Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Walk On The Wild Side

It was impossible to go out this week without getting caught in the rain. The mornings were mostly fine but by afternoon the clouds and rain moved in. This pattern of weather seems to have been present now for most of May.This is very frustrating for a photographer as he has to take care of his expensive equipment and protect it from the elements. Undeterred I did manage to get out with a couple of trips to The Forest of Bowland , a part of Lancashire which is still unspoilt and wild, and where you can still drive on traffic free roads far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Yesterday found me in a remote unfrequented part of Bowland as I set off to explore a valley that I hadn't visited for many years. Just after leaving the car I was checked out by a male stonechat who had a family close by and was anxious to see me on my way. I did however have time to take some images of this very handsome fellow before going on my way. Further up the valley were more stonechats busy feeding young in their nests hidden in the heather. A few red grouse were spooked but the hoped for bird, the whinchat, didn't show I understand this valley has a few pairs but they were keeping low on this visit.
The highlight of the week however came later as I was checking out a rocky area which looked like a suitable spot for ring ouzel. I didn't see ring ouzel but watching me from a rocky outpost was a peregrine falcon. She probably had a nest close by as the male bird was also in attendance. They were not happy at me being in the vicinity. I managed one or two shots before leaving these magnificent birds to enjoy the solitude of this wild spot. The weather had also taken a turn for the worse and steady rain was now falling and I had to make the long walk back to the car and civilisation. A ring ouzel was briefly seen on the way back and I think I heard a whinchat in song. I will have to return to this remote valley to look for these species and hopefully better weather will also return . The images show the female peregrine, and a couple of the very handsome male stonechat.