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Owl Photography

Digitalwildlife.co.uk

Photographing Owls (Owling)
My experiences photographing Owls in Hampshire

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Tawny Owl(Strix aluco)juvenile
Canon 1D III and Canon 400mm f/5.6

A few years ago now in the early 2000’s I was driving home late one evening when a Barn Owl flew across the road in front of me on the outskirts of a rural village near my home in NE Hampshire. This was one of the first I had seen locally and so a few nights later I visited likely looking habitat nearby at dusk and to my pleasure found a bird hunting for voles in an overgrown field.

This was to be the start of a fascination with finding and photographing Owls locally and elsewhere in my home county of Hampshire. At this time many of the fields in the area had remained unploughed for some time and voles must have been plentiful in these areas. These…

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Crest population on Fire

Two pairs were already established, singing and showing well in the Bordon Inclosure on 16th of February this year (2022). I’m starting to wonder if they ever actually leave the area. Clearly Firecrest do move around and some migrate here but based on my experience it’s clear that many don’t winter especially far from where they breed.

Digitalwildlife.co.uk

I saw or heard nine singing Firecrest in the Deadwater Valley Trust Bordon Inclosure during a survey of a small area there first thing this morning. Most birds were associated with Ivy covered trees or Holly. They are tiny, the smallest british bird along with the Goldcrest and were formally a scarce bird in the UK. They first bred in the New Forest in 1962 and have steadily increased in numbers over the following decades. The Bordon area clearly suites them well and their song can be heard in suitable areas from late February to early March.

Firecrest

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Please do browse my photo gallery which I intend to update as often as possible. I have lots of old images to go through and lots more being taken all the time 🙂 so I’ll probably never update it fully, you know what its like. Any questions please do drop me a post, DM or email. I have a backlog of images that do not yet feature. So please do ask if you are looking for anything specific.

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Chilean flamingo, Phoenicopterus chilensis

Dartford Warblers on our local Heathlands

The Dartford Warbler breeds in pockets of suitable habitat in the southern half of England and Wales and is susceptible to population crashes during hard winters. Due to the sizable amount of habitat in the New Forest and the Thames basin heaths, Hampshire has plenty of habitat and a healthy but fluctuating population. Local heathlands like Broxhead Common and Woolmer Forests suit it well. They can be hard to find and are at their easiest to see when they perch up and sing during breeding time.

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Canon EOS 7D Mark II Body



Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens


Crest population on Fire

I saw or heard nine singing Firecrest in the Deadwater Valley Trust Bordon Inclosure during a survey of a small area there first thing this morning. Most birds were associated with Ivy covered trees or Holly. They are tiny, the smallest british bird along with the Goldcrest and were formally a scarce bird in the UK. They first bred in the New Forest in 1962 and have steadily increased in numbers over the following decades. The Bordon area clearly suites them well and their song can be heard in suitable areas from late February to early March.

Firecrest

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM Lens


Some OBVIOUS signs of spring (and some not so OBVIOUS)

It hasn’t felt like spring over recent days with the sun only showing itself on just a few occasions and rain making itself know on most days. However I have been out and about a little with the camera and taken occasional opportunities to snap some of the below images on my mobile phone.

mallard drake
Just your standard duck to some but the iridescent green of of male mallards head looks particularly resplendent in the spring

Spring is just around the corner and many signs of activity relating to the new season have been apparent over the last few weeks. Along with spring colour and singing birds, flowering plants and buds appearing, a handful of summer migrant birds have already arrived to claim territory and will eventually breed in the area.

chiffchaff
Chiffchaffs have started to arrive in the area over the last few weeks and across the country

Already the dawn chorus is quite impressive with thrushes and robins perhaps the most obvious. Both Dartford Warbler and Woodlark are heartily singing on our local heathlands including Woolmer Forest and Broxhead common and I’ve already heard Firecrests and Chiffchaff singing locally in Bordon Inclosure and in Woolmer Forest.

dartford warbler
Dartford Warbler showing and singing very well recently on Broxhead Common and no doubt Woolmer and Longmoor
primrose wild
Wild primrose are popping up all over at the moment as well as the less wild ones in our gardens
adder snake skin shed adder snake skin
Adders will be coming out of hibernation this month and I suspect this is the shed skin of one that i found this week on Broxhead Common
lichen fruiting bodys bodies
Not everyone’s first thought when you think of spring colour but the red of the fruiting bodies on these lichen are really vibrant and easily picked out among the heather on broxhead common at the moment.
daffodils
More traditionally spring colour photographed this week, Daffodils
lesser celandine
..and these awesome lesser celandine are one of my favorites
dunnock
Dunnocks are unobtrusive and secretive but become particularly obvious at this time of year.

It has seemed as if I’ve been hardly out of earshot of a singing Dunnock over the part few days. With few leaves on the trees they are often pretty easy to spot singing from an exposed perch on a hedge, fence or rooftop.

Richard Ford
www.Digitalwildlife.co.uk

Blue Tit nest prospecting behaviour

Here is a short clip of some typical nest prospecting behaviour from the Digitalwildlife.co.uk birdbox. This is happening on a daily basis perhaps 4-5 times a day. I hope that the birds will choose to nest and rear their young here again this year, fingers crossed.


Green Feathers Complete DIY Timber Bird Nest Box with Wireless SD 700TVL Video Camera Kit, Includes Power Extension Cable and RCA to HDMI Adapter


Early spring birding

A Lovely morning in the Deadwater Valley Trust Bordon Inclosure yesterday morning with a definite feel of spring in the air, I was almost never out of earshot of a drumming woodpecker or a singing treecreeper. I also saw two Roe Deer a Red Kite, 2 Sparrow Hawk, Bullfinch, 20 Redwing and 25 Siskins among the more common woodland birds. I managed a couple of nice Treecreeper pictures as well as these pictures of Marsh Tit. By far the rarer of the five Tit species, the others are mostly easy to see in the area. Marsh Tit probably only breed here in small numbers perhaps 2-4 pairs so is was nice to see this bird so well, down by the river where the inclosure meets Alexandra Park.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera – Black