Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Bowland...A Few More

Just a few more images from some of my recent visits to the Bowland area of Lancashire.The numbers of breeding waders has slowly increased and it was very nice to see and hear the calls and flight displays of the curlews.Apparently curlews are nationally in decline but it is still possible to see reasonable numbers on the upland meadows and rough pastures of Bowland.

Lapwings also seem to be doing ok and are already sat on eggs.It will be encouraging to see the chicks very soon now as they get use to this harsh upland habitat.It was nice also to see a few brown hares enjoying some warm afternoon sunshine.The usual red grouse were still posing for the camera close to the road,the female shown below is a perfect example of cryptic colouration as she blends in beautifully to the moorland grasses

Finally shown below was yet another redshank posing on a roadside fence post and guarding his future nesting site.It was nice to be able to approach slowly and carefully and grab a few images from the comfort of the car.The oystercatcher was also a nice roadside subject posing on the wall.Hope you enjoy this further selection from Bowland and I will be back soon with more of Lancashire's wildlife.











Friday, 7 April 2017

Shooting Grouse

I am of course referring to shooting red grouse with the camera.At this time of the year I like to return to the Bowland area of Lancashire to see what birds have returned to the moors to breed. I have made a few visits recently and after a slow start things are at last improving.The better weather of late has helped and reasonable numbers of upland waders and red grouse can be seen on territory.

I like to drive slowly along some of Bowland's quiet lanes and backroads.There is not much traffic and most of the birds can be photographed from the comfort of the car.My main quarry was the red grouse and at this time of the year they can be seen on territory perching up on heather or the rough moorland grasses.The females are usually close by but are much harder to see as they keep low and rely on their superb camouflage for concealment.As well as the grouse I have shown images of lapwing,redshank and oystercatcher.The redshank perched up very obligingly on roadside fence posts to have their portraits taken.I have also shown a couple showing Ingleborough and Pen y Ghent both of which still had snow on the summits.

I will show more images in my next post from Bowland with more of the same and brown hares and curlews.The curlews were performing their wonderful display flights high over the moorland.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend's weather which is set to warm up and bring more colour and life to the countryside.





















Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Gone but not Forgotten

I am referring to the long staying bittern at Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve.As suspected it was not seen for a number of days and the conclusion was that it would have returned to continental Europe for the breeding season.I understand from a knowledgeable birdwatcher that this bittern returns to Mere Sands Wood every Winter. If so I look forward to it's return.

As I usually do when at Mere Sands I visited the Cyril Gibbon's Hide to see if the great crested grebes were displaying and on my last visit they did indeed perform for the camera.The grey heron that flew in at the Rufford Hide soon caught a frog. The frogs were busy spawning and would provide easy pickings for the heron.I have shown a sequence of one of the frogs being despatched and swallowed by the heron.

It was nice to see kingfishers again showing well at Mere Sands.One bird visited regularly whilst the assembled photographers were awaiting the bittern to show.It provided some nice opportunities for the camera as it used the waterside vegetation as look out and fishing posts.Hope you enjoy my images from Mere Sands Wood and next time I will be concentrating on Bowland .I hadn't visited Bowland for some time and now that the red grouse and upland waders were back on territory I was anxious to capture the action.Thanks for looking in.














Friday, 17 March 2017

Hide and Seek

The bittern which has spent many weeks at Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve has recently been the star attraction.Most days the Rufford Hide has been packed with photographers hoping for a sighting of the very elusive bittern.At times it has been very obliging and provided great photographic opportunities for those present.At other times it has been almost impossible to have a decent view of the bird and some people have spent many hours sat waiting without a sight of the bird.Earlier this week I spent a few hours waiting in a busy hide but it wasn't seen at all during the day.It may now have taken advantage of clear days and nights to return from whence it came somewhere on the Continent.

The images shown below I obtained on an earlier visit when the bittern did come out to play.I have tried to show how well camouflaged the bird is and image seven shows particularly well how difficult it can be to pick out the bittern as it skulks through the reedbeds.Hope you enjoy my efforts below and it now seems unlikely that it will appear again as the breeding season is fast approaching.I have enjoyed some of the other wildlife at Mere Sands Wood and this will be the subject of my next posting.Thanks for looking in and it looks like another wet weekend awaits us.