Soudley Ponds; Forest of Dean

Soudley ponds are small and user friendly.

There is a resident White Muscovy Duck  quite ugly but probably quite tasty if cooked slowly. Also a large group of Mallards or Mallard/Farm yard style ducks. These ducks are blessed by being fed with bird seed, corn and a few bits of sunflower and peanuts ( ie cheap bird seed) but a good staple for the ducks.

Then there is a good population of moorhens.

Are these two brothers? Maybe sisters, they do seem deep in conversation.

A few Little Grebes, one of my favourite water birds.

Grey Wagtails were flitting in and out.

The icing on the cake was a Kingfisher.


Otter hunt continues

I think I am getting closer to achieving my goal of photographing an Otter in the Forest of Dean area.


Spotted two of these this morning which I think have to be Otter spraints.

Also saw a distant view of a dipper.


And a fleeting glimpse of electric blue.


Two groups of grazing animals have been introduced onto an area of the Forest of Dean to maintain the heath land habitat.

They also add to the photographic interest of this region. Already we have Wild Boar, Roe Deer, Fallow Deer and Muntjac Deer. Recently Beavers were released and maybe soon Pine Martens. Oh yes and Otters and Polecats and various small stuff.


This photo was taken through glass at a zoo in France.. The European Zoo at Chize, a very good zoo with a huge amount of space, but still a zoo.


Recently I have spent a bit of time on the banks of the river Wye hoping to catch a glimpse of a wild Otter. I have seen Kingfishers, Grey Wagtails, Cormorants  etc but no Otters.

Does anyone have a spot they could recommend where there is a possibility of catching a view of these wonderful animals?


Ham Wall

Had an away day yesterday (5th Sept 2018) and went to Ham Wall R.S.P.B reserve.  Some nice birds on view, I just walked round with one camera with telephoto attached so shots of the scenery and the starlings in the evening were a bit restricted. However I did manage a few nice shots.

First of all the scenic shots including one that looks very Constable to me.

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There was a Great White Egret, in fact there were several but this one was a poser and I took lots of shots as did every one else…here are a few of them

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And of course there was other stuff…. I did see a Bittern, well only just. It flapped up out of a reed bed and I just caught about 3 wing beats before it disappeared but it was enough for a tick… There were Marsh Harriers about and I think I saw a Peregrine, I heard Water Rail but did not see them and the Little Grebes were very obliging.

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Finally there were the Starlings… murmurating but not in the numbers that you get in the late Autumn and Winter.


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Milky Way

Several FB friends have recently posted  some stunning photos of the night sky, with the Milky Way.

Here in central France the sky is full of stars and the Milky way is visible, not mega but it is there. So two nights ago I made various attempts to photograph it but they were all rubbish.

So I contacted Phil North and member of the Forest of Dean Camera Club who specialises in night time photography for advice and he said f4, ISO 3,200 and 20 second exposure and this seems to have worked. Thanks Phil.

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Not stunning but it does show what was there.

Another mega beetle The Alpine longhorn beetle;

Saw this one a few days ago. It flew in and landed on my shirt, I was at the time wearing a rather fetching  shiny green silk shirt that I bought some years ago in Vietnam…..  it was olive green not too  o. t. t.

Anyway I persuaded it to move off my shirt and onto some rocks so I could photograph it.

It is called The Rosalia longicorn (Rosalia alpina) or Alpine longhorn beetle,

According to wikipedia ‘They are distributed from the Alps east to Slovakia. Its numbers across Europe has greatly depleted in recent years, and it is a protected species in Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia‘. This one however was living free in the  European Zoo in Poitou-Charentes, France….. a long way from the Alps.