Saturday, 20 June 2015

Action at the Docks

It is that time of the year when common terns return to breed at the former Preston Docks.I always look forward to the arrival of the terns as there is always plenty of action to see and photograph.This year a lot of new boxes have been made to accomodate the growing tern colony.I think there are now around one hundred pairs of terns using the pontoons at the docks to rear their families.The project is a joint effort with Preston City Council,Fylde Bird Club and the RSPB.It is a scheme that is also being used elsewhere in the region at Conder Green,Yarrow Valley Country Park and Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve.

Despite the attraction of the former docks to other users e.g.boating,retail development and housing the tern colony is thriving.One fly in the ointment however this year has been the predation of the tern eggs by a resident coot.On a couple of my visits I have seen the coot taking and eating the eggs whenever the nests have been left unattended.The terns have attacked the coot but it has still managed to steal a number of eggs.The terns can be very aggressive and think nothing of seeing off the resident family of mute swans if they venture too near.

However despite these difficulties this last week has seen some of the eggs hatching and the parents have been kept busy bringing in food from the nearby River Ribble.Hopefully the coot will lose interest as more of the eggs hatch but then the parents will have to defend the chicks from attacks by marauding gulls which are always present nearby.It is fascinating to visit and observe and photograph all of the action and hopefully my images shown above will convey some of the excitement in seeing this busy tern colony.Thanks for looking in and enjoy, despite the weather, the weekend.More from the Preston terns in due course.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Rossall Roost

I hadn't visited Rossall Point at Fleetwood for many months so decided to have a look at the wader roost on  recent high tides.Many of the waders usually present had departed for the breeding grounds far to the north. There were however still a few stragglers left for me to amuse myself with the camera.It was the usual waders that use Rossall roost that were present being sanderling,dunlin,turnstone and ringed plover.

Mike accompanied me on my first visit.The weather had at last become more summery and we enjoyed the various comings and goings over the period of the high tide.Mike picked out a few gannets way out at sea and he was fairly sure he had also spotted a storm petrel.These were well beyond camera range  so I concentrated on the nearby waders.The pick of these being the summer plumaged sanderlings and turnstones.I visited again on my own two days later to find very few waders about.I think they would have taken advantage of the window of fine weather to begin their long journeys to the arctic breeding grounds.I did however get much closer to the birds present and grabbed a few close up shots.Again the sanderlings looked stunning in their breeding finery.

Hope you enjoy the images posted above of the waders present at Rossall Point.It will not be long before many of them return in August following what will hopefully be a good breeding season in the far north.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more of Lancashire's wonderful wildlife.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Young Ones

I haven't reported on the progress of the grebes at a local nature reserve for some time.I can now say that the pair of great crested grebes I have been watching have been successful in raising three youngsters.I last visited a few weeks ago and was very pleased to see three very young grebe chicks riding on the back of one of the parent birds.They were not easy to pick out as they were snuggled down under the feathers on the back. However when the other parent bird appeared with food they made themselves visible as they tried to be first to get the very small fish that were being brought to them.The parents would change duties and the chicks were tipped off the back into the water.They then scrambled onto the back of the new transport to take them round the lake to meet the incoming food.

It was wonderful to watch the parents carrying out their duties and hopefully all three chicks will grow quickly and healthily to maturity. Also on show as usual at this lake was a little grebe which looked splendid as it patrolled the lake edge close to the camera allowing some more nice portrait shots It would be nice to see some young little grebes but no sign yet.Hope you like some of my efforts with the camera and I will return in due course to check on the progress of these delightful great crested grebes.Thanks for looking in and you can be sure of more reports soon from Lancashire's wildlife.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Four Queens

At the end of May it was the Bank Holiday weekend.This coincided with a visit to Liverpool of the three Cunard liners,Queen Victoria,Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth. This special event was to celebrate 175 years of the Cunard Shipping Line.I was keen to see these three magnificent liners so I joined the crowds of people on Crosby beach to witness the arrival in the Mersey estuary.Queen Mary 2 came out to welcome the two other queens and escort them to the Liver Building frontage in Liverpool where they performed a "dance" in front of the assembled crowds.A fly past by the red arrows concluded the performance and the Queen Mary 2 then left Liverpool to go on its travels leaving the other two queens in Liverpool.

None of this was visible from Crosby beach but the blue skies appeared to escort the Queen Mary 2 back out into the Irish Sea.I enjoyed the experience and some of my images from Crosby beach are shown above.The fourth queen I was to see was a few days later when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited Lancashire to visit the City of Lancaster as part of her visit to the Duchy Of Lancaster.Later she visited Myerscough College Of Agriculture and I was able to see her on her way by road as she passed through the village of Bilsborrow.I was lucky choosing the right side of the road to stand and managed a few images as she passed by. All in all an excellent week with some memorable images. Hope you enjoy my images of the four queens and thanks for looking in.      

Monday, 1 June 2015

Swans and Cygnets

This last week I have visited the Lancaster Canal at Conder Green and Hest Bank.I returned to the area as on a previous walk I saw a number of swans with families.I haven't photographed swans and cygnets very much so decided it would be a nice subject for a blog post.The weather was still very cool and windy as it has been throughout May but some afternoons were bright and sunny and would be ideal for photography.

I had found four swan families with cygnets in various stages of development.The number of cygnets varied from two to nine in number.The mute swan is a bird we tend to take for granted but particularly at this time of the year it is a delight to observe and photograph these family groups of birds.Shown above are some of my better efforts at swan photography.I particularly like the ones of the male birds in full sail taking advantage of the strong winds to patrol their patch of the canal. Thanks for looking in and now that Summer has officially arrived maybe the weather will warm up a bit.As I write it is pouring with rain accompanied by gale force winds!!