Yesterday when I posted a blog WordPress sent a message say congratulations it was my 500th post on
“Reflections from my world”.
Today I thought I would post how it all started – my love of the natural world dates back to around the age of 8 when I started to develop an interest in nature. I was lucky enough to have an elderly teacher at Primary School who encouraged this non “school” topic. I can no longer recall her name but she had set up a bird club which she held in the summer one evening a week for children with an interest in bird watching. She lived in a wooded area in a bungalow near the school, her garden was a wildlife haven with bird feeders and ponds. Each week she would talk about a bird species followed by some practical activity such as pond dipping.
I struggled at school with reading and writing and I still do. I do not think I have ever read a fiction book or a novel cover to cover. However, I made progress at school and when I was offered to choose a book for prize day in 1966. Most books asked for were story books but I asked for a bird book due to being given this school award for progress my 1st bird book was “Birds and their Nests”.
My 1st adult bird book was “Colin’s Guide to British birds” saved up for around 1968. One of the best books on birding available at that time but so dated by today’s bird book standard with small pictures many of which were in black and white. This book is still in print but has been updated and modernised over the years. Anyone who owns a current nature book will know how good they now are. Access to nature photography has improved so much as well in recent years. In the past, I would take pictures on 35mm film. I would have to pay for the film stock than pay for the development and printing of the film only to have to discard 90% of the photos because you would not know if your pictures were exposed right or in focus until your film came back. Focus exposure and even winding the film on were all a manual function of taking a picture in the past – today this is all able to be done automatically for the photographer. “This will never catch on” was the thought when digital cameras 1st came out. – My first digital camera was only a small compact camera. I remember going to Brighton for the day with it and the battery ran out by lunchtime !! Battery developments and improvements have happened. Now my 35mm film Camera has been replaced by an equivalent digital camera. Taking wildlife and nature pictures has never been so simple and cheap once you have invested in your equipment.
Today I use the following equipment to observe and record nature.
- Fuji x100 camera
- Fuji XT1 camera with battery pack/grip
- Zeiss 12mm
- Zeiss 32mm
- Fuji 60mm macro
- Fuji 50mm – 230mm
- Fuji 100mm-400mm (+ x1.4 tube)
- Zeiss 7×42 binoculars
Thanks for following
All picture’s below have been posted before.
restored Sherman tank raised from the nearby seabed in 1984.
As well as picking up plastic and general rubbish and putting into a bin on the beach. Over the last couple of years, I have retrieved 100’s of feet of fishing line off the beach at low tide. The line and hooks present a real threat to birds and wildlife on the shore. The lead weights I decided to melt down into an ingot for a doorstop!
I support cleaner seas.
After some experimenting in the garden, I melted the weights down into an ingot this afternoon.
Over the past weeks, I have counted about 10 Avocets in total at Titchfield Haven they stay a fair distance from the hides so the birds are a long way off but I was able to take some acceptable pictures.
Last week I spotted 3 chicks with one pair of adult birds they were very small and you could only see them with binoculars. Today the chicks were in the same spot and had grown quite a lot but had reduced to only 2 chicks.
A few weeks ago I posted https://andyfinneganblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/a-family-affair/ a blog showing the Black-headed colony at Titchfield Haven starting to pair up and build their nests on some of the gravel islands.
I visited again today some birds were sitting on eggs.
Other birds were busy looking after their chicks that had hatched.
Spent some time in the New Forest over the Bank Holiday. After a short walk, I found a small stream. Away from the holiday crowds. I took the chance to take some insect pictures.
The first insect which there were several about was a Metallic green-blue damselfly, in the UK there are 2 types of Metallic blue damselflies this one is called the Demoiselle.
These damselflies were a chance for me to try some closer work, catching insects in flight proved quite difficult.
Water striders are interesting aquatic creatures to watch they skim across the surface of the water without breaking the surface tension so they in effect can walk on water.
Large Red Damselflies, this pair has just mated and the female is laying her eggs underwater.
On the way back I also had a close encounter with a grey squirrel who was running along the forest floor changing direction and headed up a tree after nearly bumping into me.
To end the morning off a Common Lizard turned up by the van door.
Mute Swans have started to gather at Titchfield Haven where the River Meon reaches Southampton Water. About 10 in number are about at the moment. I am not sure why the Swans are meeting up – think it is a Swan dating spot.
The Steamship Shieldhall is the largest working steam ship in British Waters spotted in Southampton Water this evening. link to an old blog of my trip in 2015 on her.
A few hours gardening this morning led to some wildlife spotting (on a small scale). Known as a pest to most gardeners, snails and slugs are a feature of our gardens. I am happy to let nature rule in our garden.
The white-lipped banded snail has a glossy, smooth shell, nearly always has an obvious white lip around the shell opening. Colour’s of the shell range from, yellow pink, brown or red, with up to 5 variable spiral dark bands
Very eerie and calm waters in Southampton Water this afternoon. A little flotilla of sail boats set off down the water towards Portsmouth before crossing towards the Isle of Wight and going out of sight.
As they passed by the tide was on the ebb and the water was very still with just enough wind to push the flotilla along on its adventure. The view from our favourite spot at Meon Shore near Titchfield Haven changes with both the weather and the view of the activities taking place. Sometimes nature, sometimes pleasure activities other times trade coming into the port.
Sorting through some old photographs I came across these seal pup pictures. Taken a number of years ago in Northumberland. The top pictures shows a younger animal, the bottom two pictures are of an older pup who I stumbled across in a pool and I think it would have bitten my leg if I had not moved off quickly! These are Common Seals identified by their V shaped nostrils. In UK waters only Common Seals and Grey Seals breed. The pups of both species are fed for up to four weeks by their mother’s during this time they can more than double their body weight. Their mothers then abandon them to fend for themselves.