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Galana's Fifth - The only way from here is UP!


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Well I am in.

I have thought long and hard as to changing my style, particularly after the last year but decided to stick with the basics.

It is a bit of fun and not a sub group of 'young Photographer of the Year' so quality is not a disqualifier.

"Get the bird, get the shot and stick it on the list."  Photoshop and 'post processing' are not in my dictionary. WISIWYG What I see is what you get. I will also post the first half decent example of the year rather than wait for a better one. non sequitur  So other players now know what to expect from me.

There is a side bet with @mvechton an IOM Score but as I am not planning a trip for a while there is only one running number for the time being. (Unless I score a bird so far out to sea that it counts as English or Scottish.:P)

I don't go for Omens etc., but it is only 3rd January and I have already bagged two birds that eluded me in 2020 despite exhaustive searches.


Neither of these though.


001. Manx Peacocks. Left behind by the Maharajah of Pussygalore. Now established.


and of course our National bird.





002. Red-billed Chough. Seen at the same site two days running.No idea as to what they were eating out of the shingle.

So that's me off the mark.


Oops. Late Edit. Just read @Game Warden's request about details.

Peacocks were at a place called Kimmeragh Dubh. (pond)

Choughs on the shingle at Point of Ayre. (Our John o Groats with Scotland 20 miles north).

As to settings. NikkonP900. Lord knows what f and ex are. I just run it on "bird setting" under SCENE. Speed looks to be 1/500.


Edited by Galana
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Well done starting off the field for 2021 @Galana- let the games begin :D

Edited by shazdwn
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1 hour ago, Galana said:

I will also post the first half decent example of the year

And then you continue by showing some excellent Chough shots! If that is half decent for you, we're in for some surprises. ;) Anyway, off to a good start with two of last year's misses.

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Looking forward to more from IOM!

Lovely Chough

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@Galanawhat a very nice National Bird, I assume shingle means the coastal habitat? here we pay a lot of money for decorative stones like that.

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6 hours ago, elefromoz said:

I assume shingle means the coastal habitat? here we pay a lot of money for decorative stones like that.

I can do mail order whilst the border is closed.

How much would you like?




Cropped part of 'centre right'  to show I was NOT counting the Cormorant I was actually tracking.

Too early to be that desperate.

NB. The 'islands' are not really there. Just higher bits of Galloway coast.


Good to see our Choughs were well received. Really Chuffed.:lol:




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Time for some more or I will get behind. I was holding back until more joined in.

All taken with P900 on 'Bird' setting.



003. Widgeon. Glascoe Dubh. Straight into the morning sun did not help exposure but you were warned.




004. GreyLag Geese. Same place. Same darn sun.



005. Mallard. Kimmeragh Dubh but at least I got the sun behind me.




006. Greater Black-backed Gull. Never mind the sun. I got behind the darn bird.

Point of Ayre (where the shingle shots were)

Now to the first of the elusives of 2020.




007. Goldcrest. Ballakesh Plantation (my patch). There all the time but not seen until 2nd January.


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Great start Fred, love the Choughs. Every now and again somebody reports them here in Austria but never with a photo so those sightings are never accepted by our "authorities." Maybe I´ll find one this year.:)

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Thanks for the good wishes to date which are appreciated and encouraging.

On we go.

First a regular. Better ones possible but they say the first time is the best.


008. Robin. Ballaghennie Farm Gate. A bit backlit but hey, not a problem.

This ends my excursion of 2nd January 2021.


3rd January and I was out again and started with a  Shingle Fest for @elefromoz:)



009/ Carrion Crow. Point of Ayre.  Normally scarce on the island but more seem to be arriving where they hybridise with our native Hoodie.

I am not 100% sure if this chap is a Raven or Crow but having tossed a coin and examined the chicken entrails I have come down on Crow. The Raven can wait.


More shingle to enjoy. Well the same area actually where Scottish rocks get thrown up on our shores making us bigger every year.





010. Golden Plover. Point of Ayre. Hunkered down from the piercing easterly wind.

Birds in flight?



011. A flock of over wintering Pink-footed Geese came in to a local field but I could not get close for a ground shot. Near Bride. (A derivation of St. Bridget.)


And now for the 2nd evasion of 2020 caught by the 3rd day of the New Year.

I would have scored 100 for the Island with this in 2020.:(




012. Northern Lapwing. Green Plover or PeeWit/ Pyewype in country English. (There is even a Pub in Lincolnshire with that name.)


More to follow tomorrow.

Edited by Galana
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you've sped ahead of us! an excellent start with the 2020 elusives. I really like the northern lapwing - they look like such exotic lapwings.


I'll bring along an extra bag, when and if we visit IoM, for those nice looking shingles!

Edited by Kitsafari
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7 hours ago, Kitsafari said:

I'll bring along an extra bag, when and if we visit IoM, for those nice looking shingles!

I'll help you find some really nice ones. The shingle is 'non native' as our bed rock is mainly slate/granite. The north of the island is actually what geologists call a raised beach. After the Ice Age retreated the north of the island was freed of the weight of the ice and rose some 100-150 metres out of the sea.

Since then Manannan, our equiv of Neptune, has added to our coast with stones carried by tidal action from Ireland and Scotland and this is still happening.

This led to an amusing interaction at airline check in when two friends who had been staying with us were found to have some nice stones in their luggage.

Security:- "you cannot take part of our island away."

Our guest. "Och away with ye! W're frae Scotland where the stanes came from and we are takin them back hame"! She won too.:)


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To finish with my captures on 3rd January...



013. Common Buzzard. Ballalaugh Cottage. These birds once only occasional visitors are now established and breeding. This was my first for the year but it won't be the last. Doing wonders for the Rabbit population and the

'Long tails' (as Rattus norvegicus is known here as the R word is never used.)



014. Whooper Swan. We have an annual visiting herd each winter of around 60 birds. Whilst they were quite visible prior to Christmas, work in their favorite fields, has caused them to move and my searches had been fruitless for the past two weeks. Yes, even a huge white bird can be remarkably invisible when it chooses.

However driving home I saw three long white necks rise out of dead ground, braked, and managed to get this shot. Job done. No doubt next time I go out I will have the whole darn herd next to the road in full sun.

That's what Big Year does to you.;)

Finally without a blush...



015. Feral Pigeon. Domesticus. On my neighbours roof as I left my garage.

Once again a  symptom of what this game does to one.

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There was a brief moment, early on Monday morning, when I was ahead of you in BY 2021. I shall cherish that moment as a fleeting one, unlikely to be repeated this year. :P

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3 minutes ago, Soukous said:

unlikely to be repeated this year. 

The way things are changing I would not put money down on betting anything.

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Nice Golden Plovers, I can never get close to them.

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55 minutes ago, Zim Girl said:

Nice Golden Plovers, I can never get close to them.

Very true. They have a definite 'flight circle' and stick to it as one chap found out as we watched him try to get close with his hug lens. He had two dogs loose which can not have helped. They walked to where the birds were, the birds moved off slowly and eventually flew a short distance and settled. Chummy and his darn dogs promptly headed there. Repeat performance.

But I stood still and the birds actually came nearer to me. Chummy not even got to raise his lens.

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And on the fourth day he did venture out once more. But via the shops first so only local.

But.....A tick is a Tick this early in the year.




016. Herring Gull (or Silver Gull to our European readers) Ramsey Harbour.




017. Rook. Mooragh Rugby Pitch. (He was acting Linesman for a Throw in.)




018. Hooded Crow (Western race) Mooragh. Groundsman for the Rugby Pitch. And not doing a very good job by the looks of it.

I may go quiet for a while so am pleased I got off to a reasonable start. Somebody has let the genie out of the bottle and we lockdown hard at Midnight until it's deemed over.

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great shots of the gull!

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Lovely Golden Plovers on the shingles... The Feral Pigeon has made its debut appearance for this year I think.

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What a great start. 18 already! Lockdown for many of us again:(

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Dave Williams

Steady on Fred, you'll be left with nothing to go for at this rate!!

Where was the rest of the Whooper Swan? Christmas dinner?

It's actually a fineable offence to take stones off our local beach which is amazing when you see why!! I'll post some pictures at some stage.

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5 hours ago, Dave Williams said:

Where was the rest of the Whooper Swan?

They were down the nesting burrow so I was lucky to see them.

As to removing stones perhaps your local politicians are worried they may be used to express your satisfaction over how Circuit breakers did so well.


Thanks everyone from the other nice comments. I hope to add more soon.

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Peter Connan

A great start! Hope the lockdown eases soon.

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11 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

A great start! Hope the lockdown eases soon.

Thanks Peter and everyone. Whilst our lockdown continues I will follow Mr Tortoise @Dave Williams lead and adapt my criteria although I hope not to have to change the thread title to "Birds from my window."


But here are two from today to keep the score rolling a bit longer.



019. Oystercatcher. Mooragh beach, Ramsey.

Note it has a ring on it. We have not ringed local nests for 5 years so if it is one of 'ours' it must be 5 years old at least.





020. Black-headed Gull. Mooragh beach, Ramsey. Winterplumage although some are turning now so if I get one shortly I will post it.


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