Sunday, 31 August 2014

Wader Watching

Followers of my blog will be aware that one of my favourite aspects of bird photography is large wader flocks.I never cease to be amazed by the sheer numbers of birds as they perform for the camera.Recently thousands of waders have returned to the Lancashire coastline from their Arctic breeding grounds.So it was that I returned to an area of the coast near Southport where large flocks of wading birds can be guaranteed on a high tide.

On the day of my visit the tide was over nine metres and was backed by a strong westerly wind which all helped to push the birds towards the waiting camera.There were indeed thousands of waders present consisting of knot,dunlin,godwits, sanderling and oystercatchers.I was kept busy with two lenses,the 500mm for close up shots and the 70-200 for flight and  group shots.Many of the birds,particularly the knot and bar tailed godwits still had hints of bright breeding plumage on show and looked fine in the warm afternoon sunshine.

At one point a peregrine falcon appeared to harass the flocks.I didn't see it take any prey but it did force the birds into tight formation flocks to try and avoid capture.I have shown above some scenes from the beach but nothing can compare with actually being there to witness this spectacular display.I now eagerly await the next series of high tides when I will once again be at one of my favourite wildlife locations.Thanks for looking in and hope to be back soon with more of Lancashire's wonderful wildlife.  

Friday, 29 August 2014

Another Kingfisher

This week I spent a very pleasant afternoon on the River Wyre at St Michaels waiting for a kingfisher to show.I had visited previously to see the part of the river that the kingfisher occupied and decided on a strategy to try and obtain some images.I therefore set up the camera and tripod opposite a pool used by the kingfisher and waited and waited for the bird to show.

The kingfisher did fly past me a few times but never stopped in the area where I had set up camp.I knew when it was in the vicinity when I heard it's sharp call.The best opportunity arose when I went to talk to a nearby fisherman and the kingfisher flew in and perched directly opposite the camera.I was too slow and the bird flew into a nearby willow bush overhanging the water.It was obscured by vegetation but I did manage a few shots before it departed.

Despite waiting for five hours or so this was to be my only opportunity.This however is wildlife photography and I will be back to this delightful spot on the Wyre to catch up with the kingfisher
A few images are shown above from the afternoon,certainly not my best shots of a kingfisher but I know next time I will hopefully get those wonderful close ups in good light.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Long Time No See

It had indeed been sometime since I had seen a kingfisher.They now only seem to visit Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve occasionally .This used to be a very reliable place to see these colourful and delightful little birds.There had however been recent reports that kingfishers were showing well at the Ron Barker Hide at Martin Mere .So yesterday afternoon that was my plan of action to visit Martin Mere to catch up with kingfishers.

I duly arrived and visited Tony Disley at the In Focus shop.Tony had obtained some recent video of the kingfishers and later I caught up with Susan and Peter Wilson who had just been watching and photographing the kingfishers.They were therefore still showing well and I was to spend the next couple of hours or so at the Ron Barker Hide.

It was a very pleasant afternoon and from time to time the kingfishers would put in an appearance perching alongside the ditch in front of the hide.I managed some reasonable images and a selection are shown above.It was nice to see these lovely birds again and it was a very enjoyable with good weather and good company and everyone enjoyed the sightings of these special birds.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more of Lancashire's wildlife.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Quiet Week

I haven't been out much this last week with the camera.A new bike has taken precedence and I have been keeping fit with bike rides around the Guild Wheel and a much tougher ride over Longridge Fell and back via the Ribble Valley. I did manage another visit to the terns at Preston Marina and a few more images of these lovely birds are shown above.
I have also shown a couple of butterflies seen on my travels. The small copper is a stunning little butterfly and one I don't come across very often. Likewise the wall brown, a nicely marked butterfly and again one I was very pleased to find on my travels. That's all for now but hopefully in the coming days I will visit the coast as some big tides are due and some of the Arctic breeding waders will be returning.Some of them possibly still in breeding plumage and it will be nice to see them again as they return to the Lancashire coastline to spend the winter months with us. Thanks for looking in

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A Success Story

In 2009 a pair of common terns were successful in breeding on a pontoon at the former Preston Dock, now Preston Marina.Following this Fylde Bird Club introduced artificial nest sites on the pontoons.These were created using gravel filled tyres and slate shelters on the pontoons.Since then the colony has gone from strength to strength.This year 2014 I understand there are well over a hundred nests which have produced over one hundred chicks.

It is a great place to visit with the camera as there is constant action with the common terns coming in to feed their young.The fish come from the nearby River Ribble and the terns fish the tidal river all the way down to the estuary at Lytham.They also travel inland to catch fish on the Lancaster canal.I have visited on a few occasions over the years but had not visited for some time.I therefore made a couple of evening visits this week and found plenty of action to photograph.

Some birds had fledged and flown but other terns still had very young chicks to feed and these families kept me busy with the camera.I have shown above a few images of the action and also a view from the Marina looking back to Preston and St Walburg's church where once again peregrine falcons have also been successful in rearing  young. Soon the terns will depart on their long migrations to the African Continent and I wish them well until hopefully they all return again next summer.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend.