Monday, 31 October 2011

High Tide Surprise

Last week Martin and I visited Rossall Point at Fleetwood to watch the waders roosting at high tide.There had been a series of ten metre tides and this combined with a good weather forecast would mean that Rossall Point should provide ideal conditions for some good photography. Ed Roper from the famous Wigan 10 camera club was already in position when we arrived and we had a nice chat before settling down to photograph the waders.

It was very quiet to begin with and only a handful of sanderling and turnstone were present. Thankfully as the big tide came in more waders were displaced from further along the coast and they arrived in good numbers on the beach in front of us.It was very enjoyable photographing the birds as they jostled for the best roosting spots as the big tide pushed in.The sanderlings in particular fluttered in the air before settling down to roost and gave some great opportunities for the cameras.

The great surprise of the day came as a snow bunting suddenly dropped onto the sand right in front of the lenses and we hurriedly took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to grab some images before it departed. It came back very briefly and gave us a few more chances before joining up with another snow bunting and they both headed up the coast towards Fleetwood. Snow buntings are uncommon visitors to the Lancashire coastline and we were definitely in the right place at the right time to take advantage of this great opportunity.

The tide was on the turn and we decided to move on to Blackpool to view the starling roost at Marton Mere. Again we enjoyed an excellent time at the mere and did witness thousands of starlings coming into the roost. Hopefully we will return to Marton Mere to obtain more images of this great spectacle and this will be reported in a future blog. Hope my readers enjoy the images above of the wonderful day at Rossall Point. The images are of the sanderlings and one or two of other waders present notably ringed plover and turnstone. The blog is headed by a couple of images of the bird of the day,the snow bunting which briefly graced us with it's presence.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Return Visit

For this week's visit I returned to Leighton Moss where Martin,Geoff and myself had a good day with the cameras last week.I started off at the Allen and Morecambe hides and was joined by Dave Cookson and Steve Dolan who had been at Leighton Moss since the early hours but had not seen much. It was indeed very quiet and Dave and Steve decided to move to Fleetwood for the remainder of the day.I stayed put but went onto the main part of the reserve to see what was about.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there were lots of visitors to the reserve. My first port of call was to the grit trays hoping for a sighting of the bearded tits but none showed whilst I was there.A very nice buzzard however showed above the causeway as it enjoyed the ideal flying conditions and I managed a few shots as it soared off into the blue.Next I spent time at the public hide and was again rewarded with some shots of a sparrowhawk soaring overhead.On next to the Lower Hide for a hoped for sighting of the otters which have recently been showing well but I was out of luck again. However on the way there I spotted a group of red deer feeding in a field on the edge of the reserve.My timing was spot on as a magnificent stag suddenly appeared and I was kept busy with the camera capturing the action of this family group of red deer.

Later I returned to the coastal hides and by late afternoon the light was perfect and there were more waders present than there had been in the morning.For the next hour or so I enjoyed these ideal conditions and managed some nice shots of greenshanks,lapwings and one or two snipe that were still around.The sun had almost set as I left and starlings and fieldfares were coming into roost. Close to the car park were a group of roe deer but I was not quick enough with the camera before they were frightened away by two passing trains. All in all a splendid day with good weather and some memorable sightings of red deer. Images of the buzzard,sparrowhawk,red deer and waders at the Eric Morecambe Hide are shown above.Hope you enjoy my account and images from a super day at Leighton Moss.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Mainly Snipe

Last week's weather had been very wet with days of persistent rain. At last towards the end of the week things began to improve and Martin and I decided on a trip to Leighton Moss. I had not visited " The Moss " for some time and was looking forward to a good day out. We later met up with Geoff and we toured the hides both on the main reserve and down on the coast. There was plenty of variety and in particular good numbers of waders were present at the Morecambe Hide.
For this post I have concentrated on the waders and particularly the snipe which were present in good numbers at the Eric Morecambe Hide. I had not seen snipe up close for a long time and this was an ideal opportunity to obtain some images for the portfolio. Also present were a few spotted redshank and again they presented great photographic opportunities as they fed close to the hide.Other waders included a good number of knot,a bird I had never seen before at Leighton Moss plus lots of redshank,lapwings and some black tailed godwits all feeding close to the hide. Martin,Geoff and myself were kept very busy with the cameras and we went away very pleased with the results.
We did have a look round the main part of the reserve hoping for a sighting of an otter but were unlucky as they had been seen prior to our arrival at the Lower Hide. A visit to the Griezdale Hide also proved fruitless in looking for red deer stags which could be heard roaring around the reserve as they warmed up for the rut. One bonus was a first sighting for Martin and Geoff of a couple of bearded tits as they visited the grit trays on the public causeway. All in all it had been a super day at Leighton Moss and I hope my readers enjoy the images above which are mainly of snipe with a couple of the spotted redshanks. More will hopefully follow when I visit again and maybe next time the red deer stags will be on show to delight the visitors.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Slavonian at Fairhaven

The marine lake at Lytham St Annes came up trumps again this week with another uncommon visitor to the lake. A slavonian grebe had dropped in to spend a few day's feeding up before departing for it's winter feeding grounds. This followed on from the grey phalarope, another uncommon visitor which had recently delighted many obsevers and photographers during it's stay.
The slavonian grebe was another very approachable bird and once again was providing many photographic opportunities for the local bird photographers. I went along on the third day of it's stay as conditions promised to be better following more very disturbed weather. I spent most of the day in the company of other photographers at Fairhaven and we all enjoyed excellent conditions as the blue skies and sunshine eventually arrived.
The grebe was feeding well and most of the time seemed to be catching shrimps in between spells of preening and patrolling along a favoured part of the lake close to the RSPB Discovery Centre.It was a very enjoyable afternoon's session and I think all of the photographers present went home very pleased with the results. I have shown above my efforts and have mostly shown images from when the sun appeared, which helped to bring out the colours and highlight the wonderful red eye of the slavonian grebe. A general view of Fairhaven Lake is shown and also an image of local photographer Martin ,checking his images in front of the RSPB Discovery Centre. Hope you enjoy looking at my efforts with the camera. The Lancashire coastline is currently enjoying a spell of excellent birds visiting the area and I look forward to the next one.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Pictures From The Coast

As mentioned in my last blog this week's very warm weather meant I spent a few days out with the camera. The super weather coincided with some big tides and the coast was my choice of destination to look for waders at high tide. I decided on a couple of visits to Marshside RSPB and adjoining coastline as I had previously enjoyed some excellent days there with plenty of variety in birds seen.
Both visits produced similar results as I firstly concentrated on finding and photographing waders as they roosted at high tide, followed by visits to Nel's hide at Marshside where the excellent afternoon light would be good to photograph the action in front of the hide. On my second visit I enjoyed the company of Brian Wilby, a friend who lives nearby, who I had not seen for sometime . Brian was keen to see the wader spectacular at high tide and I don't think he was disappointed and we enjoyed an interesting afternoon together. Also there were photographers, Dave Cookson, Steve Dolan and John Power and we all enjoyed the ideal conditions from Nel's hide.
I have selected a few images from many that were taken and hope the selection gives my readers an idea what a great variety of birds can be seen along the Lancashire coastline at this time of the year. The images from the roosts show some of the impressive numbers of knot present and an image I was pleased with of hundreds of oystercatchers dropping into the roost. Some nice close ups of feeding dunlin were obtained as the birds allowed a very close approach as they fed along the end of the old sand road out from Marshside. I was lucky to photograph three bar tailed godwits,one still in breeding plumage,as they paused briefly before departing for their roosting spot.The images from Nel's hide show black tailed godwits about to take off and a close up flight shot of one bird close to the hide. Finally a couple of wing stretching shots of lapwing and wigeon as they bathed and preened in the wonderful very warm and sunny weather. Hope you enjoy this selection and I look forward to more suitable weather next week when I can once more get out to capture tge action.