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.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Quiet Week

I haven't been out much this last week with the camera.A new bike has taken precedence and I have been keeping fit with bike rides around the Guild Wheel and a much tougher ride over Longridge Fell and back via the Ribble Valley. I did manage another visit to the terns at Preston Marina and a few more images of these lovely birds are shown above.
I have also shown a couple of butterflies seen on my travels. The small copper is a stunning little butterfly and one I don't come across very often. Likewise the wall brown, a nicely marked butterfly and again one I was very pleased to find on my travels. That's all for now but hopefully in the coming days I will visit the coast as some big tides are due and some of the Arctic breeding waders will be returning.Some of them possibly still in breeding plumage and it will be nice to see them again as they return to the Lancashire coastline to spend the winter months with us. Thanks for looking in

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A Success Story

In 2009 a pair of common terns were successful in breeding on a pontoon at the former Preston Dock, now Preston Marina.Following this Fylde Bird Club introduced artificial nest sites on the pontoons.These were created using gravel filled tyres and slate shelters on the pontoons.Since then the colony has gone from strength to strength.This year 2014 I understand there are well over a hundred nests which have produced over one hundred chicks.

It is a great place to visit with the camera as there is constant action with the common terns coming in to feed their young.The fish come from the nearby River Ribble and the terns fish the tidal river all the way down to the estuary at Lytham.They also travel inland to catch fish on the Lancaster canal.I have visited on a few occasions over the years but had not visited for some time.I therefore made a couple of evening visits this week and found plenty of action to photograph.

Some birds had fledged and flown but other terns still had very young chicks to feed and these families kept me busy with the camera.I have shown above a few images of the action and also a view from the Marina looking back to Preston and St Walburg's church where once again peregrine falcons have also been successful in rearing  young. Soon the terns will depart on their long migrations to the African Continent and I wish them well until hopefully they all return again next summer.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend.    

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Dolphins to Damsels

This last week has been very hot but thankfully as I write my blog things have cooled down and it is much more pleasant to be out and about.During the very hot and humid weather I turned my attention to looking at dragonflies,damselflies and butterflies.It had been some time since I had visited Cumbria to look for dragons and damsels and it was a nice change and a different challenge for the camera.Good friend Paul Foster accompanied me on one of the trips and we both enjoyed looking for and photographing the various insects which were enjoying the very hot and sunny conditions.

It was quite a change from our previous trip out into Liverpool Bay looking at gannets and dolphins.I also had another trip north to look for the beautiful demoiselle damselfly.This is a spectacular damselfly that occurs on some of the streams in the Lake District.I visited a site where I had seen it in previous years and was pleased to find it still present in good numbers.I have shown above a selection of images of the dragonflies,damselflies and butterflies seen on my travels. I have also shown a few more images of the dolphins seen on the memorable trip on Discovery out from Liverpool.Thanks for looking in and I will be out and about again soon to bring you more images from my camera.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Little and Large

This week I had a trip to Leighton Moss RSPB.I hadn't been to Leighton for some time.Fortunately my visit coincided with the presence of three great white egrets on and around the reserve.I saw two together at the roadside overlooking Island Mere but they were too distant for decent images.After being ' tagged' I proceeded to Lilian's Hide where the third great white egret was showing well.It was again distant and the very bright and sunny conditions didn't make for ideal photography .I stayed at Lilian's for a number of hours and managed some reasonable images of this uncommon visitor to Leighton Moss.

I then moved on for a late afternoon and evening session at the Grizedale Hide.It was very quiet birdwise and visitor wise,having it to myself.I had gone to Grizedale hoping to see the red deer which come out of the reedbeds in the evening to graze on the surrounding vegetation.A red deer hind was on view and soon another one appeared to keep it company. It was still very warm as the current very hot at times and very muggy weather continues.A brief visit by a little egret gave me one or two more images. I finished off the day with a visit to the Tim Jackson Hide where another hind was grazing the poolside vegetation.This time however she was joined by her youngster,a spotty calf which was active running along the bank and venturing into the water to cool off on what had been yet another very hot day.The calf gave me some more nice images to take away from a lovely day at Leighton Moss which was special for the egrets both Great and Little.Some of my better efforts from the day are shown above.Thanks for looking in and I am hoping for some cooler weather for my next trip to see Lancashire's wonderful wildlife. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Pelagic Magic

A week ago it was my good fortune to be aboard Discovery for a pelagic trip out of Liverpool looking for seabirds in Liverpool Bay.I had joined a small group of like minded photographers and bird watchers for a ten hour trip with skipper Gary Flint.Previous trips had been cancelled owing to strong winds but this time we enjoyed flat calms seas with a little rain late on in the day.

It was to be a wonderful experience as we sailed out some thirty miles or so to where many wind turbines and a gas rig were to be found. We stopped to catch mackerel which were to be used to attract the main target bird of the day,the gannet.We all took turns to catch some fish and then we put out bread to bring in some gulls which in turn would attract other birds.A special mix of fish oil and pellets was also used to attract the birds.

Gradually the birds arrived including the gannets which gave some great opportunities for close up shots as they circled the boat before diving for the fish thrown behind the boat.We all enjoyed the action and the refreshments provided by the skipper.Later in the day dolphins were spotted cruising along not far from the boat.We abandoned the gannets and went in pursuit of the dolphins.This was to be a magical experience as the bottlenose dolphins came alongside the boat and kept us company and we rattled of as many shots as we could.I was positioned at the front of the boat and the dolphins were surfing along and riding the boat's bow wave.They briefly broke surface as they came up to breathe but it was not easy to get the shot as at times they were too close.

After this fantastic experience we returned to the gannets which again gave some great opportunities for action photography as they dived for the fish.Some rain arrived but it didn't spoil the day and eventually cleared and it was very pleasant as we returned to Liverpool.It had been a truly wonderful and memorable day out and I understand another pelagic trip may be arranged in a month or so.I can't wait!!

I have shown above a selection of images from the day which hopefully will convey the special time we all enjoyed at sea aboard Discovery.I will probably do another upload later as I have many images from this fantastic day. I would like to thank Richard for the arrangements,Gary the skipper for taking us out and providing refreshments and entertainment through the day.I hope to meet up again with the other photographers present when we venture forth for more pelagic magic.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend.