Friday, 27 March 2009

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Lathkill Dale

DIPPERS are synonymous with Lathkill Dale, four pairs occupy a two mile stretch of the dale
which is busy with walkers. They are more approachable here than anywhere else I know, I think they have become accustom to humans as they are in constant proximity.
English Nature, the custodian's of the dale, frown upon photographers with long lenses as they reckon, wrongly in my view, that they cause disturbance to nesting Dippers. Yet they ignore families picnicking and playing football, with dogs in tow bounding into the river at close quarters to nest sites.
I think the above image proves my point. This Dipper regularly used this driftwood to perch on. While it was away hunting for food, I hastily set up by the side of the river using the undergrowth as cover. I set the camera up with the hope of getting some of the fast flowing water into the frame then waited for it to return.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A wedding photographer gets in the way!!!!

On a recent visit to snap some Barn Owls, I made my way to a location that I know. As I was about to secrete my self into the cover of the bushes, I was scared half witless by a camouflaged person already in my chosen spot. It was Andy Bate the renowned wedding photographer, who, had canceled all his appointments that day as the sun was shinning (buyer beware) in the hope of emulating me, and getting some wildlife images. Now I told him "I don't do weddings" so why should he cramp my style in my chosen profession. However, he is younger, bigger, and fitter than me, and very persuasive - he suggested that I leave. So I went round the corner and got these lovely pics. I think he got some airy fairy distant shots - he should stick to weddings.
The first comment has been removed only temporary, in other words it's still embedded both for police records and a copy has been sent to English Nature, I will explain my actions at a later date.

Monday, 16 March 2009

My first Wheatear of the year

Went along to the coast at Knot End for the high tide to investigate the wader situation, in the event apart from a few Oystercatchers and Redshank it was a poor show, but on the way there I got some close views of a hunting Kestrel. Then I made my way down to Fluke Hall and from the car park could see a huge flock of Knot appearing like a black cloud in the blue virgin sky back in the direction of Fleetwood, bugger!

As I made my way back down Fluke Hall lane I noticed a lot of common species of tits feeding at the edge of a small wood, it appeared to be some sort of a feeding station, this held my attention for twenty minutes or so. I set off once more and had no sooner got going when the huge flock of Knot swarmed by the sea wall, quickly I pulled in by a gate and jumped out with my camera, but alas the action was all over, two buggers and one bloody hell! - or so I thought.

From behind the hedge I noticed two birds feeding on the furrowed ground, at first I thought that they were Chaffinch, but no, low and behold I was looking down at two male Wheatear, yes Wheatear on the 16th, I normally have to wait until I make my annual visit to Northumberland in April. I rattled a few shots off before they hopped off to far away to snap anymore. Two ladies both birdwatchers stopped to see what I was looking at, they were both delighted to get their bins on them, they told me it was their first sighting of Wheatears ever. If I hadn't have stopped neither would they and they would still be looking for their first sightings, what a wonderful chain of events.

On the way in I had bumped into my good friend Ian Latham who's companion for the day was Andy Bate, a guy I had been wanting to meet for a long time, so I went back to join them, I found Andy to be most amenable and we got on like a house on fire. I have since had one more photographic session with Andy and look forward to many more in the future.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

New Brighton

As it is hard to gauge from locals, I made New Brighton my destination to see what it was like on a high tide. Even an early start was too late to see any retreating waders as the water was already crashing against the sea wall. I was hoping to get Purple Sandpipers at Wallasey Lifeguard Station, a good place for all budding photographers, but to late was the cry, but not to worry there's always tomorrow. However, all was not lost as anything that could fly had taken refuge on the pontoon at the Marina, including the Purple Sands.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

No luck with the Buzzard


Another trip to photograph the Buzzard proved fruitless, but while I was waiting this female Great Spotted Woodpecker paid me a call, and a beautiful Pheasant strolled by.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Sad news from the moss lands of North Lancashire

Evening Roost

Short-Eared Owl

I had a great time photographing this Short-Eared Owl one of three flying in the late afternoon, along with my mate Ian Latham, but the day was tempered by the sad news of the deaths of two Barn Owls that have been shot in this locality. I believe the Owls are now in the custody of the Police. It is no coincidence that two Barn Owls that were seen regularly at a certain site haven't been seen for around two weeks.

The two Barn Owls now feared dead shot with an air pistol.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Moore Nature Reserve

I went along to Moore Nature Reserve to see if I could capture a reported Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, although it was about it decided that it didn't want its picture taking. Well that's fair enough I suppose, but I wasn't going to go home empty handed. As the evening approached the visitors and dog walkers went home for their teas, and I was left quite alone. This Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed, its muffled echo surrounding me in the still silence, the bark of the trees glowed with the setting sun, I was glad to be alone and at one with nature.

Friday, 6 March 2009

In Deepest England

Common Buzzard

Feeding on the carcass of a Squirrel

Common Buzzard
It had a couple of mice as well

Great Tit
Met up with my mate Steve for a shoot on a private estate. The guy who owns it is into photography and has set up a number of hides to shoot the local wildlife. Steve gets invited as a he is a friend and I tag along as excess baggage. We could hear Buzzards calling, and although it was a long shot decided to sit it out in the hope that one would land, as you can see our luck was in. My only disappointment was, I was using a little used zoom lens and it was set at only half the focal length of its maximum. I have therefore had to crop into the images that could and should have been full frame. I don't suffer fools lightly especially when the idiot is myself - the air was a little blue.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Pennington Flash

Male Goosander with Female behind
Male Bullfinch

Alder Catkins.

OK, so I will start again. I tried to put some additions to this post and finished up deleting it by mistake.

Last week I went to Pennington Flash on a couple of occasions, once with a virtual friend Jon Evans from Suffolk. I say virtual friend as we had met if you can call it that by commenting on one another's images on Birdguides. He was up here on business, and we managed to squeeze in a few hours of photography. Bullfinch and Goosander was on the menu. Pennington isn't my favorite place as the light isn't particularly good although there is an abundance of Bullfinch. From one of the hides the Alder Catkins were showing in lovely evening light and we had also seen a Bullfinch flitting around, so I thought it deserved another hour of my time.