Kent (i really must check the pager late at night from now on!!!), saw us in a crowd of a few hundred birders mid morning staring at a stunning female Dusky Thrush. Now that was unexpected when i went to bed on Friday night.


A very distant Montagu's Harrier showed at Reculver Towers but the Red-backed Shrike was not located whilst we were there.


Cattle Egret was our final bird of the day, a distant white dot was all the reward for a 3 mile round trip, it was hardly worth the effort.


Dusky Thrush 3 - Margate 180513

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sat, 18 May 2013 20:11:59 GMT
Good weekend - Rubbish week! A really rubbish week at work, with redundancy looming, good friends came to visit for the weekend.


A cracking day out on Saturday starting at Landguard where the paparazzi were kept amused by a very showy Subalpine Warbler, whatever the taxon this was a special bird, literally flying between tripod legs, a few of the "short lens" boys got a bit close but the bird was not really bothered!


The Rose-coloured Starling at Orford showed well but after the Warbler was pretty dull, is there another species that looks so good as an adult and so boring in other plumages?


An afternoon at Minsmere followed but not much was seen.


Sunday saw us at Little Paxton where the usual Nightingale show was in full flow, this reserve never disappoints.


Nightingale - Little Paxton 280413



]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 28 Apr 2013 20:22:48 GMT
Rare Bedfordshire birding Due to the appaling weather, my game of golf was quickly abandoned and i decided on a quick clear up of the best of the wintering Bedfordshire birds, starting at Sandy, a flock of Siskin and Common Redpoll were seen, although the Mealy never showed itself to me. On to Priory Park where i had photographed Ferruginous Duck a few weeks before, this time year ticking the Black-necked Grebe. Finally on to Broborough Lake where the small group of Scaup were still present in among the Tufted Duck flock as well as the wintering Slavonian Grebe which showed very distantly from the gull watchpoint on the west bank.

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 10 Feb 2013 17:23:56 GMT
Confiding gull A visit to Eastbourne resulted in excellent views of the Bonapartes Gull, showing down to a few feet at times on the small lake in Princes Park, this kick started what has been a slow start to the year for me with very few birds of note caught by the camera.


We dragged ourselves off to make what i thought was a quick hop to Stodmarsh in Kent (well it is only the next county along!), after 2 hours of Saturday traffic we arrived at Stodmarsh to be greeted with good views of this delightful bird, one of my favourite species that never ceases to excite me. Although never giving itself up completely a good selection of images were obtained, my favourite appears below, to me an image that captures the species perfectly.


Penduline Tit 8, Stodmarsh 090213



]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 10 Feb 2013 17:20:37 GMT
South coast again! Well for the 2nd week running we found ourselves back on the south coast, twitching (successfully this time!) the Hooded Merganser, which one of our crew needed, the rest of us had unexpectedly had the Chilham bird in Kent accepted.

We re-visited the Red-breasted Goose at Farlington, still looking as stunning as last week if slightly more distant.

Walpole Park, Gosport was the next stop for the regular wintering Ring-billed Gull, looking slightly dishevelled around the gape. Showed very well indeed and all it took was a loaf of bread.

A final stop was made at Thursleigh Common in Surrey but despite searching we could not find the wintering Great Grey Shrike.

Ring billed Gull Gosport 171112

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sat, 17 Nov 2012 20:26:17 GMT
Autumn update Well Autumn appear to be over, with a bit of a whimper unfortunately!


A quite year on Scilly where we spent 2 weeks, just arriving in time to see the Sykes Warbler on Tresco, my only tick of the autumn, the rest of the trip produced highlights such as Solitary Sandpiper and Buff-bellied Pipit but little else to get the pulse racing - Oh well it was bound to be slow compared to the previous year, next years return trip is assured.


East coast birding has produced Little Bunting and Little Auk but the hoped for Pallas Warbler never materialised, these eastern gems are always the highlight for me of late October.


Anyway yesterday a trip to the south coast for Hooded Merganser produced a dip, although the stunning Red-breasted Goose at Farlington showed well, it would be interesting to get to the bottom of just how long this bird has been returning, surely it is the same bird seen at West Wittering in previous years. The day was rounded off with Black-necked Grebe at Frensham Great Pond although it only gave scope views.

Red breasted Goose 6 Farlington 101112

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 11 Nov 2012 17:07:35 GMT
Finally some easterly winds After weeks of westerlies the winds finally relented and had a touch of east in them, instant migrants on the East coast had us heading for North Norfolk.

Red-breasted Flycatcher 3 - Warham Green The Barred Warbler that had taken about 2 hours to glimpse last weekend showed very well if a little distant for good photos, moving on to the observatory a very flighty Red-breasted Flycatcher gave us brief (mainly flight) views. 4 Brambling in the car park demonstrated the change in weather conditions.


Titchwell car park was full so we headed to Wells Woods where we saw at least 2 Yellow-browed Warblers around the Dell, as usual with this sight finding the flock and staying on it was the key.


Warham Greens was up next where an adult Red-breasted Flycatcher had been found and although mobile showed very well at times, it supported a stonking orange flush to the throat and breast in complete contrast to the earlier Holme bird.


Back to Titchwell but no sign of either the Pectoral Sandpiper (despite people claiming Dunlin at every opportunity!) or the Bairds Sandpiper which seems to show for an hour every 5 days!

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 23 Sep 2012 08:45:36 GMT
Autumn gets underway in style News of a Short-billed Dowitcher in Dorset sent us to the south coast, Jayne needed the bird as she missed the Cleveland bird that the rest of us saw. Expecting very distant views i was pleasantly surprised to find the bird showing on arrival at about 75 yards distance, still not ideal for photos but great scope views.


Next up was Portland where a Monarch butterfly was present, presumably from across the atlantic but possibly from a more southern direction, anyway it fed unconcerned with the local Red Admirals only a few feet away from the appreciative crowd.


Not much to be seen around the obs, just a Peregrine so we decided to head for pastures new in search of a Wryneck at Durlston Country Park. With the complete absence of birders at the site it soon turned into a needle in haystack job, so we turned our focus to butterflies as the last of the summers Lulworth Skippers were still on the wing.


A great day, Scillies now only 4 weeks away if only we knew what the helicopter company was planning!


Jersey Tiger - Lodmoor


]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 09 Sep 2012 10:19:58 GMT
1st September in Norfolk A very quite day spent wandering around Norfolk, not seeing much at all (oh well the sibes will arrive soon)!

Only real bird of note was a very early Purple Sandpiper at Titchwell feeding on the old brick house on the beach, totally unconcerned by the various birders, dog walkers and general public.


]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sat, 01 Sep 2012 20:29:52 GMT
A new toy! After a year of not having a 500mm f4 lens i decided that i could not live without one and took the plunge again! A trip was arranged to Devon where i was intending to switch systems to Nikon; however, upon arriving i was greeted with news that Canon's long awaited mk2 500mm f4 had just arrived, needless to say it was soon in the car and heading to Prawle Point to try it out on the local Cirl Bunting population.

Initial results were impressive and so far i ma delighted.

Very few birds around but the fish and chips on Dartmouth seafront were very impressive.


]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Mon, 13 Aug 2012 19:44:14 GMT
A good day in the end! After what for me has been a frustratingly quite summer, the lure of two half decent birds in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk looked promising.

However, after two hours spent at Sutton Gault not seeing a Purple Heron and two hours at Sheringham not seeing an Alpine Swift it looked like the birding gods would have the last laugh.

Thankfully we had only got as far as Blakeney when the Swift returned, a quick dash back and a 20 minute wait were rewarded with some excellent views. With fresh enthusiasm we called in at Sutton Gault on the way home to be greeted with forlorn faces, however, 20 minutes later the Heron flew in from the south and showed well on the pool.

Sometimes you are just made to work for birds!

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 05 Aug 2012 12:00:32 GMT
Little Bittern 15th June 2012 Little Bittern 7 - Stockers Lake

A quite day sauntering around Kent, grabbing Roseate Tern for the year list and visiting the gull and tern colonies at Rye Harbour where it was good to see that around 50 pairs of Med Gull are reportedly nesting followed by a rare tourist wander around Rye (a beautiful English town complete with cobbled streets).

Whilst returning home we diverted to Rickmansworth where the Little Bittern was showing exceptionally well on the far side of the river (well 10 yards away!). A pleasant 45 minutes was spent photographing this delightful bird as it terrorised the local fish and frog population.

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Tue, 19 Jun 2012 19:53:32 GMT
Roller in Yorkshire A lingering Roller tempted us north to Yorkshire, the bird was never really close but gave great scope views, only the second record for me after the bird in Dumfries in the late 90's.

Even better (from a photography standpoint) was the visit to Bempton Cliffs seabird colony, the Gannet colony is very close with birds flying at eye level within 10 metres of the viewpoint, Puffin, Guillemots and Razorbills were all noted, plus a very respectable colony of Tree Sparrows.

After dipping the Mash Warbler at Blacktoft Sands (not to worry we got the Rainham bird the following day!), we headed to the summering Red-necked Grebe at Hatfield Moor, a stunning bird back for at least its second summer.

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Mon, 04 Jun 2012 21:51:01 GMT
Norfolk 19th May 2012 A fine day in Norfolk started with a visit to Lakenheath RSPB, a superb site this time of year, Golden Oriole (2 males), Common Cranes, Bitterns, Bearded Tits, Hobby and Cuckoo's were all showing well.

News that the Temmincks Stints were still present at Cley sent us onwards to the North Norfolf coast, 4 birds were present.

Whilst deciding where to go next news broke of a Red-backed Shrike at Stiffkey, after a brief delay for lunch we duly arrived and enjoyed god views of what appeared to be a 1st summer male; whilst searching i was lucky enough to be in the right spot when a stunning Red-spotted Bluethroat was located, the bird showed brilliantly for 4 of us before disappearing before the crowd arrived.

The day ended at Titchwell where a Curlew Sandpiper was added to my year list.

Year list ended the day on 199 species.

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sat, 19 May 2012 21:05:47 GMT
Kent suprise Short-toed Treecreeper 3

What was planned as a pleasant relaxing day in Kent, turned into a mad dash across the county for a Short-toed Treecreeper, very elusive but called regularly. A new British Bird for me as i had missed last years Landguard individual, so was able to catch back up on my crew (who got Yellowthroat back on me the other week!).

The day started at Dungeness with a flyby Bittern, Smew, Yellow-legged Gull, Long-tailed Duck, Bearded Tit, Tree Sparrow and a distant Great White Egret, not bad for starters; moving towards the point we added the resident Glaucous Gull.

The mega-alert hit as we left the reserve gates, so a quick 50 minute drive saw us staring at a bush where the Treecreeper had been some time earlier - dejection disappeared as the bird flew back in calling from across the railway. Difficult to view and only a few record shots grabbed.

The day ended at Harty Marshes, where around 10 Short-eared Owls gave varying views, along with a Barn owl and a few Hen Harriers.

3 good days in as many weeks, the spring will have a lot to live up to!


]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sat, 10 Mar 2012 21:39:14 GMT
Hampshire 3rd March 2012 Spanish Sparrow 6 - Calshot

We finally made it to Hampshire to catch up on the fine selection of wintering rarities, going straight to Calshot for the Spanish Sparrow was a wise choice, the rain had just stopped and the bird appeared and fed in the roadside hedges for 30 minutes before disappearing with the House Sparrows. Only the 2nd record for me after the long staying Waterside, Cumbria bird.

The Dark-eyed Junco at Hawkhill Inclosure was not quite so confiding, in 4 hours i failed to take a single shot and saw the bird for about 30 seconds in total, great bird though and my second North American passerine in 7 days, the 3rd record for me after the Chester and Langham birds.

A quick drive saw us staring into back gardens in Hordle where an adult Rose-coloured Starling was holding territory, good views but to me this type of birding leaves me cold.

The end of the day was spent at Shatterford where the wintering Great Grey Shrike was finally located and showed relatively well, the afternoon was rounded off with good views of 3 Dartford Warblers, it was good to see this species is still clinging on despite the recent run of cold winters.

]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 04 Mar 2012 10:42:36 GMT
25th February 2012 Common Yellowthroat 6 - Newport After our trip to Ecuador it took a good bird to get us motivated, and this was just the ticket! Superb weather, a bird that although was not easy gave good views, although getting the definitive shot was a little more difficult (well done Richard Stonier!). Three of our group needed the bird as a lifer, although myself and Jayne have seen the species on Scilly in the past.

After a few hours we headed to New Fancy View in the Forest of Dean where up to 4 Goshawks gave some stunning views, one male gave a flypast at about 200 yards range, best views i have ever had of this species. Cannop Ponds produced about 25 Mandarin Ducks and a Kingfisher.

An excellent days birding, can't wait till next week.


]]> (Simon Knight Photography) Sun, 26 Feb 2012 18:56:18 GMT