Monthly Archives: February 2015

Curlew at Melton Riverside

I love curlews – they may be common as muck round these parts but the beautiful plumage, strange down curved bill and haunting bubbling call make them special.

Curlew at Melton Riverside

Curlew at Melton Riverside

The little nature reserve at Melton has a free car park and you can get a view of the riverside mudflats near Wilford Bridge

Riverside

Riverside

 

the board gives some of the history

the board gives some of the history

It’s a pleasant walk along the river into Woodbridge, there is another small level crossing to get into the town. On the other side to Wilford Bridge going north there is a footpath toward Broweswell reedbeds and it’s worth a look at the birds on the riverside there too

Kingfisher in the reedbeds

Kingfisher in the reedbeds

Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve

Trimley Marshes - next to the massive container port of Felixstowe

Trimley Marshes – next to the massive container port of Felixstowe

SWT reserve Trimley Marshes is a long walk from the car park – about 2 miles to the hides. That’s good because it means you can sometimes have the place to yourself 🙂 On a bright winter day like today it is the Suffolk coast at it’s best, despite the surreal juxtaposition of the low rumbling sounds of the container port with the calls of the birds. The noise of the container port fades with distance. The port is behind you when looking at the birds, the sound wasn’t obtrusive from the second hide onwards.

tranquil view oof the reedbeds at Trimley

tranquil view of the reedbeds at Trimley

1502_brents_IMG_2567

Brent Geese arriving

I was treated to some lovely views of winter ducks – teal, wigeon, shelduck, and it was good to see a decent size flock of Lapwing.

recording of teal and wigeon – the wigeon are the whisting sounds and the teal are the regular metallic sounds

Handsome male Stonechat and his mate in front of the hide

Handsome male Stonechat and his mate in front of the hide

Closer to me was a male Stonechat and his mate, while in the hedgerows on the way out a flock of bum-barrels skitted across. Continue reading

Canon EF 100-400 L lens fungus attack

note – this is a Mk 1 version of the Canon EF 100-400 L

A working photographer uses their lenses all the time and probably never runs into this. I was into bird photography for a while, about eight years ago, and had the Canon EF100-400 IS L like every other wannabe bird photographer. In between now and then the field has separated the sheep from the goats – real bird photographers use longer primes, because the birds are always at the long end of any zoom. Or they use astro scopes on manual focus 😉

Lapwings landing

Lapwings landing

Anyway, I take time out from birds and photography, because life gets in the way, and I stow the lenses in a relatively cold room. A couple of years back I figured I’d take some long lens pics, and get greeted by this

Lens fungus. Nasty

Lens fungus. Nasty

which makes me curse. Mainly on the front element, though a starting spot on the inner element, which is part of the IS mech. The inner part is magnified by the biconvex front element. The spotty crap is on the inside of the front element, the fine filigree round the edge on the front of the front element. Continue reading

Raspberry Pi Camera and Motion out of the box – Sparrowcam

The idea is simple enough – a bird feeder camera on the network, using the Pi and associated camera. Using motion detection software I can pick out the birds. Of course I will also get the feeders swinging in the wind 😉

Although this is about running motion I can use videolan instead to stream the video as a netcam and use motion on a second machine. Videolan streaming 1 is nice on the Pi, because it seems the camera can do the h264 in some sort of hardware/accelerated mode in the V4l driver. I can then watch the birds with realtime update rates on my LAN. That’s for another day…

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Spadgers

Up to about mid 2014 it used to be a load of hurt to run Motion and the Raspberry Pi camera because there were no videoforlinux drivers for the camera. That way you don’t get a /dev/video0 for the Pi Camera and needed workarounds for Motion.

Now there is a driver which you’ll already have on a Raspbian install, and it’s easy to use. right out of the box. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. cvlc v4l2:///dev/video0 –v4l2-width 640 –v4l2-height 480 v4l2-chroma h264 –sout  ‘#standard{access=http,mux=ts,dst=0.0.0.0:8082}’

Lackford Lakes ringing with the sound of Teal calls

Tucked away off the A1101 it’s easy to overshoot the turnoff because the bend of the road means the sign isn’t visible till you are nearly on the turn – even knowing that it caught me out. The low winter light was a treat on the leafless trees, painting them this lovely golden colour.

lovely golden light on the reserve

lovely golden light on the reserve

A lot of the water was still ice-bound, with a few channels of open water. All over the sailing club lake there was a marvellous ringing sound of teal. Not worth recording however since it sounded like the RAF were warming up their afterburners at RAF Honington.

The island only seemed to hold about twenty teal but their calls rang out over the water sounding like many more. I had the reserve largely to myself, with only a couple of photographers with hardy camo gear in the morning.

Visitor centre - newly upgraded in January

Visitor centre – newly upgraded in January

Monday seems to be the quietest day – the visitor centre wasn’t open though Suffolk Wildlife Trust did leave access to the toilets which is a kindness 😉 The small birds were staking out territories in the hazel coppice which was alive with the sound of competing great tits, which seem early to me – they haven’t started seriously marking out territory nearer home.

hazel coppice at Lackford Lakes

hazel coppice at Lackford Lakes

Lackford Lakes SWT