BIRDS 129 – BLACK-HEADED GULL 2

 

 


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Breeding plumage Black-headed Gull over Chew Valley Lake, not far south of Bristol.  This is a relatively small gull, easily identified in this plumage by the white blaze on the forewing, the chocolate brown (not black!) hood, the white eye ring and the red bill.

There is another picture of a Black-headed Gull here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Provia/Standard profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 4 July 2016.
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BIRDS 128 – MOORHEN

 

 


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Moorhen, a member of the Rallidae, the Rails and Crakes.  This family is often secretive, in densely vegetated watersides etc, and the Moorhen itself usually frequents fresh waters with dense fringing vegetation – but here in the artificial environments of the city center, one walks out boldly along the masonry at the river’s edge, more or less used to passersby, and perhaps looking for leftover scraps of their food.

All recently posted bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18  .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.
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BIRDS 127 – BLACK-HEADED GULL

 

 


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Adult Black-headed Gull beside the river in central Bristol, hoping for handouts from passersby.  Its just moulting into breeding plumage, with its dark brown hood (not in fact black at all!) appearing.  This is the smallest of our common gulls – decidedly smaller than the equally common Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls – and often with a more elegant, more tern-like flight.  Its found by water here in the city centre but, a bold and agile scavenger, its quite capable of diving screaming into our back garden when we throw stale bread out onto the back lawn.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window: recommended, if you’re into birds (like all civilised people should be 🙂 … )

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera ASTIA/Soft profile; central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.
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BIRDS 126 – FERAL PIGEON 2 (MONO)

 

 


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Feral Pigeons on a church roof.  It was a dark morning, and so (even at 3200 ISO) to a shutter speed of 1/40 second, which resulted in the blurring of the flying bird’s wings, which I like.

There is another image of these birds, and some more context, here .

Click twice onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Graphite profile; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 3 Jan 2020.
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BIRDS 125 – FERAL PIGEON (MONO)

 

 


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Feral Pigeons on a church roof, under the dark overcast of a wet morning.

Feral (or Town) Pigeons are the descendants of the truly wild Rock Doves that in earlier times were widely kept in dovecotes for food.  They occur in a great variety of plumages, and are widely found in towns and cities.

Click onto the image twice to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 75mm; 6400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Grad ND (EV-1) preset, and adding a moderate Coffee tone; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 3 Jan 2020.
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BIRDS 124 – JACKDAW (MONO)

 


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Walking in the early morning of New Year’s Day in south Bristol, and being suddenly delighted by a storm of black bodies and whirling wings close overhead. They were Jackdaws, small crows, and this large group had recently emerged from a communal roost where they’d spent the long winter night and – garrulous, sociable, busy, noisy – they were off around Bristol’s rooftops in search of the day’s first meal. They landed on the roof of a nearby factory but, active as they were, I knew that they’d soon be aloft again in a noisy, wheeling black cloud.

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LOL!!! >>> and so to one of photography’s great sayings >>> that the best camera for the job is the one you have with you >>> and so, from my pocket, I produced something really totally unsuitable for the job ahead, the only camera I was carrying, the Olympus TOUGH TG-5.

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But the birds were on the move again even quicker than I’d anticipated, and any “photographic technique” on my part was reduced to managing to get the zoom to it longest length (100mm equivalent), pointing the little camera at the whirling flock and firing five quick, single frames.  The camera was set for spot metering, thankfully at 3200 ISO, but on this dark morning that still only gave me 1/30 second at f4.9.

I’m also a great believer in “any picture is better than no picture at all”, and in this case the slow shutter speed blurred the flailing wings to give a real sense of movement – and so to high contrast black and white processing in Lightroom and something of an impressionistic result.
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BIRDS 123 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Herring Gull around refuse and recycling bins in Weston town centre; possibly not too happy with my presence … LOL!  >>> I grew up here, these birds were always around, they were a part of my childhood, and I have to confess to a great fondness for them, quite regardless of any aggression on their part.  If I’d been eating fish and chips, I would have certainly shared them with him – and probably outraged the (more or less mindless and unimaginative, it has to be said) local authorities by doing so.

But, looking at things another way, here is a very successful creature, certainly at home on the coast and inland waters, but also, equally, at home scavenging around human habitation – LOL again!!! >>> unless absolutely desperate (after a nuclear holocaust, perhaps???), I wouldn’t want to eat the rotting refuse he’s eating, whereas he will take both the refuse and my fish and  chips – and me too if I were moribund or actually dead (starting with my eyes, most probably …) ->>> and he’d do so with great alacrity!

Quite simply, he is very good at what he does.  Most of society – sitting in front of TV’s and becoming increasingly estranged from the natural world – no doubt find him abhorrent, but I admire his expertise – years ago, I read that if function is beauty, then the Spotted Hyaena (a truly voracious predator and hardly the world’s most aesthetic organism, even I will admit) >>> well I read that if function is beauty, then the hyaena is beautiful, and some similar sentiment also applies here.  I know, I’m a Silly Old Romantic, I know …. but gull and chips might actually be quite tasty … with a little salt and tomato sauce …. of course …..

And, as I’ve said before on this blog, in a parallel universe, if I were eating my tasty gull and chips beside the sea, maybe a fish would jump up out of the water and steal it …..

All recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera conversion of raw file using the Graphite profile and cropping; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 22 Nov 2019.
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BIRDS 122 – PIED WAGTAIL

 

 


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The Pied Wagtail, a member of the pipit family, common along freshwater margins and in towns, car parks etc.. The name derives from the habitual wagging of the long tail.
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All recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 .

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window; clicking onto the larger image a second time further enlarges it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 800 ISO; upper image: Lightroom, starting at the Camera Standard v2 profile; lower image: in-camera processing of a raw file, including cropping and use of the Vivid profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.

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BIRDS 121 – MUTE SWAN 7 (MONO)

 

 


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I have been posting images of a family of swans swimming quietly away on Cripps River (see links to earlier images below).  Here, the three young swans swim off slowly up river.  The nearest one’s head is seen in profile as (s)he keeps me cautiously in view.  The other two are looking to either side.

Albeit its my picture and I’m inevitably biased, I have to say that I find calm and beauty here.  So many things in this world are otherwise, but here, on an insignificant backwater in Somerset, three young birds – momentarily (in the UK sense) and quite unconsciously – have formed themselves into a tableau which to me is visually and emotionally attractive.  As is usual, really, the Natural World is always worth looking at, never boring.

Earlier pictures of this meeting with swans are here: 1 2 .

All recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge itrecommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of the raw file, including use of the Graphite profile and cropping; no further processing; Cripps River, at Eastern Moor Bridge, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 120 – COOT AND BLACK-HEADED GULL

 

 


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One for you birders – hello Lynn!!! – adult Black-headed Gull in winter plumage, flying over a Coot, on the freshwater of a local reservoir.

Fieldmarks for the gull: red legs; red, black-tipped bill; the black mark behind the eye; the white blaze on the leading edge of the wing.

And the Coot: actually the Eurasian Coot; prominent white shield on the forehead, and bill white too – and never any red nodules (that’s what the fieldguide calls them!) above the white forehead shield.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to open a (rather grainy!) even larger version.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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