Saturday, 15 September 2018

Owls Revisited

It was eight years since I had last seen Long Eared Owls up in the Pennine Hills.Paul Foster had found them and I was privileged to have seen this elusive owl hunting over it's territory up on the moors.Out of the blue Paul recently rang me to say he had been back to the location to discover that the Long Eared Owls were still about and also there was a barn owl in the vicinity.

So I met up with Paul around tea time and we travelled up to the location.I could not yet walk too far or over very rough ground so I parked myself at a gateway at the end of the track up onto the moors.Paul was behind a stone wall about a hundred yards away. We both had good views over the area where Paul had recently seen the owls hunting.It was a dry pleasant evening but was cool up on the moors.

Nothing much happened until around seven o'clock when Paul whistled to tell me he had spotted something.I couldn't see anything but then suddenly this barn owl appeared and was flying right towards me.I had difficulty locking onto the owl but eventually managed a couple of shots as it flew over my head.Unfortunately having seen me it backtracked and Paul wasn't able to get any shots.

Better was to come however when around 7.30pm an owl flew onto a fence post about seventy yards below me. It didn't see me and I fired off plenty of shots as it perched actively looking for prey.Once more Paul unfortunately didn't see the bird as it was below his line of sight and hidden from view.As we were packing up another long eared owl appeared on a fence post on a level with me and I very quickly managed a few shots.Paul was on his way back to me and couldn't focus quickly enough to get a shot. I understand he has since returned and got some images.Having shown the images to an expert he says these are two different birds,the paler one is a young bird probably from last year and the browner looking bird is an adult owl.I had been lucky to be in the right spot at the right time.Stay tuned for more wildlife from my camera and thanks for looking in.


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Back In Action

I am pleased to report that I am now mobile and back in action following recent surgery.I was looking forward to return to some of my favourite locations to catch up on the comings and goings.For my first visit I chose to go to Mere Sands Nature Reserve to hopefully see the kingfishers which I understand have had a good breeding season.

As expected the water levels were low after the long hot summer and the vegetation was very high and was almost obscuring the kingfisher posts at the Rufford Hide.Apart from a little egret and some young herons it was quiet.However the little egret was very actively hunting and gave some nice opportunities for action shots.

Around mid afternoon the kingfisher turned up and stayed in the vicinity for around an hour and despite the rank vegetation gave some nice opportunities for the camera.My better efforts are shown below but no doubt I will return to Mere Sands for more encounters.

I also managed a trip out to the waders at Ainsdale.The tide wasn't very high and I had to walk out to the birds.They were mostly sanderling scurrying along the tide line frantically feeding as only sanderlings do.It was very pleasant to be back at one of my favourite locations in the afternoon sun. A peregrine put in an appearance but was just passing through.A couple of little egrets were nice amongst the roosting oystercatchers and there was a small passage of sandwich terns.All in all it had been an excellent return to my wildlife photography and I hope that I now go from strength to strength.Thanks for looking in and I am sure I will have more to report soon.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

A Turn for the Better

I am recovering well following hip surgery and hope to be back to normal activities soon. The tern images below were obtained back at the beginning of June.I visited the tern colony at Preston Marina on the day after some of the chicks had hatched.
There is always plenty of action down at the Marina with the terns constantly on the go attending to  their youngsters.Hope you enjoy the attached images of feeding time for the terns.The final images with the chick and the colourful small carp were taken as the chick tried and tried to swallow the fish but it proved too much of a mouthful and eventually one of the parents ate it.I have not visited the terns since and probably most of them will now have fledged and departed South for Winter.I look forward to catching up with the terns when they return next Summer.
Thanks for looking in and hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Out Of Action

It is a month now since my last posting.I am presently recovering from hip surgery and it may be many weeks before I am able to get out and about again with the camera.To keep the blog alive I am therefore publishing a few images taken before I went into hospital Apart from the little owl they were all taken in Bowland.The pheasant,red legged partridge,brown hare and roe deer were all taken on an early morning sortie around Bowland's quiet lanes and back roads.The little owl is one discovered near Inskip and one I am keen to see again as it may now have young.The spotted flycatcher was photographed near Abbeystead in Bowland just before going into hospital.When next I visit the area the flycatcher and its young will probably be on their way to Africa for the winter.

Thanks very much for looking in and I hope to be mobile very soon and bring you more of Lancashire's wonderful wildlife.