Newport Wetlands

I often visit the RSPB reserve at Newport Wetlands.

I like it partly because it is similar to many of the areas I used to frequent in Norfolk. Partly because I sort of like the juxtaposition of nature and industry. Although much of the industry is now ex industry.

I did not see a Bearded Tit, this photo is from the information board. I also did not see any Otters though a group of four were spotted playing there last week.

I did see a few wild flowers including this Coltsfoot.

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Affinity Photo processing

I have invested in some new photo processing soft ware, called Affinity. I now have to get to grips with all it can do But after an initial play here is a before and after shot.  I entered this for the Midphot competition and it scored 9. I wonder if I had entered the Mark 2 version if it would have done any better.  The main adjustment has been to reduce noise.

Olympus TG4

My new toy is an Olympus TG4 camera…..

 

Brilliant….. its very small, smaller than a mobile phone though a little bit fatter but not much. And it takes photos underwater, down as far as I will ever venture with my snorkel and flippers. It also takes close ups and focus stacks half a dozen photos together… no more messing about with photoshop and it has loads of different ‘clever’ modes. Here are two shots first with out stacking and second with stacking. For full specifications click here

And two more.

Most of all it does not give you back ache.

And here are some other photos I have taken with it.

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There is a new version out called the TG5 but it does not do the focus stacking and I think it is 12 mega pixels not 16 ???? and it costs more!!!!! Why ?

Forest Otter

Christmas came early this morning, a lovely sunrise and another Otter.

I was up early and on site just as it was getting light… this was a shot taken with full ISO and thus very grainy… The most likely time to see an otter is just as it is getting light or just as it is getting dark, which is the worst time for the camera.

By the way no Otter in the photo above it is just there to show what sort of picture you get immediately after sunrise.

I was scanning the far sides of the lake with my binoculars when suddenly there was a loud splash in the weedy water not 10 meters away from me. My first thoughts was maybe a large fish had surfaced.  Then the Otter popped up right in front of me and now about 50 meters out.  I desperately tried to focus but with my insulated gloves on it was all a bit of a fumble.

It dived and then reappeared further out, now I had yanked my gloves off and was better able to focus. Again it only had a quick look round and then disappeared off to the left behind some reed beds. I waited a short while but no more views so I slowly walked back along the bank and then I saw it again, now right across the lake and it moved across and then out of view.

I remained by the lake for about an hour, the sunrise produced some nice colours on the trees and reed beds but with only a telephoto lens I was limited in what I could snap away at.

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A young Swan came up close, maybe expecting me to feed it and when that did not happen it gave me a good loud hiss and then swam off. Also at the lake were a few Grey-lag Geese, two pairs of Mallards  some Coots and that was about it.

Next challenge is to get a shot of an Otter out of the water.. maybe sat on a rock in the middle of the river Wye eating a salmon….. now that really would be Christmas come early.

 

 

 

Sanlucar waders

There are some rocky areas a little walk along from where we are staying and at low tide they are exposed and a small selection of waders turn up.  So today I sat on one of the rocks for  a couple of hours and photographed what decided I was not too great a  threat and thus approached a bit closer.

First was a Bar-tailed Godwit, probing in the sand for a juicy worm. You can see the bars on it tail.

The commonest birds there are Turnstones and I did get a shot of one turning a stone.

Second commonest are Sanderlings, delightful little birds, always on the move.

There were some Plovers, mostly Kentish but also some Little Ringed Plovers.

I also saw in the distance, Little Egret, Cormorant, Yellow Legged Gull, Dunlin and probably a Whimbrel but it might have been a Curlew. .

And this is the local beach, the rocky bit is behind me…. Not many people about, just the occasional dog walker or couple taking a stroll.  No sunbathers this year!

 

Sanlucar de Barrameda birds

Poor weather this year in Andalucia so I have been taking a few bird photos locally near our flat, even from the terrace.  There are potentially several different Hirudines in this area at this time. There are some that even pop over from N Africa, though with the weather the way it is I can’t think why.

I snapped away and got lots of blanks but did get a few which have allowed me to identify this one as a Crag Martin…. the clincher is the ‘windows’ in the tail feathers which only show when it spreads its tail. They are not gaps but white coloured feathers.

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There is a bit of a scrubby area down from our flat and it holds some good birds. I saw a Hoopoe and always hear Cetti’s Warbler, there are lots of Chiffchafs and this Fan tailed warbler also called a Zitting Cisticola.

 

On the beach there are a small mix of birds, there are Sanderlings and Turnstones, along the strand line, Lesser Black backed and Yellow legged gulls a bit further back in and then some Egrets, both the Cattle ones with yellow bills and the Little Egret.

Plenty of Sparrows about, House Sparrows, not Spanish though I did see some Spanish Sparrows a few days ago at a lagoon about 20 Kilometers inland.