Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Swallows and Ospreys

You may have heard of Swallows and Amazons,a famous book by the author Arthur Ransome.This was one of a series of children's adventure stories based around the author's experiences of living in the Lake District.I have called this weeks blog Swallows and Ospreys as I too have been having my own adventures in the Lake District.

Ospreys are now becoming well established in the Lake District and this year have raised young at five known sites.   This week I visited a recently discovered future nesting site near to where Arthur Ransome spent many happy years.He is buried  nearby alongside his wife in a beautifully situated local churchyard.This latest site is being visited on a regular basis by a pair of young ospreys.They are not yet ready to produce young but are showing great interest in the nest site and are bringing in sticks and branches to build up the nest construction.All being well next season may see this site occupied and the ospreys continuing their expansion in the area.

I have shown above some of the many images I have taken recently. These show particularly the new possible future nesting site and the lovely location where it is sited.Although distant ( I was probably about six hundred yards away ) there were excellent views of the ospreys as they explored the area.In keeping with Arthur Ransome's title I have also included some images I took of swallows which although late in the season appeared to be mating and were showing interest in nesting nearby. It has been such a cold summer and maybe there is still time for the swallows to raise a brood.Thanks for looking in and you can be sure I will be reporting again soon from this lovely part of the Lake District.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Drama at the Docks

It had been a month since my last visit to the tern colony at Preston Docks.A month ago most of the terns were still sitting on eggs but things had really moved on. There were young birds flying around but mostly the young terns were still grounded and were exercising their small wings and would soon be airborne.A couple of birds were still sitting on eggs and other youngsters were in various stages of development.

As usual at the colony there was much going on and it was difficult knowing where to point the lens for the best of the action.One very sad event whilst I was there was to see one of the chicks taken by one of the large gulls present.It had somehow fallen off the pontoon into the water and despite frantic efforts from it's parent it didn't make it back and was carried off by the marauding gull.

I have shown above this sad event plus the usual shots of parents returning with food for the hungry youngsters.Another unpleasant sight was to see one of the adult birds viciously attacking a helpless chick.Why this happens I am not sure and it is certainly a tough life growing up in a tern colony. I hope you enjoy my images of the various dramas which happen on a daily basis at this thriving tern colony. Thanks for looking in and I will return soon with more from my travels.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Up In The Blue

As the excellent weather continued last week I decided on another visit to the Cumbrian ospreys.It was very warm and I decided therefore to climb up into the forested hillsides  above the lake where there would be some refreshing breezes.It turned out to be a good decision as there were excellent views of four ospreys enjoying the excellent conditions as they spent the afternoon soaring and displaying up in the blue skies above.They would from time to time fly over the location where I was concealed keeping an eye on me in case I ventured anywhere near to where they were nesting deep in the forested hillside.

Buzzards and a sparrowhawk were also about but were seen off by the vigilant ospreys.I enjoyed the spectacle for a couple of hours or so.Then late afternoon  the ospreys decided it was time to go and look for food in some of the many lakes and tarns in the area .It had been a very interesting and enjoyable session and once again I managed a few images for my growing portfolio of osprey shots.Next time I visit the young should be well advanced and I look forward to some more action from these very special and iconic birds. Thanks for looking in and keep tuned for more from the Cumbrian ospreys.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Demoiselles and Ospreys

Continuing my quest for some decent osprey images this week found me once again in Cumbria.The weather had suddenly become very hot with record temperatures for July.It was perfect dragonfly weather so I combined a visit to the ospreys with a visit to a nearby beck which held a good population of the beautiful demoiselle. This stunning damselfly has a very restricted distribution in the North of England and is well worth seeking out at this time of the year.

It was good to see the beck was still occupied by these super looking insects.Despite the attention of horseflies I managed some reasonable images which are shown above.The stunning males look almost tropical as they flit about the bankside vegetation looking for the more sombre brown females.They do at times pose beautifully for the camera and I enjoyed the action at this lovely spot.

It was then on to the location where the ospreys are and I settled down by the lakeside awaiting some action.It was late afternoon before an osprey appeared and it was circling above the lake on the lookout for fish.It didn't catch anything from nearby and soon vanished from sight in it's quest for food.However in the brief time it appeared overhead I did manage some reasonable shots helped by good light from the very warm afternoon sun.I have shown above my best efforts on the day and they are an improvement on previous images.Well pleased I returned on the long journey home but I will be back for more encounters with these very special birds. Thanks for looking in and enjoy the current very summery weather at last.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Waiting For An Osprey

This last couple of weeks or so has seen me driving into the Lake District away from my usual haunts in Lancashire.It has long been a photographic ambition to obtain some decent images of ospreys.Previously I have only photographed very poorly, one that briefly visited Leighton Moss when I was there. Ospreys are currently doing very well in the Lake District with five and maybe more sites now occupied.After the nesting successes in Scotland the birds have moved south and are now resident at a few sites in England and Wales.

One of the well known sites in southern Lakeland is at Foulshaw Moss.Here the ospreys have raised three chicks this year.Cumbria Wildlife Trust have provided an excellent nest cam which gives wonderful images of the comings and goings at the nest site.I have shown above a screen grab of the two parents and chicks and recommend tuning in to have daily views of the family life of the ospreys.I visited Foulshaw Moss but the nest site is a long way from the viewing platform and even a telescope gives limited viewing.I have shown above a couple of my images from Foulshaw of the viewing platform and the very distant nesting tree.

My main destination was another site situated in a beautiful part of the Lake District.At this location there are two pairs of ospreys present and the chances of seeing one or two are quite good.I have made four visits and have seen birds on each occasion.The views were however not very good.The birds were distant and I only managed a few record shots.There was however other bird life to keep the camera busy and whilst there I received much information from a local wildlife photographer.Again shown above are some rather poor record shots of the ospreys and better images of the other bird life present at the location.

I was there again yesterday on a lovely very warm last day of June.This time one of the ospreys came to fly over the lake giving me some better opportunities for images in lovely evening light.I was pleased with the results and will publish some of the better shots next time.I will be returning again in a few weeks when there should be much more action as the chicks develop.Thanks for looking in and keep tuned.