Friday, 31 July 2015

Ready To Fly

Followers of my blog will know that I have spent a considerable amount of time recently in the Lake District photographing and observing ospreys.Ospreys are slowly but surely moving into the area and this year there have been at least five occupied nesting sites.The ones at Bassenthwaite and Foulshaw are well known and even have excellent close circuit cameras covering all the activity at the nest.These two sites have produced five young ospreys and the ones at Foulshaw have just fledged and are now flying free in the area.

I have been very fortunate to have access to another site at a secret location in a beautiful forested area of Southern Lakeland.I visited this week aware that the three young ospreys at this site would very soon be leaving the confines of the nest .The site was approached carefully and quietly so as not to disturb the birds.I was hidden behind a wall and in camouflage and during my ninety minutes or so I was able to take many images of the young ospreys.

There was much wing stretching and flapping going on and the birds seemed restricted by the confines of the nest.From time to time the larger of the youngsters would flap vigorously and be airborne for a few seconds before landing back on the nest.The smaller osprey wasn't as active and seemed crowded out by his larger siblings.His time will come when the other two have left the nest and are flying free. I would think that all three will be leaving the nest in the next week. They will remain close by and the parents will still return with fish for them.I will probably return for a last look before they all leave on their long journeys to West Africa.Hopefully all the birds will return in subsequent years to continue their expansion into the Lake District.I am looking forward to their return to learn more about these very special birds.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Swallows and Ospreys

You may have heard of Swallows and Amazons,a famous book by the author Arthur Ransome.This was one of a series of children's adventure stories based around the author's experiences of living in the Lake District.I have called this weeks blog Swallows and Ospreys as I too have been having my own adventures in the Lake District.

Ospreys are now becoming well established in the Lake District and this year have raised young at five known sites.   This week I visited a recently discovered future nesting site near to where Arthur Ransome spent many happy years.He is buried  nearby alongside his wife in a beautifully situated local churchyard.This latest site is being visited on a regular basis by a pair of young ospreys.They are not yet ready to produce young but are showing great interest in the nest site and are bringing in sticks and branches to build up the nest construction.All being well next season may see this site occupied and the ospreys continuing their expansion in the area.

I have shown above some of the many images I have taken recently. These show particularly the new possible future nesting site and the lovely location where it is sited.Although distant ( I was probably about six hundred yards away ) there were excellent views of the ospreys as they explored the area.In keeping with Arthur Ransome's title I have also included some images I took of swallows which although late in the season appeared to be mating and were showing interest in nesting nearby. It has been such a cold summer and maybe there is still time for the swallows to raise a brood.Thanks for looking in and you can be sure I will be reporting again soon from this lovely part of the Lake District.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Drama at the Docks

It had been a month since my last visit to the tern colony at Preston Docks.A month ago most of the terns were still sitting on eggs but things had really moved on. There were young birds flying around but mostly the young terns were still grounded and were exercising their small wings and would soon be airborne.A couple of birds were still sitting on eggs and other youngsters were in various stages of development.

As usual at the colony there was much going on and it was difficult knowing where to point the lens for the best of the action.One very sad event whilst I was there was to see one of the chicks taken by one of the large gulls present.It had somehow fallen off the pontoon into the water and despite frantic efforts from it's parent it didn't make it back and was carried off by the marauding gull.

I have shown above this sad event plus the usual shots of parents returning with food for the hungry youngsters.Another unpleasant sight was to see one of the adult birds viciously attacking a helpless chick.Why this happens I am not sure and it is certainly a tough life growing up in a tern colony. I hope you enjoy my images of the various dramas which happen on a daily basis at this thriving tern colony. Thanks for looking in and I will return soon with more from my travels.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Up In The Blue

As the excellent weather continued last week I decided on another visit to the Cumbrian ospreys.It was very warm and I decided therefore to climb up into the forested hillsides  above the lake where there would be some refreshing breezes.It turned out to be a good decision as there were excellent views of four ospreys enjoying the excellent conditions as they spent the afternoon soaring and displaying up in the blue skies above.They would from time to time fly over the location where I was concealed keeping an eye on me in case I ventured anywhere near to where they were nesting deep in the forested hillside.

Buzzards and a sparrowhawk were also about but were seen off by the vigilant ospreys.I enjoyed the spectacle for a couple of hours or so.Then late afternoon  the ospreys decided it was time to go and look for food in some of the many lakes and tarns in the area .It had been a very interesting and enjoyable session and once again I managed a few images for my growing portfolio of osprey shots.Next time I visit the young should be well advanced and I look forward to some more action from these very special and iconic birds. Thanks for looking in and keep tuned for more from the Cumbrian ospreys.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Demoiselles and Ospreys

Continuing my quest for some decent osprey images this week found me once again in Cumbria.The weather had suddenly become very hot with record temperatures for July.It was perfect dragonfly weather so I combined a visit to the ospreys with a visit to a nearby beck which held a good population of the beautiful demoiselle. This stunning damselfly has a very restricted distribution in the North of England and is well worth seeking out at this time of the year.

It was good to see the beck was still occupied by these super looking insects.Despite the attention of horseflies I managed some reasonable images which are shown above.The stunning males look almost tropical as they flit about the bankside vegetation looking for the more sombre brown females.They do at times pose beautifully for the camera and I enjoyed the action at this lovely spot.

It was then on to the location where the ospreys are and I settled down by the lakeside awaiting some action.It was late afternoon before an osprey appeared and it was circling above the lake on the lookout for fish.It didn't catch anything from nearby and soon vanished from sight in it's quest for food.However in the brief time it appeared overhead I did manage some reasonable shots helped by good light from the very warm afternoon sun.I have shown above my best efforts on the day and they are an improvement on previous images.Well pleased I returned on the long journey home but I will be back for more encounters with these very special birds. Thanks for looking in and enjoy the current very summery weather at last.