Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A Day at Seahouses

We leave the valley for a day out at Seahouses, although the Farne Islands are beckoning, they will have to wait a while as the beach round and up to the golf course has much to offer.
The cacophony of noise by the cliffs next to the golf course comes from a kittiwake colony and is usually caused by one parent relieving another on guard duty at the nest site. Great shots are to be had both from the path above and when the tide is out below also. It always strikes me as odd that out of the thousands of bird-watchers/photographer who visit the Farnes only a handful visit this gem of a place only half a mile away.
Ringed plover, rock pipits forage the rocks while sand martins collect food and vanish in holes in the soft cliff face.
Hunger takes hold of me too, and as Seahouses has the best fish and chips in the world I must join Margaret and devour our treat on a bench overlooking the pretty harbour, but not before photographing fulmar from the golf course as they patrol the edge of the cliff without so much as a wing-beat.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Glorious Return

Margaret and I were joined at the cottage by my mate Steve, who stayed for a few days as he wanted to visit the Farne Islands. Steve had made the long journey that morning, so that day we decided to stay in Coquetdale to see what delights it had to offer.

From the cottage at Barrow Mill the road winds through the valley for twelve miles to Coquet Head following the river along the way.

The outward journey was marred by frequent showers but on our return the weather was much improved and eventually it turned out to be a glorious golden late afternoon.

The featured shots are of a Wheatear and the prize of the day a Snipe sitting on a post. I held my breath as I gently rolled the car into position to get my shot, thankfully the Snipe stayed put and I grabbed half a dozen images before it took off and as it flew behind the car it made a wonderful display flight, climbing high before descending sharply, then vanishing in the bracken.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

A Flying Start

Back from Northumberland after a two week break, so lots of images to sort through, but to get things underway I have plucked this image of a Willow Warbler off the files. It was taken at the beginning of my holiday at Barrow Burn in Upper Coquetdale.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

A Large Funeral.

In a little dell off "Willow Warbler Ally" I can sit and watch a pair of Pied Flycatchers, busy feeding their young. The pair returned at Exocet speed almost crashing into one another at times, when they decided to be more orderly one would wait its turn on a perch giving me the opportunity to get a snap.

While there, I inadvertently killed a midge, this was a great mistake as Ten Thousand came to pay their respects at its demise, with the females attacking me and taking away copious amounts of my blood.

Three Little Maids

I have taken quite a few images of Black-necked Grebes of late, the image above is a heavily cropped and thus not one of my best, yet I still like it. I love the composition and I simply can't get the tune "Three Little Maids" from G&S's The Mikado out of my head every time I see it.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Its just not Cricket

Out for a short walk from Anglezarke to White Coppice along a track nicknamed by the birding fraternity as Willow Warbler ally, I was hoping to obtain some shots of Warblers and hopefully bump into a Cuckoo.......well I did say HOPEFULLY!!!!
The warblers were there, but hopping about so much it was making me dizzy attempting to follow them with the lens, and as for the Cuckoo, well it never even cuckoo-ed.

But there is always a silver lining, in this instance that turned out to be a pair of Stonechats by the side of the idyllic cricket ground set on the edge of the beautiful west Pennine Moors at White Coppice.
A Thrush or two usually extract worms from the cricket field but the groundsman was busy preparing the wicket so none were about. I wondered if this was an omen for what was about to happen a few hours later at a more prestigious ground, Lords the H.Q. of the game, when England would take on the mighty Netherlands.......and lose...... well that's just not cricket is it?

Thursday, 4 June 2009

If you can't stand the Heat.......

"On a typical cold damp English summers morning" so started one of Spike Milligan's books. We have a preoccupation with the weather and as a rule of thumb, good old Spike got it bang on, however, every now and then the weather behaves itself and all is right with the world. We have had such a spell of late, in fact its been too hot to do any meaningful work on the computer, much too nice for such things, the only place to be is outdoors with the camera.
I now have an abundance of file to sort out, but I have made a start. Out with my mate Steve and old Eagle eyes spotted this Treecreeper collecting nesting material A visit to Mere Sands Wood produced this magnificent male Kingfisher and a Reed Warbler for good measure.

Yarrow Valley Park is a favorite place of mine, you can get really close views of Great Crested Grebe.

A few visits to a top spot for Black-necked Grebe has produced a field-full of images, here are a couple.
A trip to Leighton Moss for Marsh Harriers provided some stunning views, but alas non came close enough to photograph, however, I stopped over at Pilling on the way home and found Hares in abundance and they were madder in June than in March.