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

25 comments:

  1. The expression 'free as a bird' comes to mind looking at these pictures.

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    1. I could watch them all day, I find them mesmerising....almost like a meditation.

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  2. Beautiful bird photos, especially the fulmars. They are such compact birds somehow.The background colours on the last fulmar photo are stunning.

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    1. Thank you, they are quite stocky compared to the herring gulls, but it took a while and someone to show me the difference. They have a number of nest sites along the coastal path, so I will go back to photograph the chicks.

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  3. I am amazed that there are so many sorts of gulls and that you can identify the different ones and then take such great photos of them! Thank you for sharing these. xx

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    1. Thanks Amy, at first I could not tell one from the other but now it's much easier. I don't know how their chicks survive on the cliffs.

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  4. Please tell me about your speed settings!

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    1. Hi Em. With the Nikon camera and lens I use a shutter speed of 1/500th second and the camera set to S for shutter priority. I have been working with the Panasonic Lumix to get the same settings but the results have not been great. It's a different camera and for me it is not fast enough in its ability to focus or take the images quickly enough. I'm going to stick with the Nikon for flying birds.

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  5. Wonderful to see the flight photos and fulmars in particular :) The Nature's Eye photo is great - we've been watching the second Hobbit film tonight on dvd and it reminded me of Smaug waking up!!!! It was very interesting to read about the new lifeboat too :) Glad you've got your internet fixed :) and please don't worry about leaving comments. When I've been away from the internet for any length of time I find it almost impossible to catch up on blogs let alone leave comments!!

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    1. Many thanks. Yes internet and phone all repaired and fully functioning now. The new lifeboats are fantastic and it must be great for the crew to feel relatively safe in such a vessel. I'm quite smitten with the fulmars and can't wait for chick time.

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  6. Gorgeous pictures
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

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    1. Thank you Julie, I do enjoy going out to photograph them.

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  7. The light in that first pic is lovely. When you work out the Lumix settings let me know as I have the same camera!! Very glad you didn't fall off the cliffs.... :-)

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    1. Thanks CT, it's very easy to stumble when trying to catch a moving object!
      Not working out too well with the Lumix on manual speed settings, it just doesn't seem fast enough. However I'm going to give the scene mode a go on sports setting and see what results I get, so will let you and Em know.

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  8. Wonderrful pictures of the seabirds in flight. I too have a Lumix so would be interested with which settings you use. The midnight walk on Dartmoor sounds a great idea, I hope they have good weather for it. Tom's images are great I particularly loved the ones of Lympstone. Sarah x

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    1. Hi Sarah, many thanks for your comments, I'd like to get better at this so just have to keep going. Not getting great results with the Lumix yet...see reply above. I'll let you all know via a post how it works out.

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  9. Lovely photos of the sea birds, especially the fulmar - one of my favourite sea birds. All the birds look wonderful in flight over the blue sea and coastline.
    That is a wonderful story about the donkey.

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    1. Thank you Wendy, apart from falling, the other problem with birds in flight is not tracking them into the sun, you have to be so mindful of where to stop. We are seeing lots of guillemots now and counting the breeding pairs at Berry Head has started again.
      I really wished I'd been following Chico on his travels as they were doing it!

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  10. Great pictures of all the birds and wonderful scenery. The donkey walk sounded fantastic. I also look forward to many hikes over Dartmoor one day. I miss the moors.

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    1. Hi Denise, I'm sure you do miss it, even though you have such a great environment and do lots of lovely things.

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  11. Your photos are sensational and the colours are so uplifting.

    Jean x

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    1. Hello and thank you very much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I love how the birds are so well contrasted against blue and love to sit and watch them soaring.

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  12. Fulmars look wonderful! I like a post which teaches me something new. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Sarah, the fulmars are very feisty birds too and when really rattled they spit a sticky oil from their stomach at any attackers, so this keeps other birds away and humans too I should think.

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    2. Fantastic photo's.Thanks for sharing them. I can't tell the difference between one gull and another but the coastal scenery and contrast of colour is stunning.

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