Thursday, 24 April 2014

Fulmars Nesting and a Peregrine Sighting

With the zoom abilities of the Lumix, I was able to go back to the cliffs where the Fulmars are busy nesting and get a few close-ups


Fulmars spit an oily stomach substance at intruders. Apparently it sticks fast to birds feathers so they stay away.....very effective no doubt. The inhabitants of St Kilda prized the oil for medicinal properties.


There's a lot of activity on these cliffs with several pairs of Fulmars nesting. They keep the same mate for life.





A bit of a fight...three's a crowd. It was quite hard to get some of these photos as the nests are not easily visible. I'm leaning on the wall with the camera and my head through some shrubs and plants and my toes just on top of a path edge.
I must make it clear that I'm nowhere near the nests and am not disturbing the birds at all, it's the beauty of the Lumix on full zoom, but obviously with a slight loss of quality as a compromise.


A lovely couple quietly away from the nest sights above. Fulmars belong to the Petrels and Shearwaters family and are related to the albatross. They lay one egg and only have one brood each year. They can live for over 30 years and may reach 40 or more.


Looking out to sea from this little cove where the Fulmars nest mostly on the right hand side 


Take off from the cliffs


Can you see how far back they are on their legs, unlike other gulls which stand upright on their feet? They lay the egg on bare rock or in an indent of plant material so that may explain their leg position? The young are independent from the time they can fly at about 45 days old.


A nice image of St Marys Bay and beyond captured in scene mode on the Lumix...one of the things it does very well.

I fear this pigeon was someones lunch...........


.......as I managed to capture the Peregrine in among all the other birds. I knew it was a bird of prey but didn't realise it was this one until I got the photos onto the computer.

I have had Peregrines in the back garden, one actually landed on the fence right in front of me as I was eating breakfast and looking out of the window. I could not move to get the camera so just enjoyed the few moments watching it.


My first practice with shutter priority-got it all wrong, the speed was way too slow and that's why it's blurred but it was on full zoom!  ISO 100 f8  speed 1/60 second and 1200 mm focal length so I'm delighted I got anything at all.


A lovely Woodpigeon to finish off my walk up Sea Lane and home.

For all of you who love Kingfishers check out the amazing photography of Kique at his blog 
http://pinceladasdelanaturaleza.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/martin-pescador-la-flecha-azul.html

I have been working on the speed settings for the Panasonic Lumix and will have a few images to compare in the next blog post, for those of you who asked. I found it quite tricky to work the zoom and change the speed, although I pre-set the speed. As soon as you zoom in you very quickly lose the subject.

For the next post more Fulmars have been photographed, I do love watching them. However it was a good test of the multi-capabilities of the Lumix on a simple walk about.

I hope you all have a good week
SeagullSuzie

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Seabirds

One thing I would miss if I didn't live here are our beautiful seabirds. I'm still a novice at identifying them, but can tell the difference between herring gulls, including their juvenile plumage, black backed gulls (lesser and greater) and now I can add fulmars to my bird knowledge.


I took this photo in my back garden using the Nikon camera and lens on the speed settings I learnt about on a photography course last year at Berry Head. I love to look up and see these beautiful birds, so at ease with their surroundings, and highlighted beautifully against a blue sky.


The weather has been quite calm here and our Coastguard, Harbour and RNLI crews are getting a well earned rest from the nerve shattering storm rescues they were involved in earlier this year. The RNLI has a new boat to add to its current fleet, the £2 million Shannon. If you'd like to read more on this super-fast lifeboat powered by water jets instead of propellers click here


We took a walk along the South West Coastal Path towards Berry Head the other evening because I wanted to catch the birds on our cliff edges soaring out to sea and back to their nesting sites. I'm going to go out again with the Panasonic Lumix to get closer to their nests next time.


Below is a fulmar, flying almost constantly back and forth to its nest in the cliffs. They are beautiful birds with a more rounded look and we have several nest sites to watch this year. If I can work out the settings for the Lumix to capture good speed shots, I hope to get close ups of them flying.


There's always a fishing boat around, and these lovely colours make such a contrast against the blue sea


I thought you might be interested in an event from the Fishermans Mission, A midnight walk on Dartmoor. Sounds like fun but could take 4-5 hours to complete...so that's me out!



I love to catch them in pairs flying together..it seems so romantic in a way. Paired for life and flying almost silently across the water with the occasional call to each other.








I came across an article in my local paper about a photographer called Tom Salt who is from Devon. He has a brilliant image called Natures Eye which I thought you would like.



Above and below are photos of a fulmar. Once again Hubby was charged with making sure I did not fall off the cliff, as it's quite hard to track them with the lens and watch your footing at the same time!






I saw these two handsome birds having a rest and a preen away from the cliffs....


....and spotted this amazing looking beetle which is called a Black oil beetle, it's not common at all and here is some fascinating info on these guys from Buglife. I have never seen one before. Unfortunately they are a parasite of the solitary mining bee.



I love the photo below, it's not great quality but I love the way they are flying so close to the ground heading to their nest.


To end this post I must tell you about a wonderful thing I missed last year. Hannah and her donkey Chico walked the entire new 1,027 mile footpath around wales. For lots of information visit the website Seasidedonkey The Donkey Sanctuary gave help and advice to Hannah on this trip which took her and Chico five and a half months. I really can't imagine anything more wonderful.

We've had some phone line problems which affected the internet, so I was off line most of last weekend and the early part of last week. TalkTalk were brilliant and fixed the problem quickly with an 
engineer out by Tuesday. 

Obviously that has delayed me posting and following your blog posts, so I'm really sorry that I have not commented or popped by recently. I will have a catch up and read your lovely posts, but wont leave comments if that's OK with you guys.

We have been enjoying going out together for walks on Hubby's days off, and the weekend has seemed much longer this time. The other good thing is that we have been able to finish off little jobs, like completing the painting of the pergola, and clearing out the garage, all of which were put off due to lack of time and to be truthful are not the most interesting things to do!

We are off to enjoy some more beautiful sunshine walks and may even have an ice-cream.
Until next time, take care all
SeagullSuzie

Friday, 4 April 2014

A Walk To Sharkham Point

One of the most beautiful walks from Brixham has got to be the South West Coastal Path walking towards Kingswear. You are treated to blue sea, blue sky, birds calling, bees buzzing, and amazing coastal views across the English Channel.




We have walked up through Sharkham Village and are on the meadow heading towards 
the coastal path



Looking across towards Berry Head, Landscove Holiday Park is just behind the row of evergreen trees in the distance to the left of the photo


Just joining the coastal path here. It was a strange day because it was very warm but still looks like winter with no leaves on the trees or shrubs. We did this walk a few weeks ago and part of the path had been closed due to cliff erosion, taking some of the path with it.


This is the rock our house sits on, although we are about 250 metres back from these cliffs, you can just make out some of the houses between the trees. St Marys Bay is just below.


We have walked all the way around the top of St Marys Bay and are much further from the spot where we took the previous photo.


Sharkham Carvings



How many animals and insects can you spot in the carving above?


These beautiful tree carvings are situated all through Sharkham Village and down to the start of the coastal path




She's looking out to sea at the top of St Marys Bay



Looking back to Berry Head


We are almost at the highest point of Sharkham



......and these are the views over the other side, looking across to Man Sands, a beautiful secluded beach only accessible by foot




Sunlight twinkling on the water


Past Sharkham Point you can continue along the path towards Man Sands and on to Kingswear






We had a lovely walk in the warm sunshine. There are always plenty of people out using the coastal path even in winter (which it was in early March).

Finally all is calm and relaxed once again in our lives and we can sit and drink wine, rest, swim and walk to our heart's content. Hubby has just started his shorter working week too, it's been a long time coming, but he's enjoying it already. We are planning plenty of trips out each week and hope to go off to Living Coasts tomorrow (which is a coastal zoo and part of Paignton Zoo).

P.S. Congratulations to Network Rail for a tremendous effort in repairing the storm damaged railway at Dawlish. Here is a link to their website showing the repair works using a brilliant timeline video-well worth a look.

I wish you all a lovely weekend
SeagullSuzie