Monday, 16 April 2012


Ok, so quick apology first. In the last installment of my blog, I said my next post would be a duck-tacular, and it quite clearly is not. This post is in-fact about just one particular bird, the Snipe.


Snipe are a fairly regular siting at the London Wetland Centre - though by no means an easy one! They are lovely little waders, with a long beak and fantastic camoflague. You can often see one or two from the WWF and Wader Scrape hides, but it takes a little while to get your eye in and pick them out between the reeds. Consider the picture below practise!

 So why has this humble little bird caused me to shun my ducks? Well, any regular visitors to the Wetland Centre will have experienced what may as well be called the "Snipe Effect." Sitting in a hide, all will be quiet (well, excusing the periodic firing of my camera shutter... sorry to all those silent binocular users out there...), quiet that is until a Snipe potters around a bank and into view. 

"LOOOOOOK! ITS A SNIPE!" is the frenzied whispering that then spreads from watcher to watcher and all will huddle about to get a view.

What the Snipe think of all this, I dont know. They always seem extremely serene, dipping around in the shallows. Whatever is going on out on the lake, coots beating everyone else up, geese honking or seagulls zipping about, the humble little snipe just bumbles around as if nothing in the world could cause him bother. Im sure there is a lesson for London in there somewhere...

 So here is to the Snipe. A beautiful little bird and a real gem to spot to the London Wetland Centre. They are amber listed too, so it is great to see so many seeming to be so at home in our big city!

 Until next time :)

All images © William Bermingham 2012

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bloggers Block

Many things have happened since I last updated my blog. Christmas came and went, my birthday too. The NHS Bill waxed, waned and got crow-barred through parliament, Syria is still blowing itself to bits, and today MPs have finally realised that Heathrow probably isn't up to dealing with the Olympics.

So I think its about time I popped some photos on here to hopefully provide a little distraction from the fraught world we all live in! I have some treats too - with it being so long since my last post, I have a whole bunch of photos to pick from AND they include some from my Christmas-time trip to New Zealand!

So, lets get the ball rolling with some birds from the other side of the world.

*QUACK* ...okok, so an Albatros may not actually quack, but I think in this picture he is at least thinking it! Taken just outside Dunedin Harbor, S.Island, NZ, we were really lucky that out tour boat left the harbour just as a fishing vessel was returning. The result? A whole bunch of Albatros that swooped around us, wondering if we too had discarded fish to feast on. The light was beautiful and the proximity of the birds meant I managed to get some nice portraits of their incredibly expressive features.

Just round the corner from the relative bustling of Dunedin city is the Otago Peninsula. It is FULL of wildlife and well worth a trip. The albatross I captured were taken just off the peninsula, and indeed there is even an albatross colony up on the headland. But these mighty birds are put in there place by the wonder of the New Zealand yellow eyed penguins. A local farmer called Sam took us to see them in a little secluded cove on his land, via an exciting ride in his long wheel base Landy! They are quite simply a delight to watch. Coming ashore to their nests in the evening, the penguins waddle around the pristine sandy beaches. We were lucky enough to see two of the birds arrive together and dance with each other on the foreshore.

These penguins are not only wonderful, but they hold the unfortunate title as one of the most endangered species of penguin in the world. Lets hope the great work by these chaps continues to help their number rise!

INTERMISSION: Here is a Dolphin.

Ok, enough NZ wildlife. I will post some more highlights from my trip in following posts. Lets come back to London and the WWT centre just to round off.

With such a lovely March, I managed to escape my placement for a couple of odd days and get myself to the WWT hides to unwind and get some snaps. As some of my previous bloggings show, I continue to have a love for water in my pictures, and to indulge this, I've recently spent some time focusing on the diving ducks.

Its a tricky business trying to capture them as the breach the surface of the water after a dive, and i certainly haven't even come close to improving my methods, but here are some results so far.

 More to follow I hope! And a couple may feature in *sneaky spoiler alert* my forthcoming post on a collection of duck portraits! (I am determined to be a more consistent blogger again!)

And finally... I hope this blog has provided a little distraction from the trial and tribulations of the world around us. If it encourages some people to see the nature that survives even in the depths of London too, then I feel I have done a good thing! Here is one of my favorite birds of all time. Taken on the path just outside the WWT centre, this long tailed tit was nest building - but quite frankly, I prefer to think that he always sports such a smashing moustache!

All images © William Bermingham