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


Friday, 7 October 2011

The Fair-Maid of Fairhaven

The Beautiful Slavonian Grebe at Fairhaven Lake
I should take a permanent B&B at Lytham, what with the Phalarope the other week and now a Slavonian Grebe decided to drop in on Fairhaven Lake.
To be honest you wouldn't have turned out yesterday (Thurs 6th) as I drove up the M6 the horizontal rain turned to hailstone, with winds lashing it against my windscreen so much so the wipers couldn't take it, but the forecast promised a few breaks and as it was the only half day I had spare, I took the chance.
The first stop was the cafe....sticky toffee pudding and a pot of tea....this mouthwatering dish was eaten in two sittings as the Slavonian Grebe came across from the island and started feeding right outside of the cafe. I took some shot hand held just to get a handle of the exposures I would need for the shoot.
The meal finished it was down to business proper, the order of the day being sitting in the shelter until the storms abated then photographing as and when the grebe appeared.
Luckily it appeared at regular intervals in varying degrees of light. The water was choppy to say the least with the grebe often disappearing in the deep swell, working off been bags was a no-no with such waves.

Breaking the Water

I worked as low as I could with the aid of the tripod and the constant upping and downing along with the ferocious wind finally took its toll on my old bones, when I climbed back into the car I was exhausted but extremely happy.
The time spent waiting in between shooting was spent chatting with people I have known through their BLOGS or uploads on various forums and turned out to be a greatly pleasing affair and passed with the speed of light.

Sliding down the waves

In more sheltered waters later in the day

As the storm clouds gathered once more a small break allowed a chink of sunlight from the setting sun through to give some illumination on the Grebe