Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture

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At the Feeder.. 29-4-2016

“Chez Walter” feeding station is now attracting the smaller garden birds along with Magpie (Pica pica),   Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus).  The ravages of winter have been repaired, though some work remains.  Broken feeders replaced, water features repaired and new gnomes adopted.  The larger birds soon came back as did the Starlings. However the smaller garden/woodland birds had not been seen since September last year.  Today 29th April “Chez Walter” had 7 specie of birds to the feeders.  First (as usual|) was the;

20160418-_DSC8517-EditWoodpigeon (Columba palumbus) in the rain



Two special birds returned: one small garden bird the smallest Tit in UK :


One of my firm favourites the Coal Tit (Parus ater).  The little bird flits in and out very quickly, pausing for s second or two to check out the area for danger.  Makes a quick flt to the feeder – usually for the Sunflower Seeds, gets one and flits out again.  Rarely does it pause to eat the seed in my smallish trees – it heads fro higher and safer spots.  A welcome return wsa also extended to a larger woodland bird the Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto). 20160429-_MG_8030-Edit

Whilst the little Coal Tit is mostly Grey and black with white patches, the Collared Dove is almost all grey with a pinkish-buff Collar-band round the neck.  Perhaps a bit bland for most tastes however in sunshine the birds feathers take on a lustre and the ruby eyes  light up and sparkle.



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Return of the Dunnock

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) in the rain

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) in the rain

Nine days ago his lordship “Blackbird (turdus mecula) cast his eyes over the refurbished “Chez Walter” feeding stations and declared them open for business.  Whilst two Magpies (Pica pica) and a couple of Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus) have dined at “Chez Walter” no small birds had made an appearance or booking.   This changed today with the visit of not one but two  little Dunnoocks (Prunella modularis), a small drab brown bird with a lot of hop and swagger.   The Dunnock may have a drab colour scheme to some to me it is perfectly attired for its environment.  A ground feeder it likes to hide in vegetation.  A perky little bird and may be confused with wren or sparrow at first glance.


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Inspection Day….

Today my partner (Susan) and I finished off the restoration of our garden after the ravishes set on it by the storms of Winter 2015/16.  The almost constant storms brought down 8 Garden Panel fences, destroyed a fair few feeders and damaged two water features.  Remedial work had to wait for dry days which we got this week.  During the hiatus the famed “Chez Walter” bird feeding station was abandoned by its once colourful clientèle.  Over the past 4 days we have been visited by a Magpie (Pica pica), Robin (Erithacus rebecla) and Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus).  Yesterday some Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) paid a raid visit to grab meal worms.  However they were seen off by the Magpie.  Today, whilst we were doing the clean up (washing the slabs) we were made aware in no uncertain terms of the displeasure of a male Balckbird.  I think he was upset that his bathing area was not yet in operation, nor had we left out his usual fare. He paid a revisit about 5 pm and carried out a full inspection of the refurbished garden.  I think we passed his rather thorough check up, we will soon find out tomorrow if he uses the water feature as his shower/bath.

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris).  Canon 50D, Sigma 150-500 zoom


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Red Kite (Milvus milvus) – Argaty Red Kites

Excerpt from   Scottish Raptor Study Group web site “Between 1989 and 2009 a joint RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage project was undertaken to reintroduce red kites to Scotland, with the ambition of restoring the bird eventually to all of its former range in the country.”  The nearest Red Kite re-introduction site to my home (Livingston) is at Argaty Red Kites, Lerrocks Farm, Doune.  Excerpt from web site “The farm lies on the Braes of Doune in the area of Central Scotland where the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage have reintroduced the red kite. It is with their help that we are providing a facility for enjoying the birds in comfort but without the risk of disturbing what is still a fragile population.”  It is approximately 1 hour drive.  It was here in 2007 I first saw these magnificent scavenging birds.  Since then I have made regular visits to Argaty.  This image was taken on 25th March 2012 with Canon 60D and Sigman 150-500 zoom.


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Coal Tit (Parus ater) First Visit -2012

Prior to the winter of 2015/2016 our garden looked nice and attractive to small garden birds as well as larger ones.  It was in 2012 the our wee garden began to attract the tits, finches etc.  In fact it was in that year we got our very first visit from a Coal Tit (Parus ater).  This little bird flits around and is hard to get a good shot, it was as a result of this picture I decided to keep a camera next to my computer in the living room.  Picture taken with Canon 500D, Sigma 150-500 Zoom on 18th October 2012



Birds of a Feather….

I make no bones about it I can sit for hours watching common garden birds at a feeder.  I have been known to sit and just watch the Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinch flying into and out of the various feeders without taking a picture.  Mind you that  could not be said at a recent visit to Bellymack Hill Farm – AKA – Red Kite Feeding Station on Sunday 10th April.  I took over 570 images that day.  I was using a Nikon D7100 and a Sigma 150-500 Zoom:


Think I’ll have to go again as I’m still not that happy getting birds in flight that and the fact that the flying display by these birds is mesmerising to say the least.  20160410-_DSC4523However I do have a pc set up near my living room window  and keep a camera near to had to capture the garden birds that visit my feeders or in the case of the Starlings – raid my ground feeders of meal worms.  Today I managed to get a shot of a starling showing the hidden colours of the bird.  Some people that the starling is a dull black. I did an extra processing step to bring out the details a bit better, picture on left was teh normal edit the picture on right the enhanced edit:




Returning to the Fold

Life has a habit of continuous surprise and it sprang a beauty on me and my partner in October 2015 .  The surprise was of such magnitude that I ceased to blog, take photographs and resorted to playing a  trivial game on Facebook.  I recognised the syndrome as I went through it caring for my late mother during her battle with cancer in 2010.   My partner has written about her adventure from diagnose to final chemo sessions, these can be found at her blog Feeding the Soul.  Susan had her belated last chemo session three weeks ago and I am very pleased to say that she is doing well.   It was not just the cancer that put an enforced stop to our activities the additional element and I mean element was water in the form of rain.  We had almost non stop rain between November 2015 and March 2016.  In fact yesterday in Livingston we had heavy sleet turning to snow and a drop in temp to  0c.

In order to counteract the onset of any depression I spent time organising my images and re-editing some of my earlier shots using Adobe Lightroom 5.7 and Google Nik plug in software for Photoshop/Lightroom.    One such image was taken in February 2012 that of a Peregrine Falcon at a photoshoot.  Picture on left  was my  original edit of the shot;  picture on right my latest edit using Adobe Lightroom 5.7 and Google Nik software.


Whilst I like both edits I must admit my preferences is for the newer edited image.

I can be found on Flickr, and Facebook.