Thursday, 25 May 2017

Leighton Moss...Egrets and a Stag

This week I visited Leighton Moss where I hadn't been for some time.All was quiet at Lilian's Hide but later there was much more going on at the Grizedale Hide. Lots of black tailed godwits were feeding close to the hide and there were five or six little egrets coming close to the hide.I concentrated on the egrets and took many images as they performed in the very warm afternoon sun.

A group of red deer hinds were seen feeding but distantly.However much to my surprise a rather handsome stag showed himself as he came out of the reedbed to the right of the hide.He was indeed a smart looking animal and was sporting a fine set of antlers which were covered in velvet as they grew prior to the rut later in the year.

The egrets were also very smart as they showed off their breeding plumage to full effect in the strong and  very welcome breeze.A nice return to Leighton Moss and as at Marshside earlier in the month the little egrets were on top form performing for the camera.As I write this post the temperatures have reached the high seventies and it is muggy and uncomfortable.I am hoping for an early morning outing tomorrow to avoid what promises to be another very hot day.So stay tuned for more from my travels and thanks for looking in.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Egrets and Waders

Following on from my last posting I am now showing some of the other birds present at Marshside when the spoonbill turned up. I spent the afternoon at Nel's hide and enjoyed some super afternoon light and plenty of birds present in front of the hide.Little egrets were fishing close to the hide with up to three present  and these lovely elegant birds looked very nice in the afternoon sun.

The ever present black tailed godwits fed close to the hide and showed off the detail and colour in their summer plumage.Two uncommon visitors to arrive and ones I hadn't photographed before were two male ruff in their breeding finery and a lone whimbrel which dropped in for a wash and brush up.Hope you enjoy this selection from Marshside and I am sure I will return soon for more encounters with it's wonderful bird life.Thanks for looking in and stay tuned for more from my travels.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Spoonbills...Leighton and Marshside

The recent strong easterly winds and warm weather had brought plenty of summer migrants into the country.A rare pallid harrier had been discovered in Bowland and was setting up territory and displaying over the fells. Sadly it couldn't have picked a worse location as Bowland is a no go area for harriers and any chance of breeding is snuffed out by the shooting fraternity who despise anything other than grouse.The harrier is still around and is attracting birdwatchers and photographers from all parts of the country.Despite mobility problems I did manage the six mile walk with Mike to see this very rare visitor to our shores.I did get some record shots and may post at a later date.

The easterlies had also brought a number of spoonbills into the country and eight birds had turned up at Leighton Moss RSPB.I had seen spoonbills previously at Leighton but they were distant or asleep as spoonbills often are.I arrived at the Allen Hide to find the six spoonbills sleeping and I waited with the others present for some action.Eventually after an hour or so the spoonbills slowly came to and for the rest of the afternoon provided some nice images as they fed,preened and flew around .They were all immature birds and had not yet reached breeding age and didn't have the yellow bills and neck bands of full adults.In flight they could be identified by their black wingtips.

A few days later I visited Marshside RSPB where spoonbills had also been reported.A full adult had been seen around the pools on the reserve and I hoped to spot it.A visit to Fairclough's pool drew a blank and no other large white birds could be seen anywhere.I spent the rest of the afternoon at Nel's Hide and was delighted to find that lots of birds were present right ii front of the hide.The conditions for photography were spot on and the strong afternoon backlight brought out all the colours and detail in the birds.My next post will concentrate on the many waders present including avocets,ruffs and whimbrel and the ever present black tailed godwits.

I couldn't believe my luck when out of nowhere the spoonbill turned up right in front of the hide.It was now late afternoon and the light just got better and better.I made the most of this opportunity to grab as many images as possible of the very good looking spoonbill.All too soon it flew away but I suspect it may hang around as spoonbill has I understand bred on the Ribble marshes in the past.Hope you enjoy my spoonbill images shown below and as promised I will post more from Marshside at a later date.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ospreys Return

The recent settled weather had helped the returning ospreys on their journeys from West Africa to their breeding sites in the Lake District.Ospreys are now well established in certain parts of the Lake District and nesting sites are at a premium as more and more ospreys arrive each year.Well known sites such as Bassenthwaite,Roudsea and Foulshaw Mosses have been occupied now for a few years and the breeding success has been very good.

This year I visited a new site in a secluded part of the Southern Lake District which currently is occupied by a pair of ospreys and hopefully they will remain and rear a family.I have shown some images of the site,all taken from some distance away so as not to disturb the birds.It is a particular photogenic site with the nest atop a scots pine tree on the edge of a lovely wooded area.The first image is from a previous season when one of the ospreys flew by to check me out.

Also in this area I saw a large herd of red deer,mostly hinds with one or two young stags.I was able to get some nice images of the deer as they grazed on nearby grassland.I will return to see the ospreys at a future date when hopefully they have been successful in raising a family and the young have fledged. Hope you enjoy my images and if you are in the southern part of the Lake District keep an eye out for ospreys as they are becoming more common as time goes by.Leighton Moss is a favourite fishing location and the estuary of the River Kent at Arnside is another spot where you may be lucky to see ospreys looking for fish.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more from my travels.