Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Seasons Greetings

No post of late due to major changes to computer system, anyhow have a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the New Year

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Snow Buntings of Kinmel Bay

Photographers who find or know where a certain species of bird or mammal is, will try to keep the location to themselves for as long as possible. The reason for this secrecy is, they want to get their images unencumbered by others who will decamp on-mass and who have equipment that defies the budget deficit, but alas possess no field-craft. There could be other considerations of course, for instance the protection of the species, or maybe you have spent weeks baiting a spot, and rightly consider this your own.

A nice wing stretch
However certain (special) species become well known and are well publicised on a variety of web forums, one of these are the Snow Buntings at Kinmel Bay. Local birders have encourage the birds by putting seed on driftwood, two huge logs really, right below a viewing platform, and to their credit have been very successful  for the second year running to the best of my knowledge in attracting these delightful buntings.

This bloody sand gets everywhere 
I arrived bright and early at the site and as well as my camera and provisions to sustain me throughout the day, I also carried some seed, as visitors are encouraged to keep the feeding station topped up. I had the Snow Buntings, ten in all, all to myself for perhaps an hour and a half, then I was joined by Joe Wynn who I new only as a contributor to Birdguides, incidental I put a faces to a names and Joe existed in my head as someone in his sixty's, so it was quite a shock to see this fifteen year old lad sat beside me. A little later Joe and I were joined by Mike Nessbitt, and the three of us together had a wonderful time photographing the buntings. The field-craft here is quite simple, the golden rule is sit still! The average cycle is thus, the birds will fill their crop on average over a fifteen minute period, then they fly off a short distance, usually a groin for about half an hour to digest their meal before returning to start all over again.

During the digestion period you can have a cup of coffee and have chat then crucially just before they return get in position and wait. The birds will tolerate you if you stay still, but will not if you approach them while they are feeding, they will simply fly off.

Love this shot doing what comes naturally 

Of course passers by and dog walkers (bless em) will spook the the birds, that is par for the course, but what really annoys me is when photographers spook them. Well sad to say that happened later in the day as one snapper in particular consistently approached the birds, not by crawling but walking bolt upright  towards the feeding birds. Well he in particular pissed the birds and me off. But you see it didn't matter to him, as he explained he was local and could get his shots anytime.

This bird was foraging for seed among the boulders

 Pity the poor traveler who had spent a small fortune on petrol, and Joe, as he is a school lad, he could only get there at the weekend and had come down from Manchester by train, I think it cost him something like £12.50, and the birdwatchers on the platform and of course let us not forget the Snow Buntings.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

More From The Forestry Commission

Just reiterating, sorry....My New Web Address Is
Forest can create some magical light and this first image goes someway towards what I was trying to achieve.
Swooping In For A Meal
Top Food For Jays

Waiting For More

Sitting Pretty In Gorgeous Light

Leap Of Faith

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

New Web Site Address

Please Note My New Web Site Address

Away From The Coast

After several sessions photographing waders along various stretches of the North West coastline I have turned my attention to our gorgeous woodland. Crawling through mud and leaves made a change from crawling on wet sand and salt marsh, it was better for the camera too, with no chunks of sand finding its way into all the nooks and crannies of the image stealer. Light, light give me light. At best, by the very nature of photographing in a forest the best you’re going to get is dappled lighting, but this can be very effective both on the subject or the backdrop. At worst when it clouds over the range of subtle hues can work fine, but tends to leave the overall image a little flat. Anyhow here are a few results from the last couple of shoots....... first needing no introduction is the Red Squirrel....

And secondly a very inquisitive Jay....more on the website.....


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Motorway Madness

I now know why my car wants to go to Southport in stead of heading north up the M6, as yesterday (1st Nov.) I physically forced it to head north for Leighton Moss.
Big mistake.
The traffic in all three lanes came to a halt, I was just short of the M61 junction. Apparently a tanker had overturned and I along with thousands of others was stuck there for one and a half hours. Where's a bloody Buzzard or a Kestrel when you need one, I see them all the time when I'm traveling at 70mph (honest) and can't stop!
Fleetwood had to be the new destination purely for the lack of daylight hours available to me.
AND, as if that wasn't bad enough, I was once again caught up in a jam at more or less the exact same spot on my way home, apparently a multi-vehicle pile up, my guess is that someone was gawking at the aftermath of the mornings accident. Not to worry only one and quarter hours this time, and at least I could do some editing (deleting) to wile away the time.
I managed a few more wader images, but was it worth it I ask you?
Ringed Plover

I will be posting more images on my web-site soon.


Monday, 31 October 2011

Time and Tide.....

I had plan A, B, and C for Friday’s high tide, but somehow my car had a mind of its own and opted for plan D and took me to Southport. When I get to the motorway at Standish I have three options, head north for the Fylde or Leighton Moss (A, B) south for the Wirral (C), but no, my car wanted to go to Southport, - Again.

Did I want to go to Southport again? No I did not. Last month’s high tide was a near disaster (darling) in photographic terms. After arriving at Ainsdale I walked out well out of reach of dog walkers (Bless Um) I settled down and waited for the tide to do its job and bring the waders to me. After half an hour things were looking good at the head of the pack I could make out Grey Plover, a bird that has eluded my lens thus far. Another quarter of an hour and I should have filled my boots as they say, then, suddenly, the sky was darkened with thousands upon thousands of birds, the army of waders that was marching towards me had vanished before my eyes. The reason was, the Sefton Beach Patrol, two quad-bikes riding in tandem out on the mudflats, apparently searching for dead bodies (cocklers maybe?)
So that day I retreated to Southport beach, a mile north of the pier, where as luck would have it I spotted dunlin and ringed plover. Ah that day was rescued until the dog walkers (Bless Him), pissed them and me off. 
But feeling tired and not wanting to drive too far here I was again. I arrived in the nick of time as the tide was well in and with the absence of beach patrols and dog walkers, god knows where they were, but Bless-um all, they weren’t here. And what a difference the place was alive with thousands upon thousands of waders, so here are a few of the results......enjoy David

A Grey Plover fly past

Strictly Sanderling

A simple close up of this most beautiful of  waders

Oystercatcher  Salute

Dunlin with onlookers

Grey Plover

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Canon Photo Competition

I have entered this image of a Whooper Swan preening at Martin Mere in the online Canon Photo Competition.
I have entered it in the Learning to See category, it has already been recognized and awarded a Good Technique Badge.
You can view it by any of the links or clicking on the photo and give it a thumbs up, you can also view some other pretty amazing images at the same time.

Dancing Feathers...Whooper Swan
Cheers David


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

They're Back With A Vengeance

I went to Martin Mere on Saturday (22nd Oct) just to evaluate the situation, I was most surprised to see the vast numbers of Whooper Swans on the mere. In past years they had been drifting in, in dibs and drabs at this stage of the season, but the numbers that have arrived thus far are so great that the management have decided to start feeding, this process normally only starts in early November ( around the 5th my birthday....hint,hint).
I managed some very satisfying images of  whoopers along with ruff, lapwing, pintail, wigeon and shoveler.
The day was enjoyed the company of Steve Dolan and Charlie Owen and a couple of people who I meet from time to time, but unfortunately don't know their names (forgive me for that).
A word of warning, unless your fabulously wealthy take some food and drink with you, Steve paid nine pound odd for chips & a scoop of something (smaller than a child's portion in my opinion)  and a scone, I fared little better when a sweet with custard plus a cuppa set me back five pound fifty.
Once bitten twice shy!!!!
Anyhow some pics.....

Whooper Swan

Heave - Ho (Ruff)

Dancing Feathers - My favorite image from the day 
A few days earlier I had paid a visit to Leighton Moss and as I entered the EM hide the sun was making it's entrance on the new day casting a pink glow on the underside of the clouds, this in turn was reflected in the water just as a pair of little egrets passed through the scene.
Little Egrets

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Wading In

A few images from the beach.........It's hard to disguise yourself on a beach and I have been told that if you lie down and crawl the waders will think your a seal and ignore you, I don't know if this is true, but I do know you get very wet indeed...



Thursday, 13 October 2011

Fish Commits Suicide!!!

A couple of tags for this image.....

Fish Commits Suicide!!!

And for my next trick!!!!

Down the Hatch......a bit predictable


Sunday, 9 October 2011

One Holiday Rolls into Another

As Eric Morecambe famously once said I'm plying all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order. And so it is with my posts, I seriously mean to keep this Blog up to date, but a thing called life keep getting in the way.....anyhow a few shots from Northumberland back in June (I still haven't got round to processing all of them) mixed in with a few from September.

Separated from Staple Island by a narrow stretch of treacherous water are the Pinnacles home to thousands of Guillemot, by the time I took this image in late June many had departed with the lines on the crest visibly thinned out.

Arctic Tern favor Inner Farne

A typical Inner Farne welcome as Arctic Tern hover and attack visitors as they defend their offspring's.

Puffins run the gauntlet as they land their catch, as Gulls lay in wait for an easy meal, taken on Inner Farne

Puffins wiz past visitors at a rate of knots as they depart on another fishing fora.

The lunch box Puffins photographed on Staple Island

Back on dry land a Stonechat photographed at Cresswell

And a Siskin recovering from flying into the flew off after a couple of hours. Speaking of which.................

................THING THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT!!!!!

During our September break at five in the morning while in bed, lying in a state of semi-consciousness we were both aroused into life by a loud bang on the window.

Fearing we were about to be attacked by burglars from Newcastle, I sent Margaret to investigate. She returned in a panic, "You'd better get up"

God! I thought it is burglars from Newcastle! I pulled the sheets over my head pretending not to hear.
"Come on, get up! we've got an injured rabbit, its jumped into the window"

Ha, not burglars then, Phew! I sprang into action at once.

With the aid of the outside light I could just make out a brownish object squirming on the ground, but on closer inspection it wasn't a rabbit at all, it was a Tawny Owl curled in to a ball with one wing outstretched, occasionally it flapped in a desperate attempt to right itself, and my first thoughts was that it was a goner.
I went out and carefully picked it up as I didn't want to injure it any more than it all ready was, and also I didn't want it to dig it's talons into me. As I folded it's wing into place it swiveled it's head around and looked at me. What an absolutely gorgeous bungle I was holding. As I held it for a short while it calmed down, then I put it down on a near by bench, to my surprise it stood bolt upright. We stood and watched it for the next five minutes, occasionally it turned it's head and looked us in the eye, I must say I was quite besotted, and then without warning it took flight and vanished into the night air.


The river Teviot runs through the very busy town center of the Scottish Border town of Hawick, and while Juggernauts rumble over the bridge the bird life below is quite amazing, Goosander......


and Dipper can be observed, a scene one would associate more with a tranquil place like Lathkilldale.

Back to the coast at Amble
I paid a brief visit to the harbour while Margaret had a mooch round the shops. It's a great place for Cormorants, but I found the local gull quite entertaining as they fought over discarded fish.

Black-backed Gulls