Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

Well I escaped the country last week just before the airports closed due to snow! I’m in Bosque del Apache in New Mexico for a couple of weeks, photographing Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese. This huge refuge is a photographer’s paradise most days, but yesterday when a Golden Eagle took one of the thousands, a blizzard of Snow Geese swept over the road like a tsunami and I just stood in awe at the power and sound of the collective wings! Then I remembered to try and capture it all on camera. Until I get home and process the images, here are a few of today’s Sandhills....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Drawings in print

Prints of my drawings at 6" x 4" are available to buy at £2.50 including postage. Larger sizes are available on request.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dancing on ice

I created this blur of Coots as they ran after some bread on the ice. London was mild at the weekend and I was already missing the cold weather... but it is forecast to return.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ayrshire Waxwing Invasion 2010

Following three major influxes/invasions of Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) in Ayrshire in the last decade (2000/01, 2004, and 2008/09), a further influx is underway. As previously (see here), this post will be updated regularly with reports. A full report of the autumn-winter period records will be published in the Ayrshire Bird Report 2010. Please email me with additional sightings of Waxwings for the blog and bird report at or by adding a comment below. Thanks to the following for records: Gordon McCall, Angus Hogg, Mike Howes, Brian Orr, Jim Johnstone, J Anthony, Kevin Beck, Tony & Gerda Scott, Robert Kelly, Mark Medcalf, Vallerie Firminger, Jim Thomson, Gordon & Stella Nixon, Frances Brown, Derek Hall, Ian & Monica Clark, Jason McManus, Charlie McGill, Alison McKellar, Dave Grant, Kirsty McEwing, Dick Vernon, Ayrshire Birding Yahoo Group, Birdline Scotland, BirdGuides.

Waxwing, photographed in 2008 on the disused railway line at Bonnyton, Kilmarnock.

15, Annick roundabout, Irvine

35, Annick roundabout, Irvine

20, A77, Holmston-Hollybush roundabouts, Ayr

20, St Leonard's Road, Ayr
20, Prestwick Airport (Robert Burns International Airport)

25, River Garnock, Kilwinning

5, Drybridge

100, Ayr
15, Shawill House, Sandyford

34, St. Leonard's Wynd, Ayr

90+, River Garnock, Kilwinning
55, St. Leonard's Church, Ayr
20, Milgarholm roundabout, Irvine
1, Shawill House, Sandyford
1, Auchincruive

40, Kilwinning railway station, Kilwinning

27, Fullarton Street, Irvine

100, Castlehill Farm, Stevenston
20+, A78, Stevenston

36, Ayr Hospital
15, Coll Gardens, Dreghorn
8, A77, Ayr

10, Ayr Hospital
200, Fullarton Street, Irvine
10, Ayr Hospital

200, Eglinton Country Park, Irvine

80, Fullarton roundabout, Irvine
55, Mossblown
5, Kilwinning railway station, Kilwinning

25, Bathurst Drive, Ayr

1, Dundonald Road/Central Avenue, Troon

100, Harris Terrace, Dreghorn
30, Ayr Hospital
8, Shawhill House, Prestwick
1, Rigg Street, Stewarton

12, Holmston Road, Ayr
10+, B7038, Caprington GC, Kilmarnock

100, River Garnock, Kilwinning
52, Ardeer quarry/Highfield Drive, Stevenston
50, Fullarton Street, Irvine
25, Ayr

140, River Garnock, Kilwinning
25, Ayr Hospital
5 W, over Straiton

30, Ayr Hospital

165, Ayrshire Central Hospital, Irvine
20+, Fullarton Street, Irvine
14, Kirkmichael
8, St Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock
8, Coylton

100, Shawfarm Industrial Estate, Outdale Avenue, Prestwick
65, Fullarton Street, Irvine

150, Maybole Road, Ayr
25, Coll Gardens, Dreghorn

20, Rigg Street, Stewarton

220, Fullarton Street, Irvine
110, Shawbank Place, Kilmarnock
60, Mayfield Road, Stevenston
40, West George Street, Kilmarnock
26, Shawfarm, Prestwick
30 Bridgend, Kilwinning
26, Shawfarm, Prestwick
19, Coll Gardens, Dreghorn
8 Blacklands Avenue, Kilwinning

220+, Irvine
200, High Road, Saltcoats
75, Ewenfield Road/Robsland Avenue, Ayr
42+, Maybole
12, Glencairn Street, Stevenston
12, Rigg Street, Stewarton
11, Kilwinning Community Sports Club, Kilwinning

9, Semple Crescent, Fairlie

100, High Road, Saltcoats
50+, Coll Gardens, Dreghorn
20, Glasgow Street, Ardrossan
8, Home Farm, Culzean
6, Culroy

90, High Road, Saltcoats

40, Ewenfield Road, Ayr

85+, Marlepark, Ayr
70, Racecourse Road, Ayr
70, Saltcoats
10, bus station, Cumnock

300, Shawfarm Road, Prestwick
200, Auld Brig, Ayr
150, Fladda Avenue, Bourtreehill
130, Ladykirk House, Skye Road, Prestwick
80, Craigston Avenue, Ayr
70, Capringstone
60, High Road, Saltcoats
40, Southpark Road, Ayr
15, Towans Hotel, Prestwick

6, St. John Street, Ayr

400+, Fencedyke Way, Bourtreehill
100+, Atlantic House, Prestwick
64, Tanyard, Cumnock
50, High Road, Saltcoats
42, Ladykirk House, Skye Road, Prestwick
30, Lismore Way, Dreghorn
20, Heathfield, Ayr

7, Fraser Court, Newmilns
4, Station Road, Galston

200, Skye Road, Prestwick
100, High Road, Saltcoats
30, walled garden Culzean
10, High Road, Ayr

100+, Tanyard, Cumnock
84, Ayr
80+, Lang Road, Troon
45, Bourtreehill
32, Home Farm, Culzean
32, Midton Road, Ayr
28, Prestwick Academy, Prestwick
20, Dalry Road, Saltcoats
6, Wesley Street, Girvan

50+, Tanyard, Cumnock
40, St. Quivox
20, Mill Street, Ayr
10, Heathfield Road, Ayr

14, Monkton Services, Prestwick

13, Boyd Court, Kilmarnock

4, Springside

8, Irvine Road, Kilwinning


13, Coll Gardens, Dreghorn
30+, Yacht Club, Largs
8, Irvine Road, Kilwinning

42, Strawberrybank Road/Dean Lane, Kilmarnock

24, Boyd Court, Kilmarnock

4 N, Balkissock, Ballantrae
1, Pinwherry

40, disused railway line, Bonnyton, Kilmarnock
8 E, Muirhead, Troon
4, Kirkoswald
10, Ayr Cemetery, Holmston Road, Ayr

16 S, Turnberry Point

20+ W, Bennan, Straiton
15, over Kirk Hill, Dailly

12-15, Maidens
10 N, Mauchline Road, Hurlford

Click below to listen to Waxwings calls recorded at Kilmarnock in 2008:

Three high-pitched calls around 6 kHz (from group of 3 birds) uttered while perched followed by longer flight call.

Flight calls from three birds leaving hawthorn hedgerow feeding site.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More drawings for the Ayrshire Bird Report

Here are the final two drawings I did for the report at the weekend: a hovering Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and a fluffed-up Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus). Click for larger versions or visit:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ayrshire Bird Report 2009

I've almost completed the Ayrshire Bird Report 2009 and will be ready to send to the printers on Monday. I'll keep all Ayrshire birders posted on when it is available to purchase. Sample images below are of the front cover, title page, internal sample page, & rear cover. More details to follow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Grebes & Shoveler sketches

Here are a couple of pencil drawings I did at the weekend: a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes and a wing-flapping Shoveler. Click for larger versions or visit the main site:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Aberdeen & Stonehaven

Here are a few photographs from last weekend in Aberdeen and Stonehaven.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Return to Richmond

Yesterday morning was colder and there was some nice mist in the hollows but the group of deer I had photographed a few weeks ago were not in the same locality. I found another group about a kilometre away but the sun was getting higher by then and I became distracted by some very showy Ring-necked Parakeets in beautiful light. I managed a few pleasing images of the deer but not the early morning atmospheric ones I had in mind. Still a few weeks to go...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hello goose, where are the herons?

Early Saturday morning in the park, but it was a cloudy start. I tried a new angle on the Greylag Geese, this time from above rather than ground level. One heron was nicely lit in a Weeping Willow.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dark side of the heron

Trying some more silhouette and backlit work on the herons yesterday morning before work, I used an aperture value of 40 at 400m to produce the star-like halos often seen in night and landscape photography. These actually result from the eight blades of the aperture diaphragm in the lens. Positioning myself to make the most of the dawn light I managed to get several of the reflections to bend around the bird's head creating the glitzy portrait below.