Monday, 17 October 2016

Arrival Of The Pinks

At this time of the year I always look forward to the arrival at Martin Mere of thousands of pink footed geese from their breeding grounds in Iceland.This last week or so this has been happening with favourable weather the geese have made the 600mile journey non stop.This alone is a remarkable feat and it is wonderful to watch them coming into land after their long journeys.The fields at Martin Mere had been cut ready for the geese and they took up many acres on the grasslands and adjoining meres.

It was quite a spectacle to witness.As well as the thousands of wings in the air,it was wonderful to hear the sounds made by the throngs of geese as they headed for their winter quarters on the mosslands of south west Lancs.Of course I was kept busy with the camera and I have tried to capture some of the excitement of this mass arrival.Nothing though can compare with actually being there and there is still time to witness this annual spectacle.I don't think the full quota has yet arrived and more settled weather later this week should bring in more birds.As well as the pinkfooted geese the whooper swans are also due to arrive from Iceland and again although in lesser numbers than the geese they still provide a wonderful spectacle at this time of the year.

Thanks for looking in and hope you enjoy my efforts below at trying to capture the arrival of the geese.It could be a busy time coming up as my next assignment is to photograph the red deer rut at a nature reserve in the Lake District. So call in again  for more accounts and images from my travels.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

More Greenshanks etc

This week I visited Leighton Moss again.Paul Foster came with me and we were hoping for good opportunities for the camera with Leighton's waders.The weather was not good and as we travelled up the motorway it didn't look like improving.On our arrival at the Eric Morecambe hide we found we had it to ourselves,the very damp and windy weather was keeping people at home.Both marsh pools had very little water and in fact the Allen pool was just a sea of mud.One of the RSPB staff came to take pictures of the muddy pools and then left us to it.

The birds didn't mind the large expanses of mud and we were to enjoy a wonderful day's photography with the many birds on show from the Eric Morecambe hide.We had only just sat down when a number of greenshanks were showing just feet away in front of the hide.This was to be the pattern for the time we were there and we were treated to some great photographic opportunities for the camera.

It was interesting watching the feeding antics of the greenshanks as they ran through the water at speed and did some synchronised fishing.Image seven below shows this group action.There were around twenty greenshanks present and they provided some great images as they performed for the camera. There were also a good number of little egrets which were also busy catching fish.Again they made perfect subjects as they showed off their plumage and fishing skills.We finished the session with a very brief but exciting view of a water rail.This was spotted by another birder and Paul and I just managed a few record shots before it vanished back into the reed bed.

All in all then a wonderful day out at Leighton Moss despite the weather.Of course the sun came out as we made the journey back home along the motorway.It didn't matter as the memory cards had been filled with some excellent images from Leighton Moss.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more from my travels.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Hobbies...Brockholes Nature Reserve

This last week has seen me visiting a local nature reserve to observe and try and obtain images of hobbies The pleasant warm and settled weather continued and provided perfect conditions for the birds hawking the lakes and woods of Brockholes. On my first visit  on a warm and sunny afternoon there was plenty of activity from raptors and birdwatchers.
There were seven hobbies present,a number of buzzards,sparrowhawk and peregrine.We all enjoyed superb views of the birds flying over the woodlands and lakes at Brockholes.I had of course taken my camera gear and was anxious to try and capture some images particularly of the hobbies.I had seen my very first hobby at Brockholes back in 2008,a juvenile bird which stayed for two weeks or more.I had also just purchased my first telephoto lens,a500mm Nikon.I managed some good images of the hobby and was pleased with my venture into the world of serious bird photography.

Time has of course moved on and it was very nice to catch up with hobbies again.I made two visits to Brockholes and came away with hundreds of images the best of which are shown above.Also I managed some shots of the buzzards which were also patrolling the warm and sunny skies.The hobbies were not easy to photograph as they flew around at great speed and constantly changed direction in their pursuit of dragonflies which they catch and eat in mid air.

Hope you enjoy my efforts at photographing these wonderful little falcons.I have also shown yours truly in action and a shot of the general area of the lakes and woodlands where most of the action took place.Since then the weather has turned very Autumnal and I would think the hobbies have moved on further south as they begin their long migrations.I look forward to more encounters with these beautiful dashing little falcons next year. Thanks for looking in and next time I will have more images from Leighton Moss.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Greenshanks..Leighton Moss

I recently visited Leighton Moss to see what waders were present at the Morecambe and Allen pools.This is often a good time to have nice close up views of waders as they stop off to refuel on their long migration journeys south.I was particularly looking forward to seeing greenshanks.This elegant wader often appears in good numbers at Leighton Moss at this time of the year.A check on the internet did in fact confirm good double figure numbers of greenshanks down at the marsh pools.

It was a nice still and warm day and the light was ideal for photography.As usual the Morecambe hide was busy with birders and it was nice to catch up with people I hadn't seen for some time.Eventually some greenshank appeared close to the hide and I was kept busy with the camera.As well as the greenshank and many redshank, little egrets and snipe also performed for the camera.The results from my efforts are shown below.

One interesting observation was to see one of the greenshanks taking what I thought at first were fish.However later at home it was evident that what it was feeding on was squid.The greenshank with a squid in it's beak can be seen in the sixth image.Whether this is a well known item of food or not for waders I don't know but maybe one of my readers can enlighten me.The Eric Morecambe pool is of course not far from the sea and is flooded from time to time by some of Morecambe Bay's high tides.A new drainage system has also been recently installed at the marsh pools and this may also account for squid being present.All in all a very interesting day out at Leighton Moss and nice to catch up with the greenshanks.Thanks for looking in and next time I may have more interesting images from nearer to home.