Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Whoopers Are Back

This week I again visited Martin Mere.I found more whooper swans had arrived from Iceland and I think there are now around one hundred birds present. They are magnificent birds to watch and photograph and I got some nice images as they came into land in front of the Hale hide.A load of potatoes had been put down close to the hide and the swans and greylag geese were tucking in.I then moved on to the Ron Barker hide where there was plenty of coming and going from the hundreds of pinkfoots present.The kingfisher showed close to the hide and I managed one or two shots in the warm afternoon sun.The cloud moved in late afternoon and I decided on a move to the Harrier hide where I understood there was a large flock of starlings coming in to roost in the reedbeds. Around 4.30pm the birds began to gather and I got some more decent shots.This murmuration will be the subject of a future post. Hope you enjoy the images above of the swans and stay tuned for more from my travels.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

YVP and MM

Yarrow Valley Park and Martin Mere were the two locations I visited this week hoping for a sighting of a kingfisher.Yarrow Valley Country Park is a well known spot to see a kingfisher at close range.The kingfisher seems to appear at this time of the year and has a favourite fishing spot close to a footpath much used by walkers and dog walkers.On this occasion it didn't show but I understand it is around and hopefully I will catch up with it on my next visit.It was very quiet but a heron provided my best shot of the day as it preened and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine before taking flight.

The following day I was back at Martin Mere to see what was about at the Ron Barker Hide.This is another very reliable place to see kingfishers and one usually shows up on most days.One did appear but only briefly and was rather distant for anything other than a quick record shot.The star of the day however was the stoat which had shown well on a previous visit. This time it had made a kill and very quickly sped past the hide with what looked like a vole in it's mouth.A marsh harrier also showed well and was constantly mobbed by a carrion crow.The harrier put all the teal up and gave me a nice opportunity for a flight shot. A few more whooper swans had arrived since my last visit and again kept me busy with thecamera.All in all not a bad week but the weather is definitely more Autumnal now with wind and rain and the clocks go back as well .Time moves on but I will be out and about again soon .Thanks for looking in.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Ribble Estuary...Lytham

Last week I made a couple of visits to the estuary of the River Ribble. I did most of my photography from the jetty which adjoins the Ribble Sailing Club on the promenade at Lytham-St-Annes.Surprisingly it was somewhere I hadn't visited with the camera but following my recent visits it is certainly somewhere I will return to on a regular basis.As the tide drops away it is easy to have access across the salt marsh to the muddy banks of the River Ribble.On my visits there was plenty of action with waders and wildfowl coming and going across the estuary and commuting to the marsh and sands on the Southport side.

Most impressive were the large skeins of pink footed geese which were still arriving from the North.A recent  survey estimated there are currently around ninety thousand pinkfoots in Lancashire.A nice number of knot were also present on the Lytham side enjoying the rich pickings in the estuary mud.From time to time groups of canada geese would come across and I was pleased with the shots of them crossing the iconic Lytham windmill.

I stayed on to watch the sunset on one of my visits and was very pleased with the images I managed to capture.I have shown above images of the geese arriving over Lytham and the waders and herons along the River Ribble.I enjoyed very much my visits to the Ribble estuary and you can be sure I will return on the next series of suitable tides. Thanks for looking in and I will return soon with more of Lancashire's wildlife.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Mixed Bag

This week's posting is a compilation of shots from my trips last week.I visited the Ribble Estuary at Lytham and on the opposite side at Southport.The tides were favourable for wader roosts and I enjoyed trying to capture what is one of my favourite subjects.The Ribble Estuary at Lytham was a new venue and I was pleased with the image of a knot flock flashing white in the afternoon sun.I will be returning soon to Lytham as it is possible to get close to the waders as they move about the Ribble Estuary.

I also visited Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve near to Crosby. I had been there in previous years photographing short eared owls but there didn't seem to be any around on last week's visit. A lot of improvements have been carried out at Lunt by the Environment Agency and it is now jointly managed by Lancs Wildlife Trust. New pools have been created and viewing screens erected making it a wonderful location for birdwatching and photography.A lot of pinkfooted geese were in the area and skeins were arriving during my visit and briefly landing on the pools.The hoped for owls and kingfisher didn't show on this visit but I will be back to spend more time at this super reserve.Images above from Lunt show a smart heron and lapwings enjoying the new pools and a flock of pinkfeet departing.Thanks for looking in and I will be out again soon to enjoy the current settled and very pleasant autumn weather.