Saturday, 29 March 2014

Leighton Harriers

Sounds a bit like an athletics club but I am in fact referring to Leighton Moss and its magnificent marsh harriers.It was quite some time since I had visited Leighton Moss and when I pulled into the car park I found it to be very busy.Undeterred I signed in and proceeded to visit Lilian's Hide.As usual here at this time of the year there were many black headed gulls disputing territorial rites on the small island.I spent some time there and then decided to move on to see what was about elsewhere.

Tim Jackson hide was next ,here was a nice assortment of wildfowl and a few snipe.This gave me some nice opportunities with the camera and I have shown above a snipe,teal and a shoveler all showing off their lovely plumages.Whilst at Tim Jackson I learnt that Marsh Harriers were showing well  from the Grizedale hide.So I headed off to see if I could catch up with the harriers.On the way to Grizedale the loud explosive call of a Cettis warbler could be heard.

On arrival at the Grizedale hide a number of big lenses were in operation firing off rapidly as the marsh harriers performed in front of the hide.I waited my turn to obtain a good spot and caught up with a fellow photographer whom I hadn't seen for some time.I eventually got into a good position looking over the reedbeds and the displaying harriers.It was a hectic half hour or so firing off many salvos of shots as the harriers flew and displayed close to the hide.It looks like they may be prospecting for suitable nest sites and we all look forward to the weeks ahead when hopefully the marsh harriers will be returning with nesting material and we hope they have another successful nesting season.I have shown above a selection of the many shots I took in this exciting session.Hope you enjoy the images of one of Leighton's iconic birds and thanks for looking in.      

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Frosty Hares

Yesterday morning found me out and about in some of my favourite areas of Bowland.I had decided on an early morning visit as I have found that this is the best time to observe the wildlife. My primary objective was the brown hare which can with a bit of luck be approached closely using the comfort of the car as a mobile hide.Yesterday morning was perhaps the coldest so far of what has been a very mild and very wet winter.

It was around -3degrees with a heavy frost adding to the beauty of this lovely part of Lancashire.I have shown above a couple of images of the vale of Chipping seen from on top of Longridge Fell and down at valley level showing the heavy frost whitening the fields.It was quite good for hares with a dozen or so seen on my travels around the quiet lanes and backroads of Bowland.I have shown a few images above of the brown hares and you will be able to see the ice on the hare's whiskers as they waited for the warmth of the early morning sun.I have also included a shot of one of the curlews which are now returning to these upland fields to breed. Hope you enjoy my selection from the first of what I hope are many early morning forays to see the wonderful and varied wildlife of Bowland.Thanks for looking in.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Wirral's Wonderful Waders

These last few months I have visited the Wirral to observe and photograph the huge flocks of waders that make the area their winter home.The numbers of waders present has not been as large as last year but nevertheless provided some memorable trips to witness the spectacle.I have posted previously in January on a couple of my visits but am now showing a few more images taken subsequently.
I visited on a couple of ten metre tides hoping for a close approach from the thousands of waders present.This didn't happen but a nice group of knot,dunlin and sanderling did come close and a bar tailed godwit was with them and I have shown the images above.At one point a splendid male sparrowhawk came dashing through looking for a victim but was not successful..I did manage a quick snap as he passed by.
I have enjoyed visiting the Wirral and am looking forward to the return of the waders this coming winter.
Hope you enjoy my selection of images of the Wirral wader spectacular and thanks for looking in.  

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Snakes..Frogs and an Owl

This week the weather has continued to be settled and warmer. With the warmer weather I decided on a visit to Bowland to see if the adders had emerged from hibernation. It proved to be a good decision as a couple of adders were spotted in one of their favourite areas. One of the snakes went back underground and didn't reappear but the other one stayed out for twenty minutes or so and gave some nice opportunities for the camera. With a careful approach I was able to get close to the snake and some of the images I managed are shown above.

Another day I visited the Pilling and Cockerham area looking for brown hares. The only two I saw were too distant for the camera but I am sure more opportunities will occur in the coming weeks.What was good however was a little owl posing and sunbathing by the roadside.The owl stayed around long enough to have it's portrait taken and heads this post.I have also shown some more images from my previous weeks visit to the spawning frogs. Stay tuned for more of my travels in the weeks to come and thanks for looking in.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Frantic Frogs

The weather has settled down this week and warmed up a little. Nature has responded and at last Spring does seem to have arrived.The population of frogs thinks so also, and this week I have been to a local pond to capture the annual spawning spectacle.
I visited a park which has a number of ponds and eventually I came across a corner of one of the ponds which was full of frogs and frogspawn.With a careful approach I was able to enter the water and set up a camera and tripod and obtain some nice images of the action.I also took some video as the sight and sounds of the dozens of frogs present was special and worth recording for future use.
I returned for a second visit and on this visit I donned my waders to enable me to get closer to the action. The frogs were not bothered by my presence and allowed a close approach and I was very pleased with the resulting images and video.I have shown above a small selection of some of the images I obtained  and hope you enjoy them .Toads will also be actively spawning around now and next week I may spend time looking for a suitable site to photograph them.
Thanks for looking in and I will hopefully add more images from my travels in due course.