Thursday, 18 February 2010
Mere and Moss
This week has seen me returning to West Lancashire.I have made a couple of visits to the inland mosslands to observe and photograph the barn owl, and to revisit Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve ,where I hadn't been since last year.
Mere Sands Wood was my first port of call and I found the car park almost full. I had forgotten it was half term and lots of mums, dads,grandparents and dogs were out enjoying the sunny but cold weather. The continuing very cold and freezing conditions meant that much of the open water was frozen but there were areas warmed by the sun that were still ice free. Birds were few and far between and the kingfishers, normally a big attraction at the reserve, were absent. They may have been elsewhere but may also have succumbed to the harsh winter, only time will tell. I did manage to photograph a very nice male goldeneye in between his dives into the icy water and a grey heron provided further opportunities as he stalked his prey at the lakeside.
I moved on mid afternoon so as to be in position to hopefully photograph the barn owl as it hunted it's territory later on. I was nicely in position just after 3pm but the owl didn't show . The sun had gone and it had become very cold again. Eventually the owl did come out to hunt its territory and I was able to obtain some excellent shots, particularly of it perching up on fieldside fencing posts. From previous observations of the barn owl's movements I had found a better spot from which to photograph and this had paid off with some of my best images to date. I returned to the car cold but well satisfied with my excursion to West Lancashire and it's rich bird life. I am looking forward to more visits in hopefully warmer weather. I have posted images of the goldeneye and grey heron at Mere Sands Wood and the barn owl surveying his territory from a convenient vantage point.