Monday, 25 April 2016

Grebe Portraits

I have recently spent many hours at a local nature reserve photographing and observing great crested grebes. These special birds have to be one of my very favourites.At this time of the year there is much to see and photograph at the grebe's lakeside home.It is a very busy time for the grebes as they go about their daily fishing duties and from time to time courtship and mating rituals occupy their time.

I have already posted accounts and images of the grebes fishing and performing their spectacular courtship and mating rituals.This time I am showing some of the many close up images I have taken of the grebes.At this particular location they can come very close to the hide in their quest for some of the many fish inhabiting this rich lake.They have therefore provided many opportunities for the camera as they posed between dives.

Hope you like this week's selection of images as much as I did in taking them.The weather looks set fair again this week although it is still on the cold side and many of the summer migrants have yet to arrive.I will therefore be out and about again this week to bring you more of Lancashire's super wildlife action.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the week.












Saturday, 9 April 2016

Ospreys Return















It is that time of the year when ospreys return from their winter quarters in West Africa.I had heard that about a week ago the birds had been arriving back in the Lake District and most of the nesting sites had already been occupied.I was keen therefore to renew my acquaintance with these magnificent birds.

Last year I had been fortunate to have access to one of the breeding locations in the south of the Lake District and it was to this area that I returned on Tuesday.Having set up the camera about 200yards away from the nest I was ready to photograph any action from the birds.I was concealed deep in the forest and was hidden from the birds and in camouflage so as not to disturb the birds.The pair of ospreys duly arrived at the nest site after about an hour or so and began mating .This was wonderful to watch as these two magnificent birds performed their duties on the nest.The male bird was perched on the back of the female and his huge wings were outspread as mating continued for about a minute or so.This was to be repeated later in the afternoon.I understand that this can occur between 160-190 times prior to the eggs being laid.The camera was kept very busy during the action as I fired off many shots using a remote to fire the shutter.

After the mating had taken place the male bird flew off and returned with sticks and grass to build up the nest.It had been a wonderful afternoon watching and recording the action from the pair of ospreys.I had been very privileged indeed to witness the bonding of this returning pair of ospreys.A subsequent visit later in the week was to prove very disappointing .I discovered that the pair of ospreys had decided to move to another location situated on the lakeside,one they had used in previous years.Viewing the ospreys at the new location was difficult as they were a long way away and close views were not possible.I am told that this has happened before and that the ospreys may return to their first choice of nest site. I sincerely hope so and look forward to more encounters with these magnificent birds.Thanks for looking in and stay tuned for more from my travels.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Return To Bowland

This last week has seen me returning to Bowland. I hadn't visited this lovely part of Lancashire for some time. I was anxious to see if the waders that breed up in the hills had returned to their breeding grounds.I did see some curlews,lapwings and oystercatchers on territory and it was lovely to hear again the cry of the curlew.Not a lot of birds were present but there is time yet for them to return especially as warmer weather is expected soon.Red Grouse also appeared thin on the ground but there were enough birds present for me to get some nice images from the car as I travelled Bowland's quiet byways. The highlight however was a kestrel which was hovering very close to the road as I drove over Longridge Fell.

The scenery as always was magnificent but was made more so by some dramatic cloudscapes.The clouds were building up over the higher mountains of Ingleborough and the Lake District.Some wintry showers had left some fresh snow over the highest land but it was the cloud formations that caught the eye.I took many images of the landscape and have shown a few which hopefully convey the wonderful clouds that were present on this drive through Bowland.Thanks for looking in and I will post again next week with more from my travels.











Saturday, 26 March 2016

Displaying and Mating Grebes

As mentioned in my previous post I am now posting more grebe images taken during this week.It was a privilege to spend time with the great crested grebes as they performed their exciting and elaborate courting and mating rituals.They never came really close at this time but were still at a reasonable range for the camera to record the action.Only on one of the days did they mate at the nest site but did so three times whilst I was present.I understand from staff at the nature reserve and from other people that have observed this pair of grebes over the years that they have never raised a family.There would therefore appear to be some sort of infertility problem.However they keep trying and maybe one year they may be successful.

Shown below are some of my better efforts from the week.I will no doubt be returning to the nature reserve in due course and may get lucky with images of the weed dance.I have witnessed it in previous years but it would be very nice to see it again. Thanks for looking in and enjoy the rest of the Easter break.