Monday, 15 December 2014

Pilling Whoopers

There has been a taste of winter recently with a dusting of snow on the fell tops and icy and frosty mornings.For a while now there has been a flock of well over one hundred whooper swans at Eagland Hill,Pilling. I decided therefore to try and capture some images of these winter visitors.I had a couple of brief afternoon visits when the light was at its best.All the images were taken from the comfort of the car and I was hoping to capture the birds in flight as they went to roost. The swans were feeding on the remains of a potato crop which was lying all over the very wet and muddy field.

From about 2pm some of the swans decided to leave and gave me the opportunity to grab some flight shots. I decided to leave around 3pm and on the way back home I had a very brief view of a barn owl. I had not seen any barn owls for a long time. I understand they have had an excellent breeding season in the Pilling and Cockerham area.I will certainly be back again to hopefully obtain more images of  these very special birds.This could be my last posting before Christmas and if so may I wish all my followers a very happy festive season.Thanks for looking in.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Gathering Of Goosanders

Don't think there is a collective noun for a group of goosanders but I think a gathering sounds about right. Around this time of the year Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve at Rufford plays host to numbers of goosanders. This is no doubt due to the healthy population of fish to be found in the meres at the reserve. So it was this week that I visited Mere Sands mid week on a couple of occasions when the weather was excellent. Following early frost the days turned out to be lovely and sunny with little or no wind and feeling very pleasant in the sun.

There were sixteen goosanders present enjoying the winter sunshine.From a photographic point of view they were not easy to approach and for the most part kept well away from the hides. The long lens came in very handy and I was able to obtain some reasonable images of these handsome birds.I didn't see them catch any fish and they spent most of their time preening and enjoying the very nice weather.

I have posted above my better images from the day and I may return in due course to see if I can do better. Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend. Looks like a taste of winter might be on the cards. More from Lancashire's wildlife soon. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Martin Mere and Mitch

A week ago I visited the annual Bird Fair at Martin Mere. On the way I called to see some cats at a rescue centre at Tarleton.One of the cats "Mitch" is now living with me.Mitch is a lively young cat and will certainly keep me on my toes as he settles in.An image of Mitch is shown above

I always enjoy a visit to the Bird Fair meeting up with fellow birdwatchers and photographers and enjoying looking at the various stalls selling books,holidays,artwork and so on.There was just time later in the day to pay a quick visit to the Swan Link Hide to see the birds on show .Lots of whooper swans are now present and they are fed daily giving nice close views. I didn't have my usual big lens with me and the images above were taken with a small compact camera. I was pleased with the images of the ruff showing the lovely plumage highlighted by the setting sun.The sunset too was memorable and made a nice ending to a good day out.Thanks for looking in and I hope to get out and about again soon.

Friday, 21 November 2014

A Better Week

After last week's upsets this week has been much better.I am thinking of getting another cat and have been to look at some currently residing at the Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary at St.Annes.

On the wildlife front Tuesday was a very pleasant day with light winds and sunshine.I decided on a visit to Yarrow Valley Country Park near Chorley.I had noticed that the regular kingfisher was appearing daily and would hopefully provide some opportunities for the camera.On arrival at the fishing spot the kingfisher prefers ,the news was that it had been showing well but had departed. However there was not long to wait for it's return and myself and the other assembled photographers were then treated to it posing for the next three quarters of an hour or so.We all  " filled our boots " with many images and some video of the lovely male kingfisher.The spot it chooses to visit is unfortunately in a dark gulley and makes for difficult photography to obtain the correct exposures and shutter speeds.I am however quite pleased with the results and my better efforts are posted above.

The three jays have also been visiting my garden on a daily basis for peanuts I have put out for them.Again giving great opportunities for the camera and photographed from my bedroom window.They do seem to take peanuts like there is no tomorrow and will be stashing them away for when the colder weather arrives.Again a few more images above of these colourful but very shy birds.Thanks for looking in and hopefully more next week from Lancashire's wildlife.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Sad Week

It has not been the happiest of weeks for me this week.I have sadly lost my companion,my lovely cat Molly. Molly has been a wonderful pet and friend for the last fourteen years and will be very much missed.She passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday.A few images are shown above of Molly in happier times.

On a lighter note I have been visited on a regular basis this week by three jays.They have been coming for the peanuts I have put out for them.They gave me some nice opportunities for shots with the camera.These normally very shy and difficult to photograph birds certainly brightened up what has been a difficult week.A few images of the jays are shown above.Thanks for looking in and hopefully I will return to normal soon and post more of Lancashire's wildlife. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Swans Are Back

This week on one of the better days,dry and bright,for a change,I visited Martin Mere.On my last visit some weeks ago there were no whooper swans present.With the recent change in the weather with more typical autumnal weather, the swans have now left their breeding grounds in Iceland. I understand the whoopers have had an excellent breeding season and are now arriving in family parties at their favoured wintering grounds.

Martin Mere is one of their favoured ares of the country. As well as left over potatoes,carrots etc remaining in the fields of West Lancashire they are fed on a daily basis with grain at Martin Mere. There are now close on one thousand whooper swans in the area and it was a delight to catch up with these special winter visitors. I enjoyed myself with the camera trying for some nice flight shots as the swans flew in from the surrounding areas.

I have shown my efforts above  and have also shown a flock of teal taking flight as they were harried by a passing marsh harrier. Thanks for looking in and let's hope for some better weather for the weekend,it is currently pouring down as I write my blog.