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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Findlays Ducks!!!

Many of you that follow my blog and Sharons, will also maybe follow an inspirational young man called Findlay Wilde on his blog site http://wildeaboutbirds.blogspot.co.uk/ if you do not follow his Blog, I strongly recommend you do so.

Today Sharon and I went across to RSPB Burton Mere to meet Findlay and his family, unfortunately mum Heather was poorly but it was a delight to meet Dad Nigel, brother Harley... and of course Findlay. The reason for meeting them despite wanting to meet this young man who has such a passion for the natural world, was to pass on a painting Sharon had done for him.

A while back Findlay posted this photo on his blog

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The unique composure of the Shelduck and Pintails in a line really took Sharon's eye, and she produced this wonderful watercolour painting of Findlays photo...

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Sharon had told Findlay he could have the painting if he liked it, which of course he did, we got it framed, and arranged with Heather to meet them locally at Burton Mere, so Sharon could pass it on to him.

It was a real pleasure to meet them this morning, they are a lovely family, and we will hopefully get out for a longer visit some where in the New Year, when hopefully Heather is better.... we hope you are soon!

Whilst there I rattled off a few snaps, to be honest we were chatting most of the time and the bitterly cold wind certainly didn't help, but at least I got some record shots of the visit.

Young Mute Swan

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Lots of Rats feeding on the dropped seed, you either love them or hate them , I think they are quite cute, except the tails!!

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A windswept Great Tit

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An elusive Nuthatch

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Lots of Goldfinches on the feeders

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Findlay with Sharon

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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Boxing Day

Our Boxing Day walk is over on the blog site Sharon and I have set up to record our walks.... http://twopairsofboots.blogspot.co.uk/

If you have a moment click on the link above and take a look.

Thanks

gary

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Many thanks to everyone who has dropped in to my blog over the last year, I hope you have enjoyed catching up on my photographic efforts. Loads on the 'to do' list next year, and rest assured the pics will be here, may I wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Regards

Gary

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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Water Rail

Earlier today Sharon and I had a short visit to RSPB Burton Mere, a new reserve that has only been open just over a year, but is already proving itself a great place to visit, There wasn't a lot about really, but I was quite keen to get some shots of a Water Rail, and low and behold this normally secretive and difficult to spot bird appeared briefly out of the Reeds, and I managed a few decent shots.

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

The Big Cats and the D3

At last a chance to get out and give my new Nikon D3 a good try out..... and you've guessed it the weather was pants!! We decided to give the walking a miss, and instead headed off for a few hours at Chester Zoo, one of my favourite places. A long lunch in the Cafe saw the drizzly rain finally stop, the light was still quite grim, but we had a nice wander around the Big cat enclosures. Once again I was back in my element photographing my beloved big cats, and despite being very wet and soggy the Asiatic Lions were very active, as was one of this years Tiger cubs, although it is not far off being fully grown!
I just love wandering around the Zoo, especially when it is so quiet, Sharon and I took out membership this year, and its great just being able to call in like this and spend a few hours there.
The new D3 is awesome, so much to learn, but as the light was so appalling most of these pics were shot at ISO 3200-4000, and despite a bit of background noise I am thrilled with the quality!!

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

2012 Review .... and win my favourite!!!

As we near the end of another year I have been looking back over my albums of the last twelve months and reliving a lot of the brilliant trips out I have had with my camera. Big highlights was the trip to The Farne Islands, a place I love going back to and seeing one of my favourites the Puffin, Gigrin Farm to see the beautiful Red Kites feeding, and more locally enjoying my membership at Chester Zoo and photographing the big cats that I love so much and also enjoying and photographing the garden birds.
I have pulled out a few of my favourites that I hope you will enjoy, and also if you are kind enough to leave me a comment, as I am doing on my Facebook Wildlife page, Gary Jones Wildlife Photography I will put all the names of those that have commented in to a hat on the 31st Dec, and the name pulled out will win an A3 Mounted print of the Puffin image below.

The Farne Islands, and in particular the Puffins, are a great place to visit.

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I had an amazing visit to Gigrin Farm to see the Red Kites being fed, such beautiful Birds of Prey

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I just love photographing Swans, these two in the early morning mist on Ullswater looked enchanting!

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Martin Mere is the place to go in the North West for Whooper Swans, every year I look forward to their arrival back from Iceland

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Even a juvenile Mute Swan makes a great photo when its back lit by the sun

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I caught this Mute Swan perfectly as it took off as the sun was rising up at RSPB Leighton Moss

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Sharon and I took up Chester Zoo membership this year, and living so close it gives you unlimited access, and is great to pop in for a couple of hours, the big cats are my favourites, I have so many favourites but these two stand out a bit, the first is of one of the Tiger cubs earlier this year.

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The second is a Cheetah stood in classic pose, you could just imagine it stood like that on the African plains, hopefully I will get there one day!!

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Jaguars are such beautiful animals, this one is up at South Lakes Animal Park, a great place to visit

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And of course the king of the jungle, here showing his caring and loving side to one of his ladies!!

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We spend a lot of our time walking in Snowdonia, and across the Carneddau mountains, home to the wild Carneddau ponies, these really are beautiful and rugged animals and a real pleasure to see up on the hills.

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For years I have been trying to get a close up shot of a perched Buzzard, finally managed it at the glamorous location of Deeside Industrial Estate!

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Likewise for a long time I have yearned for a wild Hare shot, they are so difficult to get any where near to, so I was well pleased to get this shot

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And also a bird I have never seen, so many times I have got to a hide to be told 'you should have been here x minutes ago' !!! its happened so many times with Bitterns, but at long last I fulfilled that quest at Meresands Wood, not the best photo I have took, but hey I wasnt bothered was just pleased to see it!!

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as well as getting out and about just sitting observing and photographing the birds that visit the garden is extremely pleasurable, especially the Great Spotted Woodpecker

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this Blue Tit is the scruffiest bird I have ever seen, that Sharon couldn't stop laughing at when she saw the photo! by the way it was tsken during the annual moult and I dont think it was sick !!

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This year has seen the invasion of the beautiful Waxwings, I travelled up to Barrow near Clitheroe to see them, and then they turned up closer to home on Deeside.

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Nuthatches are another bird I have targeted to photograph, and this opportune shot was a real pleaser

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Barn Owls are such beautiful birds, this one was at Eaton Hall near Chester

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Back to Chester Zoo, and the Orangs, i would love to know what the guy on the left is thinking as he looks over his shoulder!

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And lastly one of my real favourites The Red Deer, and the mighty stags that are best seen during the annual rut, there is no better sound than a roaring stag to stand up the hairs on the back of your neck!!

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There are so many more images that I could have featured, but I hope you enjoyed this small selection, and many thanks for dropping in over the last year.