Or oop on t'moor, if you prefer. These are the West Pennine Moors, which are not particularly high or rugged but they are only a short distance from my house and nice for a quick walk. I managed to get up there for a short while on Tuesday. If you aren't familiar, there are loads of Meadow Pipits up there, I'd say flocks if they flocked and they do like to sit on the dry stone walls and fence posts just in front of you and then fly off when you get there. And that's what I thought I was photographing ...
Then, when I was going through the photos, I realised the speckled flanks weren't speckled enough and the legs and beak were definitely pink-ish. Yay, I'd actually got a Tree Pipit! I assume there was a family up there because it joined a couple of others when it flew off.
Now, I'm crap at bird song and I associate Ravens with a goose-like Cronk, but my first bird book said they go Prrrk instead of the Crows Caw . So, when I heard a definite Prrrk from a pair of birds in flight, I took some long-distance photos hoping to get confirmation ID, The blighters never showed me their tails, so they aren't very good as ID shots, but I'm a sucker for nice cloud formations, so I quite like it anyway!
There were clouds of insects too. Their were loads of Swallows who only had to fly low with their mouth open to get fed for the day! I thtought the insects looked St. Marks flies, with their legs dragging down, but I kept getting flashes of red.
It turns out, there's such a thing as a Red-thighed St Mark's fly, which inhabits uplands and flies later in the summer. There were absolute swarms of them and it wasn't just the Swallows capitalising.
The spider wouldn't turn around before it started to rain and I had to put the camera away, so I won't even try to ID it.
When I could get the camera out again, I came across a group of Small Skippers on a patch of thistles, including two on one flower head.
This Reed Bunting was in a complete tangle of branches but very close.
I think maybe a juvenile male
I also got Linnets, Goldfinches, Wheatears and a Stonechat and although I got showered on a couple of times it wasn't a bad couple of hours.
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Nigel O said: I'm a sucker for nice cloud formations
Is that you getting all arty again Nige?
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
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I was really pleased with the Tree Pipit. too. Often when you are out walking you don't really get chance to properly ID all the Pipit-like things that pop up (there are often loads of Skylarks there, too) but I was lucky enough to have this one pose right in front of me.
Sometimes I wonder if Crows can impersonate Ravens, at least with the Prrrk, because I've heard it a few times and not spotted an obvious Raven, which is why I check, although most guides seem to say it is a fairly good indicator of a Raven and they are definitely present on the moors, so it probably was one. It's head does look quite chunky, too.
@ WB: occasionally I'll use a telephoto lens for a butterfly or dragonfly (eg the Skippers in this post) but the vast majority of my insect stuff is done with a 105mm macro lens. In fact, this year, I've started to use a x2 teleconverter on it as well. It means I don't have to get so close and risk disturbing the subject or that for very small stuff I can get 2:1 magnification instead of just 1:1.
@ PB: You won't know, but occasionally I have been accused of dabbling in art other than photography. There is a MAGPIE on here that is one of mine.
Brilliant photos Nige, and such superb detail, particularly the spider having lunch.
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In reply to Nigel O:
Nigel O said:dabbling
Dabbling???? That picture is brilliant.... when I looked at it on my phone I thought it was a photograph with some effect applied to it!!
Lot to learn
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