Thursday, 29 May 2014

An Away Day

Most of my photography takes place in Lancashire and particularly this year in Bowland.So this week I decided on a change of venue and I traveled up to the Lake District to visit Hay Bridge Nature Reserve.Hay Bridge is situated in the heart of the Rusland Valley between Windermere and Coniston.I had visited previously but had not returned since I fell into a bog there a few years ago.This had been a bad experience and I was lucky to return unscathed but I did manage to write off a camera which never recovered from its soaking in mud and water.Thankfully it was insured and was replaced with a similar model.

So it was this week that I returned on a pleasant day which remained dry and warm during my stay. On arrival I chatted to Keith the warden to catch up on developments at Hay Bridge.I asked him where I could possibly see grass snakes which I knew where present on the reserve. He took me to show me where they lived in a sort of compost heap close to his house.He lifted up a tarpaulin covering the vegetation and there was my first grass snake. I was thrilled and took as many images as I could before he covered it up again. Also hiding there were a couple of slow worms,a legless lizard which I hadn't seen for many years.

This was a great start to my time at Hay Bridge and the rest of the afternoon was spent taking in the wonderful views and watching red and roe deer from the beautifully situated Coppice Wood  and Byron's Hides.All to soon it was time to head back from this remote and very special place but I will certainly return very soon for more wildlife encounters.

On the way back I visited Humphrey Head a limestone outcrop near Grange-over-Sands .This a well known spot to see peregrine falcons which have nested on the cliffs there for a number of years.I understand the falcons haven't nested this year but I managed to find one bird on the rocky headland and managed to grab some images in the lovely evening light.Again another place I will return to at a future date.So all in all I had enjoyed a wonderful day out away from my familiar haunts back home.Some images from the day are shown above .The grass snake,slow worm,red and roe deer and some of the wonderful scenery of the Rusland Valley and the peregrine at Humphrey Head. Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more of my travels.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

A Week In Bowland

I am finding it difficult recently to stay away from Bowland.It has I think become one of my favourite areas and this last week has once more seen me visiting this lovely part of Lancashire on a regular basis.The weather this week has been wonderful with warm days and plenty of sunshine and nature has responded with a show of green as woodland and fields took on those lovely spring colours.

I have been out early mornings and again in the evenings as these are the best times to catch up with the wildlife.One of the days was spent up in the Bowland fells with my friend and fellow photographer Paul Foster.Paul and I met up very early on what promised to be another warm and sunny day.We enjoyed looking for brown hares and Paul was able to add some nice images to his portfolio.As the day began to warm up we visited a location where we had previously seen adders.After much searching we eventually found one very lively individual. We followed it through the bracken and were able to get some reasonable images.Following this we spent the rest of the day walking up into the fells to look for some of the iconic birds of these wild fells.We managed to get within camera range of stonechats and whinchats which delighted us as they flitted about the heathery slopes. Another of Bowland's special birds is the ring ouzel.There were one or two about but it was not possibe to photograph these very shy summer visitors.Throughout the day a  distant cuckoo was heard but never seen.After our safari into the hills we returned to the cars well satisfied with a magnificent day out up in the Bowland fells.

It took me a day or so to recover from the safari into the hills and I returned to my more leisurely approach as I spent the evenings driving around the quiet lanes and backroads.Once again I had enjoyable sessions photographing curlews ,snipe,roe deer and of course brown hares. I have spent many hours this spring with these beautiful animals and have added more nice images to my portfolio.I have shown above a selection of images from the week with stonechat,whinchat ,wheatear and curlew. More brown hare images are shown as are a couple of landscape images from Longridge Fell. One of these a very early morning shot showing the mist below in the vale of Chipping and the other the sunset from the fell looking over Dilworth Reservoir .Hope you enjoy this week's selection and thanks for looking in.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Brown Hares

It has been a week of daily and heavy showers,and is still very showery as I post this blog.Yesterday the heavy showers relented and I was able to get out for a couple of hours for an evening drive around Bowland's quiet lanes.On this occasion I didn't see any deer or owls but there were a few brown hares enjoying the dry weather and enjoying the fresh meadow grasses.

I found a couple of hares feeding close to the road up above Whitewell and I spent some time observing and photographing them.One of the hares had a piece of it's right ear missing probably as a result of an attack by a fox or possibly from fighting with another hare.Both hares spent some time washing and sprucing themselves up after the day's heavy rain.It was like watching a cat washing itself and made for some different images.The best from the evening are shown above and I will be out and about again soon to add to my growing collection of brown hare images.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Bowland Mix

I have returned to Bowland yet again this week to catch up with the wildlife.I have been out mainly in the evenings and driven round the usual back roads and quiet lanes of this special part of Lancashire.The usual birds that make Bowland their summer home are now becoming more abundant and it is wonderful to hear and see curlews and lapwings displaying over their chosen territory.Brown hares are still also showing well and can almost be guaranteed to pose for the camera at certain locations.

The one surprise this week was the sighting of a tawny owl late evening as it perched in a tree not far from the roadside. I got into a position where I could use the big lens from out of the car window and managed to get some reasonable images. It was difficult not to find a few branches obscuring parts of the owl but I was very happy with the result.The tawny owl is one bird I had never photographed before and this was an ideal opportunity to try for some images for the portfolio.I will be returning to the area and hopefully catch up with the owl again.

I have shown above the best of the owl images and also other wildlife seen on my travels.Birds in Bowland like to perch on  walls and fenceposts and I was lucky with a nice wheatear perched just a few yards from the car.Also posing nicely was a redshank ,pied wagtail and an oystercatcher. I have also included a shot of one of many bluebell woods seen recently,they are now at their very best for colour and perfume and make any journey memorable through the Lancashire countryside in this wonderful month of May.