Saturday, 23 May 2015

Arctic Bound

This last week has seen me make a couple of visits to a favourite wader roost near Southport.I hadn't visited since March and obviously lots of birds present then had departed for the breeding grounds.Most of the knots had gone with only a couple of small groups present and there were only a very few godwits and grey plovers left.There were however still good numbers of sanderlings and dunlin with a scattering of ringed plovers.

For this post I have concentrated on the sanderlings.A large percentage of the birds were well advanced in obtaining their summer breeding plumage.It is always a delight to see the rich chesnut colours of the sanderlings after the very pale white colours of their winter plumage.The birds were intent on feeding and scurried about the beach in the usual clockwork mouse manner.They were not bothered by my close and careful approach and allowed me to take many images before they moved further away to follow the falling tide.

It had been a wonderful experience to be close to these wonderful little waders.Very soon now they will be heading north for their breeding grounds in Greenland and Siberia which I think is where most of our sanderlings are heading.I wish them well on their long journey and in a couple of months or so they will be heading south again to spend the winter months back on the Lancashire coastline. Thanks for looking in and hope you enjoy my images of these lovely little waders.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Time for a Chat

It has been a slow and cold Spring so far but most of the summer migrants have now arrived.Last week I returned to the Bowland Fells to catch up with a stonechat seen on my previous visit.The pair of stonechats had obviously nested close to the roadside and I was fortunate to be able to photograph the male bird returning with a small caterpillar for his brood.All the images were obtained without leaving the car and I was very pleased with the results.

The whinchat was photographed down on the coast near Cockerham.I had visited the area with Mike and we had gone in the hope of seeing the five dotterel found the previous day.The dotterel had flown before we arrived and none of the few dozen birders in the area refound them whilst we were there.It was nice though to see whinchats flitting about on the roadside posts.There were possibly two males and a female in the area and I managed one or two hurriedly taken shots as the birds were constantly disturbed by passing traffic.On arrival back home we discovered that the five dotterel had in fact returned mid afternoon. I understand that they left again in the evening on their long flight north to probably the Cairngorms.I hope to catch up with dotterel again next Spring.In the meantime hope you enjoy the whinchat and stonechat images shown above and thanks for looking in. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Lakeside and Fells

This last week or so I have revisited my local nature reserve to see how the grebes are progressing and I have also made a trip into Bowland to see if any summer visitors have arrived.The grebes were still sitting on eggs and there was not a lot of activity during my stay.The little grebe gave one or two opportunities for the camera and it was nice to see a waterhen had been successful in rearing four young chicks.I have shown above some of the images from my visit.

I had not visited the Bowland Fells for some time and I was anxious to see what summer visitors were around.It was generally very quiet as I drove the back roads and lanes of Bowland.It was still quite cool and as yet there may not be much food available for the birds. However as I drove along I spotted a very nice male stonechat perched at the roadside on a dead stem of bracken. I hurriedly took some images from the car and then stopped to investigate .There was a pair of stonechats and they did seem to be on territory.The images I obtained were a bit grainy and I will return to the location later for hopefully some better images.On my way back I met up with Martin at Tower Lodge and we watched the pied flycatchers which also are nesting in the boxes provided in the adjacent woodland.I have shown an image of the female pied fly above.There did nor appear to be the usual numbers of lapwings,curlews and redshanks around but a very obliging curlew and lapwing did give me some nice images.Images of stonechat,pied flycatcher,lapwing and curlew are shown above.I will be back in Bowland soon when things warm up a bit.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Intimate Moments

This last week has seen me revisiting a local nature reserve where previously a pair of great crested grebes had been seen prospecting for nest sites.They had indeed paired up and had begun to build the nest amongst the trailing branches of a willow tree overhanging the water.During my visits they were also seen mating at the nest site and a couple of images of the action are shown above.They also performed the head shaking display close to the nest and provided some very nice opportunities for the camera.I have selected a few of my better images of the pair of great crested grebes in action which are shown above.

I was also lucky to photograph one of the pair with a perch it had caught,not as big as the one shown on a previous post,but still nice to see in the afternoon sun.Also showing well again were a pair of little grebes which came close as they patrolled the lake.I think they are nesting on the far side of the lake and well beyond camera range, I did manage a nice flight shot as one of the little grebes flew back to the far side of the lake.It had been good to see that the great crests had set up home and I hope they are successful in bringing up a family and I will return from time to time to keep an eye on their progress.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the current lovely spring weather.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Grebes and Deer

Last week I visited the Wyreside Lakes Estate near Scorton.This is owned by The Duchy Of Lancaster and I have permission to visit for the purposes of wildlife photography.It is a large area of fishing lakes and woodland and the River Wyre runs close by. The lakes have the usual waterfowl plus great crested grebes and are visited by ospreys on migration.The RiverWyre has dippers and kingfishers and the woodland supports a healthy population of roe deer.

It was nice to discover a pair of great crested grebes had built a nest close to one of the lakeside paths.The grebes were sitting on eggs and I was careful not to approach too closely so as not to disturb them.They were not bothered and allowed me to take some very nice portrait shots of them sitting on the nest and of a changeover of incubation duties.I will return in a few weeks when the eggs will hopefully have hatched and the parents will be returning with food for their young.

The roe deer were a different proposition.I had discovered a feeding area where I had seen them on previous visits.As usual with roe deer they hear and see you approaching long before you see them.However a very careful and quiet approach did allow one or two record shots and a shot of them crossing the river and disappearing into the woods.Hope you like my efforts above with the deer and the grebes and I will return soon for more encounters with the wyreside wildlife.