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.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Leighton Moss...Highlights

This last couple of weeks has seen me making visits to Leighton Moss.It has been an exciting and very interesting time.The great white egrets are still present,there has been a passage of waders,the red deer have begun their rut and the bearded  tits are visiting the grit trays.I featured the great white egrets in a previous post so this time I will concentrate on the waders,red deer and beardies.

There was a nice selection of waders present at the Morecambe and Allen hides and they were close enough for some decent images.The most interesting wader present was a juvenile curlew sandpiper which was carrying red and yellow tags on it's legs. I understand this bird had been ringed in Norway on it's way from the breeding grounds in Arctic Russia.I have shown the bird above together with a couple of dunlin,one still in summer plumage and a nice photogenic group of redsank.

The red deer of Leighton Moss have begun their annual rut and their roaring has been a common sound around the reserve during the week.I was fortunate to visit the Grizedale Hide late one afternoon to find two magnificent stags roaring at one another.One was eventually dominant and the other one departed.The larger stag remained and gave those present in the hide some memorable moments as he strutted his stuff in front of the hinds and young deer present.You will see from the images above that this stag appears to be a fourteen pointer,this makes him an "Imperial " stag and I think he will be the king of Leighton Moss.He maybe the star of  BBC's Autumnwatch  which returns again to Leighton Moss at the end of October.

Finally I managed to obtain some reasonable images of bearded tits.This is a bird that has eluded me until now.At this time of the year the bearded tits visit grit trays at the side of the public causeway to take the grit which aids their digestion of the seeds which form their diet in the autumn.It was a case of an early start and I was in position with a couple of other photographers at 8am.The first birds showed briefly around 8.30 and then didn't return until an hour or so later.From the until 10 there was quite a bit of action with a number of beardies coming for grit.The number of photographers had also grown and we all enjoyed trying to capture these special birds on camera.

It had been a super end to the week and I had managed some more memorable images for the portfolio.I hope you enjoy my efforts above and you can be sure I will be out and about soon to record more of Lancashire's wonderful wildlife. Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Leighton Moss ... Egrets

This week the count of roosting egrets at Leighton Moss broke previous records with a staggering 182 birds present.These were of course mostly little egrets but there are still 3 Great White egrets present.During the day the birds tend to use  the area down at the Morecambe and Allen pools for feeding .The Great whites also use the area at Lilian's hide to feed and commute between the two.

The egrets make great subjects for the camera as they fly and feed.Being large birds it is not difficult to obtain correct focus and I tend to underexpose when taking images so as not to burn out the white plumage of the birds.Hopefully I have succeeded with the images shown above of some of the action from Leighton Moss. The Great Whites are the first group of images with the little egrets bringing up the rear.Hope you enjoy my efforts and in my next posting I will show some of the many waders currently enjoying the muddy conditions at the Eric Morecambe hide.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend.  

Friday, 26 September 2014

Geese Galore

It is that time of the year again when pink footed geese arrive in Lancashire to spend the winter months with us.The farmland of West Lancs is rich in pickings for the geese with remains of the vegetable crops left for them.This last week or so has seen a large influx of geese as the weather conditions have been favourable with settled conditions. A north westerly wind has also helped them on their way from Iceland and they have arrived in their thousands.The current estimate of numbers is well over twenty thousand.

One of the best places to see pink footed geese is at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Martin Mere. I have made a couple of visits recently and have been treated to some spectacular views of the large flocks arriving and settling in for a long stay through the winter months. I think some of the geese use Martin Mere as a staging post before flying on to Norfolk and other parts further south.

I have shown above a few images of the geese as they arrived and flew around the reserve.It is indeed a spectacular sight to see many thousands of geese in the air together.Another wonderful aspect is the sounds the geese make as they communicate coming into land.It is difficult to convey in words and images and you really have to be there to experience what is one of nature's memorable and exciting events. If you can I recommend a visit to Martin Mere to witness this annual spectacle.Thanks for looking in and more from Lancashire's wildlife soon.