Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 22/02/2012

Goose hawk**

Goshawk, originally uploaded by

A change from the batch of photos taken at London Zoo… again there are plenty more to see but I fancy a change, and as I have more than a few photos for you see.. why not, a change is as good as a rest after all. Speaking of change (like that link – it’s part of my attempt to capture the attentions of the BBC), I read with interest that Flickr are going to be updating their services including changes to the user interface. There have been many complaints put to Flickr regarding the lack of development of the site, especially with new sites popping up with newer looking interfaces, more tools, better social media integration. Flickr do seem to have missed the boat when it comes to services like twitter, where they could have been the primary image repository if their mobile offering had been better. Some blame Yahoo! who bought them in 2005 though I personally know whether this is a fair charge – I uploaded my first photo to the site on 12th September 2008 so know no difference. The changes aren’t all going to come at once, in fact I’ve noticed a few changes in the last year in the way that contact and groups are handled. Personally I’d like an even better method of organising and managing users, to help me promote my photography – either way I’m rather looking forward to seeing what will happen to the service and I’m sure there will be many words penned about the changes.. good or bad.

I’ve also been looking into more review of Canon’s new flagship camera, the 1D X; whilst there has been an increment of 2Mpixels over my 1D4 and an actual reduction in pixel count from the 1Ds III (which has a full frame 21Mpixel sensor), the 18Mpixel Full Frame sensor has been designed with low light situations in mind, producing (hopefully) cleaner images (less noise) at higher ISOs. I’ve seen sample photos taken at 12,800 which are frankly astonishing, and even as high as 102,400 (the current ceiling on my 1D4) the images are possibly usable for the web. If I tried to push my camera that high, the results would certainly not be comparable, looking more akin to the subject being lost in a snow storm.. one made up of coloured snow, mind.

It’s quite an intense stare isn’t it, the Northern Goshawk was and is still persecuted in Britain and in fact there are only around 400 pairs left in the UK. They’re a very shy and secretive bird, because of the persecution, and are not easy to see – in fact I’ve never seen one in the wild though I do know a couple of forests where they reside. This beauty was taken at the International Birds of Prey Centre at Newent and was the bird I made a beeline for the bird as soon as I arrived in the hope of capturing that captivating stare. The Centre has a vast and comprehensive collection but it’s the glaring orange eyes of a native species that was highest on my agenda for the day; It’s the same at the Hawk Conservancy, where I always spend a long time trying to photograph their short-eared owls and red kites. Crazy really when I can go out and see these birds in the wild, unlike Palmnut Vultures (I kid you not) and Stellar’s Sea Eagle (more’s the pity) – though I’m not adverse to a release program of the might Stellar’s Sea Eagle here in the UK. They are a huge bird, I can see the news paper headlines now… Release the Kraken.*

*If we’re taking about mythology – the large bird would be a Roc not a Kraken but that doesn’t have the same ring to it – it sounds more like something from Gladiators or Total Wipeout!

** The name Goshawk derives from the Old English name Goose Hawk, the bird was often used by the lower orders, cooks who would catch ducks, and geese etc for the Lord’s table.



  1. what a marvellous shot

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