Friday, 21 November 2014

A Better Week

After last week's upsets this week has been much better.I am thinking of getting another cat and have been to look at some currently residing at the Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary at St.Annes.

On the wildlife front Tuesday was a very pleasant day with light winds and sunshine.I decided on a visit to Yarrow Valley Country Park near Chorley.I had noticed that the regular kingfisher was appearing daily and would hopefully provide some opportunities for the camera.On arrival at the fishing spot the kingfisher prefers ,the news was that it had been showing well but had departed. However there was not long to wait for it's return and myself and the other assembled photographers were then treated to it posing for the next three quarters of an hour or so.We all  " filled our boots " with many images and some video of the lovely male kingfisher.The spot it chooses to visit is unfortunately in a dark gulley and makes for difficult photography to obtain the correct exposures and shutter speeds.I am however quite pleased with the results and my better efforts are posted above.

The three jays have also been visiting my garden on a daily basis for peanuts I have put out for them.Again giving great opportunities for the camera and photographed from my bedroom window.They do seem to take peanuts like there is no tomorrow and will be stashing them away for when the colder weather arrives.Again a few more images above of these colourful but very shy birds.Thanks for looking in and hopefully more next week from Lancashire's wildlife.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Sad Week

It has not been the happiest of weeks for me this week.I have sadly lost my companion,my lovely cat Molly. Molly has been a wonderful pet and friend for the last fourteen years and will be very much missed.She passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday.A few images are shown above of Molly in happier times.

On a lighter note I have been visited on a regular basis this week by three jays.They have been coming for the peanuts I have put out for them.They gave me some nice opportunities for shots with the camera.These normally very shy and difficult to photograph birds certainly brightened up what has been a difficult week.A few images of the jays are shown above.Thanks for looking in and hopefully I will return to normal soon and post more of Lancashire's wildlife. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Swans Are Back

This week on one of the better days,dry and bright,for a change,I visited Martin Mere.On my last visit some weeks ago there were no whooper swans present.With the recent change in the weather with more typical autumnal weather, the swans have now left their breeding grounds in Iceland. I understand the whoopers have had an excellent breeding season and are now arriving in family parties at their favoured wintering grounds.

Martin Mere is one of their favoured ares of the country. As well as left over potatoes,carrots etc remaining in the fields of West Lancashire they are fed on a daily basis with grain at Martin Mere. There are now close on one thousand whooper swans in the area and it was a delight to catch up with these special winter visitors. I enjoyed myself with the camera trying for some nice flight shots as the swans flew in from the surrounding areas.

I have shown my efforts above  and have also shown a flock of teal taking flight as they were harried by a passing marsh harrier. Thanks for looking in and let's hope for some better weather for the weekend,it is currently pouring down as I write my blog. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Harrier..Deer and Ouzel

It has been a few weeks since I posted on my blog.I thought I would show a few images from Bowland in the Summer not previously published.My followers will no doubt be aware of the plight of the Hen Harrier in Bowland. This Summer the hen harriers returned to breed and were successful but sadly not long after the youngsters fledged two birds went missing.These birds were satellite tagged and they both vanished at the same time whilst still in Bowland and no trace has been found of the birds or the transmitters.This would all point to them probably being shot on neighbouring grouse moors.A very sad state of affairs especially after all the care and attention they received whilst still being fed by their parents.A twenty four hour watch was kept at the nesting location until the young birds had flown.Young harriers from another Bowland nest are still alive as I write and hopefully more harriers will return next year to breed again.Shown above are a couple of record shots of a female harrier hunting the moor not far away from one of the nesting locations.

I have also shown some shots of a male ring ouzel  which Paul Foster and I came across on one of our safaris into Bowland. Ring ouzels,or mountain blackbirds as I like to call them ,are very difficult to approach so I was particularly pleased to obtain a few shots.A lot of the praise for these images was down to Paul Foster's excellent fieldcraft and determination to photograph these very shy birds.Paul returned the following day with his hide and obtained more excellent shots.

Finally some images of a roe deer hind which I came across one evening on one of my drives through Bowland.It was some distance away but the long lens on a beanbag from the car window did the trick.One of my favourite British mammals and always a challenge to obtain decent images of these very wary animals. Thanks for looking in and I should return soon with more from Lancashire's wildlife.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Salmon Arrival

As mentioned in my previous posting,this week I was hoping to see if the Autumn salmon had arrived.I am pleased to report that the recent rains had indeed encouraged the fish to start running the rivers. I made a couple of visits this week to a Cumbrian river where in previous years I have had success with capturing images as the fish negotiated their way upstream.

It is not easy to capture images as the fish leap to fight their way upstream.It is very difficult to anticipate when the fish may jump and high speed shutter action is required to capture the action as it is over very often even before you have pressed the shutter.Perseverance and very quick reactions will eventually result in some images as the salmon try to get up the falls.This week whilst I was there a reasonable number of salmon were showing and I was very pleased with the results which you can see above.

Other photographers came and went during the day and it was interesting to compare the techniques and equipment we were using to capture the annual salmon run.I will be returning again to witness the spectacle as salmon will continue to come into the river throughout October and November.They will be making their way far upstream to their birthplace up amongst the Cumbrian fells.I hope you enjoy the images above and thanks for looking in. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Photographing Kingfishers

Recently I have spent a considerable amount of time sat in hides waiting for kingfishers to show.I have been to well known locations at Martin Mere and Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserves.The kingfisher suffered in the severe winters we had a few years ago but does now  seem to have recovered from the population crash.Let's hope this continues and this enigmatic bird continues to delight all who see it.

It can be a long wait at times for a kingfisher to show and there is no guarantee that one will  turn up.Yesterday for example I spent four hours in the Rufford Hide at Mere Sands Wood but the kingfisher didn't show whilst I was there.The previous day I only waited about an hour and a half.Eventually one did arrive but the poor weather with heavy rain meant the images obtained were not of the best.The colours of a kingfisher seem to change with the available light and one never seems satisfied with the results.

I have shown above some of my recent efforts at kingfisher photography.The first series were taken at Martin Mere from the Ron Barker hide,a well known location for photographers. They are not too bad and were taken on a bright day with calm conditions.The second series from Mere Sands Wood were taken on a very wet afternoon but I was reasonably pleased with the shots of the bird posing on the reed stems.

All in all not too bad but I will be continually striving for that perfect shot. Hope you enjoy what I have posted and I will be back soon with more wildlife images. The recent change in the weather conditions with some much needed and welcome heavy rain coinciding with some high tides should result in salmon running the rivers. I hope to capture the fish leaping the falls on some of our northern rivers this month and will of course post the results on my blog. Thanks for looking in.