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.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Leighton Moss...New Book

A week today a new book about Leighton Moss will be launched.The book is about the history of Leighton Moss from the Ice Age to the present day.The author is Andy Denwood an author and journalist living in North Lancashire.The book is published by Carnegie Publishing of Lancaster.
I was approached by Carnegie to see if they could use one of my pictures of red deer at Leighton Moss on the cover of the book.I was obviously very pleased and readily granted permission.

I have shown above an image of the cover of the book.The cover image is a clever combination of two images.The silhouetted marsh harrier was photographed by Ben Locke a freelance who often works with BBC Springwatch.My image is of running red deer taken from the Grisedale Hide in 2011.Ben's image is shown above in full and is a lovely image in glorious light of a marsh harrier over Leighton's reedbed .I have also shown my image in full and was one of a series taken as a number of red deer charged across in front of the Grisedale Hide in August 2011.

I have been invited to the book launch next Saturday at Leighton Moss by the publishers and look forward very much to meeting the author and of course to seeing my image in print. If you visit Leighton Moss in the coming weeks look out for this very interesting new publication.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more of Lancashire's wildlife.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wader Watching

Followers of my blog will be aware that one of my favourite aspects of bird photography is large wader flocks.I never cease to be amazed by the sheer numbers of birds as they perform for the camera.Recently thousands of waders have returned to the Lancashire coastline from their Arctic breeding grounds.So it was that I returned to an area of the coast near Southport where large flocks of wading birds can be guaranteed on a high tide.

On the day of my visit the tide was over nine metres and was backed by a strong westerly wind which all helped to push the birds towards the waiting camera.There were indeed thousands of waders present consisting of knot,dunlin,godwits, sanderling and oystercatchers.I was kept busy with two lenses,the 500mm for close up shots and the 70-200 for flight and  group shots.Many of the birds,particularly the knot and bar tailed godwits still had hints of bright breeding plumage on show and looked fine in the warm afternoon sunshine.

At one point a peregrine falcon appeared to harass the flocks.I didn't see it take any prey but it did force the birds into tight formation flocks to try and avoid capture.I have shown above some scenes from the beach but nothing can compare with actually being there to witness this spectacular display.I now eagerly await the next series of high tides when I will once again be at one of my favourite wildlife locations.Thanks for looking in and hope to be back soon with more of Lancashire's wonderful wildlife.  

Friday, 29 August 2014

Another Kingfisher

This week I spent a very pleasant afternoon on the River Wyre at St Michaels waiting for a kingfisher to show.I had visited previously to see the part of the river that the kingfisher occupied and decided on a strategy to try and obtain some images.I therefore set up the camera and tripod opposite a pool used by the kingfisher and waited and waited for the bird to show.

The kingfisher did fly past me a few times but never stopped in the area where I had set up camp.I knew when it was in the vicinity when I heard it's sharp call.The best opportunity arose when I went to talk to a nearby fisherman and the kingfisher flew in and perched directly opposite the camera.I was too slow and the bird flew into a nearby willow bush overhanging the water.It was obscured by vegetation but I did manage a few shots before it departed.

Despite waiting for five hours or so this was to be my only opportunity.This however is wildlife photography and I will be back to this delightful spot on the Wyre to catch up with the kingfisher
A few images are shown above from the afternoon,certainly not my best shots of a kingfisher but I know next time I will hopefully get those wonderful close ups in good light.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Long Time No See

It had indeed been sometime since I had seen a kingfisher.They now only seem to visit Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve occasionally .This used to be a very reliable place to see these colourful and delightful little birds.There had however been recent reports that kingfishers were showing well at the Ron Barker Hide at Martin Mere .So yesterday afternoon that was my plan of action to visit Martin Mere to catch up with kingfishers.

I duly arrived and visited Tony Disley at the In Focus shop.Tony had obtained some recent video of the kingfishers and later I caught up with Susan and Peter Wilson who had just been watching and photographing the kingfishers.They were therefore still showing well and I was to spend the next couple of hours or so at the Ron Barker Hide.

It was a very pleasant afternoon and from time to time the kingfishers would put in an appearance perching alongside the ditch in front of the hide.I managed some reasonable images and a selection are shown above.It was nice to see these lovely birds again and it was a very enjoyable with good weather and good company and everyone enjoyed the sightings of these special birds.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more of Lancashire's wildlife.