Dave Williams

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Everything posted by Dave Williams

  1. 192) Common Moorhen Not the best shot as it took me by surprise and the shutter speed is too low but you don't see them flying that often.Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  2. Here we go again, some tips for new comers from someone starting for only the second time. If you have spreadsheets keep a list as it will help avoid duplications and re checks. Also helps identify some of the missing species you can target. ( And I swore I wasn't a "lister"....until now!) Although my natural competitiveness comes out this isn't about bettering other peoples scores, it's about bettering your own not only in numbers but photo quality too. It's also a great incentive to discover what you are photographing.. you have to check the guide books.... so you are learning along the way. Looking at other members B.Y.'s helps you learn identities too. I tend to use Flickr to upload my phots from as it 1) It allows everyone to see the full exif details about your camera gear and settings without me having to repeat them 2 ) Gives me emergency storage cover should for any reason I loose the originals. You can of course just upload them straight on to ST. It's also nice to have some background info too, such as how common the species is, where it was taken etc. Fascinating to see what people see in their own back gardens/yards depending on where they live. Hope we have quite a few joining in the fun... and it is all light hearted banter although it's a serious business collecting the images. Anyway.... on with my own BY 2018.
  3. 191) Greater Scaup. A long way off but I don't think I'll get closer before he's off. Greater Scaup Aythya marila by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  4. 190) Common Pochard Common Pochard Aythya ferina by Dave Williams, on Flickr Common Pochard Aythya ferina by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  5. 189) Eurasian Teal Common Teal Anas crecca by Dave Williams, on Flickr and the female Common Teal Anas crecca by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  6. 188) Eurasian Oystercatcher Lovely day again here in North Wales! Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus by Dave Williams, on Flickr Although this one was from a month or so ago Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  7. Excellent stuff, I have lost count how many species you saw that I didn't but it's a fair number now.
  8. Off like a train! Are you doing a report ?
  9. Nice work getting to the 200 mark! As for counting countries, doesn't matter if you do or not really. I'm keeping a spreadsheet which tells me what I have posted but if I have seen it in two places it doesn't get posted again.
  10. Yellow bill suggests Twite to me.
  11. Two different Treecreepers in one post..... now that is something special!
  12. @Ratdcoops You are too kind with your flattery! There is no doubt that the equipment does play a part in achieving a good image but the best photographers could achieve better than me with the simplest of equipment. If there is anything we can do to help you now you have taken the first steps to addiction do let us know!
  13. I will put a copy of my blog here on Safaritalk to help anyone who is thinking of visiting who might otherwise not see it. It's a copy of the script of my blog but it has different photographs in some parts but the same subjects so feel free to look at both! I would point out the The Gambia's wildlife is primarily birds, the only larger mammals are a few Hippos which are found inland, a few deer, 3 species of Monkey and other smaller creatures. The bigger mammals like Rhino,Giraffe,Zebra have been re-introduced in a wild life park in neighbouring Senegal but it's the birds that most people visit both countries for. It's a haven for over wintering northern species as well as the resident ones.
  14. @lmSA84 A long weekend wouldn't do it justice!!!! I guess I should have mentioned, the package holiday was pretty cheap so we only got 15kg of hold luggage and 6kg of cabin. You don't need many clothes and I have to admit I "cheated" on the cabin by stuffing pockets etc. In the end I took my 500mm , 100-400, 1DX2 and 5D3 plus a tripod in the hold. However I hardly used the tripod as the 500mm is fairly lightweight and it's much easier to react to photo opportunities if you aren't lugging a tripod around.Sometimes the photos suffered from the lack of a steady base, when you looked at the results feet were cut off , wing tips missing etc etc but if you take a few one will be OK! ( Hopefully!)
  15. Belters of the Western Bluebill, and the Turaco too. Are you sure the Tawny Eagle was Brufut? I don't recall seeing that terrain!
  16. Over the years I have been visiting The Gambia, the pool situated behind the Badala Park hotel has gone from a great birding spot to one that was virtually in accessible and now, back to brilliant! The main attraction to me is that it's one of two spots in the locality that's excellent for Greater Painted Snipe which is a real favourite of mine. Painted Snipe are a rather cautious bird so getting good views isn't easy but on my very first visit I managed to spot one. A female who had just had a bath. Greater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr She didn't notice me at first and I was able to get closer Greater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr but she must have heard the camera shutter and decided to move! Greater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr Still it was a great start! A large part of the pool is filled with reeds and that's where many of the birds, including the Snipe often hide out. Hundreds of Cattle Egrets choose it as their overnight roost too but on one visit I also spotted a Purple Heron in there, the only one I saw in TG this year too. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea by Dave Williams, on Flickr There was plenty of open water though and along the muddy margins there were several species of waders including the elegant Black-winged Stilt. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus by Dave Williams, on Flickr There was a pair that stayed for the duration I was there. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus by Dave Williams, on Flickr A couple of Wood Sandpipers and a Greenshank appeared to be more or less permanent residents too and both species allowed really close approach despite me sitting out in the open. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia by Dave Williams, on Flickr You never seem to get this close in the UK, certainly not when in open view anyway. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia by Dave Williams, on Flickr Fishing further out in the pond was a Little Grebe which didn't get quite as close but presumably because the water was too shallow. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis by Dave Williams, on Flickr but you could still get those low level shots that are not possible from many of the places I visit at home. My favourite shots though, well beside the Snipe, were of a pair of Speckled Pigeons that dropped in for a drink. Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea by Dave Williams, on Flickr Not often you get an opportunity like this one! Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea by Dave Williams, on Flickr Another species I was delighted to get close to was Marsh Sandpiper Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis by Dave Williams, on Flickr A rather elegant fine billed bird and one I hadn't been able to photograph as well as I would have liked to in the past. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis by Dave Williams, on Flickr This one just ignored me! Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis by Dave Williams, on Flickr A Great Egret dropped by on one visit. Great Egret Ardea alba by Dave Williams, on Flickr The setting sun giving me a problem with exposing the whites but the reflections on the pool were lovely. It was the Snipe that kept dragging me back though, I was determined I could do better. On several visits I failed to locate them but the one day I got lucky, well sort of! Greater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr I had sneaked up on the feeding bird noticed when suddenly a Cattle Egret flew in so low the bird panicked and flew off! Greater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr Curses! I stood up and walked back to the open end of the pool and casually walked out to my favoured spot to photograph the waders. Stupid me hadn't noticed there she was, sat on the edge of the water, right out in the open. Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr With a quick shake she was off again. Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr Ah well, can't win 'em all!
  17. I have lost count of the times I have been to The Gambia but for wife Claire and I it ticks all the boxes. Not too far to travel from the UK, low cost packages are available, winter sun and fabulous birding. When we returned from our very expensive but ultimately disappointing trip to the Far East I immediately checked out the internet to see what was available and found a 2 week package tour with Thomas Cook and staying at our new favourite hotel, The Bakutu, for less than £1200 B&B for the two of us, I grabbed it. Why suffer the miserable British winter if you don't have to? With one eye on our total budget I set off with little intention of taking a guided trip, I might take a taxi somewhere I knew if I got bored with the local birding, but I wasn't prepared to pay large amounts to see places I have already been to. Having stayed in the Kotu area of The Gambia I know exactly where to go and what to expect,,,, or do I ?! Dependant on what time of year you visit you will find a different scene. By January the rice crops in the local fields have been gathered and the paddy fields have dried out. One or two might still be holding some water, and as it gets hotter, water is harder to find and as such these pools can be magnets for some species.I was delighted to find one such pool very close to Kotu Bridge which on my first morning gave me excellent views of African Spoonbill African Spoonbill Platalea alba by Dave Williams, on Flickr and during the course of the week several other species too! Cattle Egret Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis by Dave Williams, on Flickr Wood Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola by Dave Williams, on Flickr Squacco Heron Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides by Dave Williams, on Flickr Little Egret Little Egret Egretta garzetta by Dave Williams, on Flickr Intermediate Egret. Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia by Dave Williams, on Flickr Some were regulars but others such as the Spoonbill and this Striated Heron were one off opportunities. Striated Heron Butorides striata by Dave Williams, on Flickr When you are staying locally it can get a bit monotonous walking the same paths every day, in fact the same paths you have walked many times before this trip, but you never know what might turn up and sometimes you get lucky. To find a pool like this, so close to our hotel, where you can get up close and personal with your subject is why I keep on going back. Great White Egret. Great Egret Ardea alba by Dave Williams, on Flickr This isn't the only pool though, slightly further to walk but just as productive is the Badala pool. TBC
  18. That Spinebill is a stunner! Always nice to capture new birds too but it's funny how today's "lifer" soon can become tomorrow's "also ran" which get's little attention.
  19. Must admit I think the European Bee-eater is my favourite. There's a tortoise and a hare within sight now too!
  20. Not happy being left behind eh I wonder how many more aces up your sleeve! Envious of Marsh Tit too.
  21. Thanks @PeterHG. It's a bit of a daunting task processing a whole trip in one go, much easier to do a few at a time! I'm looking forward to seeing your shots though, both to compare what you saw with our trip a year ago and to whet my appetite for a repeat visit in July.
  22. Cracking Shikra images, love the RC Roller in flight too.
  23. 187) Eurasian Magpie 4 new species would have to do, I was back home in the warmth with the hour of leaving! Eurasian Magpie Pica pica by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  24. 186) Greenfinch Before I knew it it was dull and very miserable, especially as there was a ground frost. Didn't stop the birds singing though! greenfinch Chloris chloris by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  25. 185) Common Coot and the sun stayed out but only for a few minutes. Common Coot Fulica atra by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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