Posts Tagged ‘birds


When does representation become art?

I recently put together a short course for a couple of people who wanted to know a little more about editing photographs. One participant had requested I show him how to substitute a more interesting sky behind his photographs of birds, particularly those in flight.

Such a substitution is easily completed within Photoshop; but should we do it?

When does the cropped out branch in the corner of the photo become unacceptable? Is unacceptability the embellishment of a feather or of a whole wing? When does a faithful representation of ‘what was’ turn into something that is a representation of ‘what could have been’? To be fair … each to his own; and I really mean that. However, should if we alter a photo make it known or can we just accept that in this digital age the alteration of a photo is something to be expected and the representation has become art? I suspect the answer lies within the use of the photograph.


Kestrel with Substituted Sky


A grey day made great (twice over)

As I was driving home at the weekend a flash of something above and to my right caught my attention. I pulled up to see a bird fly into some distant trees.

I didn’t see it clearly but the contrast of black and white was instantly familiar. It could only have been a Grey Shrike. It took a little while but it eventually reappeared. It was a Great Grey Shrike.

Finding a perch free of the wind it fed on wasps and flies hovering around flowering ivy; one of many Great Grey Shrikes to make landfall on the east coast recently.

Postscript: While I was having my breakfast yesterday a Great Grey Shrike dropped into the Garden here at Falcon Cottage. With an entourage of mobbing Bramblings it didn’t stay long… but just long enough to get itself onto my garden list!


2013 10 13 Great Grey Shrike Sidestrand Norfolk_Z5A4939


June’s Mystery Bird

Well the mystery bird in May caused a few problems with nobody getting to the correct answer; although a few were close. That still leaves Phil and Jan Thorp in the lead with five consecutive answers. It is in fact a second year American Herring Gull. Identification features are subtle and adults cannot be told reliably from Herring Gulls. The clinching feature is the bill which could easily be placed on a 1st winter Glaucous Gull. The article by Pat Lonergan and Killian Mullarney cannot be bettered on identification so I’ll not try. I photographed the individual in Lerwick harbour on Shetland some years ago.

Junes Mystery bird is a hidden teaser of a bird I photographed (badly) earlier this month in Suffolk. As usual e-mail me with your answer.


A splash … or two … of Colour

On these grim spring days a little colour is welcome.

The first came in the form of four Redstarts resting on the hill over the weekend; a single female and three cracking males. Making their way north against atrocious winds and rain during a spell of very rare sunshine one popped out to warm itself in a sheltered spot.

The second came in the form of a clump of Leopardsbane occupying the corner of a very old churchyard; enough to brighten anyone’s day. Quite appropriate really, as it was used in medieval times to treat depression.

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Sep 2022


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