Saturday, January 14, 2012

Newton Farm, Scurlage

There has been a small colony of the rare and declining Tree Sparrows nesting at the ruins of Newton Farm on the Gower Peninsula since at least the 1970s. Feeders and nest boxes have been put out for them by various conservation organisations for the last few years. I went out to see them twice about three years ago, and was planning to head out again last winter, hoping to get some better shots. Sadly, I heard the sparrows seemed to have left the area, and so didn't bother. A couple of recent sightings of a single bird at the feeders prompted me to head out to the village of Scurlage this last Wednesday. I set up my camera and tripod about twenty yards from the feeders to see what turned up. Eventually, amongst the numerous House Sparrows, I spied a single Tree Sparrow. This was the best shot I managed of it, which is not quite sharp, but will have to do for now:

The sun soon appeared, making for quite a nice afternoon. The Tree Sparrow (I assume there was only one as I never saw more than one at a time) visited the feeders occasionally, but frustratingly tended to feed round the back of a feeder, making decent photos impossible. I had to content myself with photographing this male House Sparrow:

And this Great Tit:

As well as this female Chaffinch (male Chaffinches didn't seem to have the intelligence to work out how to land on the feeder!):

Another cock House Sparrow:

At one point, a Sparrowhawk dashed through, although there were no birds on the feeders at the time, so I don't think it caught anything. (I wonder if he's been eating all the Tree Sparrows?!) Besides the birds on the feeders, the only other birds of note I saw were a few flyover Ravens, and a couple of small flocks of chattering Fieldfares.
As I was packing up, the sky began to colour up, so I quickly plonked my big lens on a tripod and zeroed in on this distant tree:

I altered my positioned, so that the tree was positioned against the brightest part of the sunset sky:

I added a 1.7x converter to get in as close as I could. I think the bird perched in the treetop is a Buzzard:

I took one last shot, before trudging across the muddy fields for home:


  1. A grand sunset...I can never see enough low light photography.

  2. These are all FANTASTIC Jeremy..... my compliments.

    greetings, Joop

  3. Wonderful images for the little birdies. are you digiscoping to get this close or are you cropping down?

    Excellent set once again !!

  4. Thanks for your comments.
    Shaun, not digiscoping, but using a 500mm lens with either a 1.4x, 1.7x, or 2x teleconverter. The bird pictures are nearly full frame, with just a slight crop for composition.

  5. Hi hi (in German) Hee hee thanks for your comment!
    Burning sky, impressive (pictures 8 and 9)
    I like your bird pictures.
    In swiss Jura is a swarm of Bramblings (Bergfink oder Nordfink (Fringilla montifringilla)) to see. They're speaking from millions of Bramblings.
    It's a great natural spectacle. I would like to see it.
    Warm regards

  6. Lovely shots of sweet birds! I can almost feel the warmth of their bodies. And, what dramatic sunset skies on fire!

    Thanks for your visit and kind words.