It's been a long time since my last diary episode. How you have seen, I've started a new section of astrophotography, so I have to follow different things, including reviews that I hope to write more frequently, both as nature photography and as astronomical photography.
In this episode I went in my usual photographic blind, or, how I like to say, the buzzard's blind :) As always there's something to learn about the buzzards. One of them is always more confident, this time as well, even though for their nature, in general they stay always very careful, looking in every direction in order to check that anybody isn't coming. In the area where they live, there aren't many competitors for the food, so they're quite free to choose their prey without worrying about the other bird of prey, like the common kestrel or the marsh-harrier. The grey crows, that sometimes annoyed the buzzard at the beginning, now stay really quiet, sign that they have accepted the dominance of the buzzards in the territory.
In this picture, there's one of them walking near at their perch:
Another feathered friend is the jay, always very noisy. This time I've been really lucky because a jay has arrived really near to me that I can take a portrait picture of it:
It was so close to me, that it was visible the reflection of the tree in its eye. It stayed in the perch for a while, then it's flown away.
In the same area of the buzzards there's another raptor, the Peregrin falcon. But every year they go away, sometimes really soon. Last year I think that they didn't make the nest, because I didn't see any young falcon. So I thought that they haven't made the nest this year as well. But I was wrong, in fact looking on the rock with the binoculars, I've seen one of them, and it's been really exciting. I was really happy to see it again, and I'm looking forward to seeing the next time.
Since I was a child, I've always been really fond of astronomy. I still remember my first telescope, a small refractor with a tiny tripod, but that it had given me a lot of satisfaction. During the time I've always spent some time to observe the sky and the stars, looking for some galaxy, like M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, or M42, the Orion Nebula, but I've never taken any pictures because I didn't have a camera. Then my telescope (the second one was a classical Newton 114/1000) wasn't so good, both as optical quality as mechanical. But some years ago my wife gave me a new telescope, a Meade LXD75 with an 8" Schmidt-Newton and a computer for the mount. And everything changes because I can see more celestial objects and in an easier way using the computer. But when I try to take some pictures, so it borns the problems. The mount wasn't so good as I thought and without other accessories, like a guide-scope or a guide-camera, it was really hard to take a decent picture, so I had to give up.
This year instead there's something different, but I don't still want to tell anything, so you'd had to wait for a while, but stay tuned with me, there will be some good news.
The life of a buzzard is not easy, like most birds of prey, of course. As you know, they have to hunt every day to feed, but they are not always able to catch prey. Emblematic are the attempts of the osprey that is literally thrown into the water, an element certainly not akin to flying, to catch some fish until it succeeds, and then for the poor fish it is certainly not a beautiful situation, having devoured alive, but this is part of the game.
About the buzzards, until now I've never seen one of them hunt anything, also because remaining hidden in the photographic blind it's difficult to understand where they go hunting. Sometimes I try to follow them, perhaps remaining under some trees, but, as you can imagine, they always see me, immediately running away. The funny thing is that I know how it ends, but I always try. You know, hope is the last to die.
However, the hunting area of these birds of prey is quite large, because there are some hills where to hunt. From what I have seen, they do not move much from the nest area and tend to remain nearby, although the young is certainly autonomous. I noticed, however, that when they find something to eat, there are no big quarrels, especially if the young is the first to find the food, otherwise, if he is an adult to find it, I have seen that the young chases them complaining profusely. In general, there are mice, lizards and small snakes in summer, while in winter the choice is reduced to mice, worms and some large insects, even if sometimes they eat some dead animal, or parts of it, found somewhere. There are also rabbits, or at least there were until some time ago, but since this is also a hunting area it is easy to understand the reason for this lack. In addition, the hunting area of the buzzards is located near a small town and in a widely cultivated area, so there are always human activities that can create problems for the birds of prey, especially on the hunting days of ... humans.
Yes the hunt, a "sport" still present, despite the damage it causes every year. Every time I talk to a hunter they tell me that they respect nature, that they love animals, blah blah blah ... and that hunting is a passion for them, like photography for me !!! Yeah, too bad I don't kill any animals to take a picture.
Already life is hard for everyone, but the man certainly makes it more difficult for animals, and if we don't understand that killing animals, and destroying the environment in which we live as we are doing, we are doing ourselves harm, then we deserve to eat plastic. How can you not understand that when you throw something into the environment, sooner or later it comes back to you?
I stop here because the subject really annoys me, but it wouldn't be bad if we started to do something, even small, but something, like for example, to not throw cigarette butts around. But what does it take to put them out in a small container and then throw them home?
Oh well, I am attaching some recent photos of "my" buzzards. I hope you enjoy them.
I know, they're always the same pictures of the osprey, but I can't resist admiring this wonderful raptor! Every time it's fantastic to see it, like this one.
In Sardinia seeing the osprey is really easy because there's an area in Sardinia centre where they pass the winter, every year. I knew that they come later that now (it's October 2019 now that I'm writing), but the first week of October they have just arrived. For the moment I've seen only two of them, but they should be more, in general four or five, but some years ago they were also seven, so I don't know how many specimens there are now. Probably the others have to come again.
In the last trip I went to visit Ireland. I had very few days, but they were enough to understand how is beautiful that land. In only five days I've seen Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast, so for every city, I've seen only something: a church, or a castle, or some street. The architectural style is really similar to other north European countries, like Uk and Norway, so with the roof of the houses really sloping. In Ireland houses, like UK, are really particular and very different from Italy, but we know, every country has its own characteristics. This trip was meant to be a photographic trip too, but for some reason, I've taken only fewer photos because the days were too few. Anyway, some pictures were taken, as the Moher's cliff:
A fantastic place where you can breathe pure air and enjoy an amazing sight. Yes, there were a lot of people, and often it was hard to have sight without anyone, but on some occasion, I can take some pictures "alone", as the two ones above.
Another magic place has been the Giant's Causeway, in the north of Ireland. This part of Ireland is really stunning, and if I had been more time, I'd have visited it for at least two, or three days:
In this case too, there were a lot of people, too much to really enjoy that place, but despite the people, despite the bus, despite the near visitors' centre, everywhere was clean and anyone throws away rubbish. To get some pictures without people was impossible, but in only two occasions I could get these two, the second one using a ND filter in order to increase the exposition time and "delete" some person.
During the drive from Dublin to Cork, I've met the Mont Wicklow, a private property where you can only walk. Near the main gate there is a small door, and from that enter the property. Following a long track, it arrives in the rocky part of the mount. Unfortunately, I had really a few time and I had to get back, so I've taken only one picture:
This area is famous for its river, its mountain and beautiful landscape, and the view taken in the photo show how interesting is it, but it'll be for the next time.
In the est coast of Ireland, near Moher's cliff, there is a small lighthouse, the Black head lighthouse. It isn't particularly beautiful, but it's interesting the context where is it: a flat and depth textured rock around the lighthouse. For the photos I've waited for the sunset and then the blue hour:
And with these last two images ends my trip in Ireland.
Ireland for some aspect is a bit similar to Sardinia, but I've noticed that the Irelands are more respectful about the environment. Even if I've stayed only five days, I've never seen rubbish: no paper in roads, no plastic in countrysides, no cars-parts abandoned who knows where, and so on. But in Ireland go many tourists every year, like Sardinia, but in Sardinia we have a lot of rubbish in our countrysides, or in our roads, and very often Sardinian people complain about tourists, saying that they're the guilty of the rubbish. But I live here and I see every day that this problem is a local problem, I mean it's a cultural problem. The Sardinian are the first to throw away the rubbish everywhere, instead to use the proper containers. I don't think that a tourist comes here to abandon a washing-machine somewhere or and old tire on the side of some path. But I see that very often every time a go out to take some pictures of our Nature, nature that we're destroying day after day.
It should the case to stop complaining and to start to work for protecting this world, for protecting animals and plants, and not to burn woods, how often happens.