Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Gone but not Forgotten

I am referring to the long staying bittern at Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve.As suspected it was not seen for a number of days and the conclusion was that it would have returned to continental Europe for the breeding season.I understand from a knowledgeable birdwatcher that this bittern returns to Mere Sands Wood every Winter. If so I look forward to it's return.

As I usually do when at Mere Sands I visited the Cyril Gibbon's Hide to see if the great crested grebes were displaying and on my last visit they did indeed perform for the camera.The grey heron that flew in at the Rufford Hide soon caught a frog. The frogs were busy spawning and would provide easy pickings for the heron.I have shown a sequence of one of the frogs being despatched and swallowed by the heron.

It was nice to see kingfishers again showing well at Mere Sands.One bird visited regularly whilst the assembled photographers were awaiting the bittern to show.It provided some nice opportunities for the camera as it used the waterside vegetation as look out and fishing posts.Hope you enjoy my images from Mere Sands Wood and next time I will be concentrating on Bowland .I hadn't visited Bowland for some time and now that the red grouse and upland waders were back on territory I was anxious to capture the action.Thanks for looking in.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Hide and Seek

The bittern which has spent many weeks at Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve has recently been the star attraction.Most days the Rufford Hide has been packed with photographers hoping for a sighting of the very elusive bittern.At times it has been very obliging and provided great photographic opportunities for those present.At other times it has been almost impossible to have a decent view of the bird and some people have spent many hours sat waiting without a sight of the bird.Earlier this week I spent a few hours waiting in a busy hide but it wasn't seen at all during the day.It may now have taken advantage of clear days and nights to return from whence it came somewhere on the Continent.

The images shown below I obtained on an earlier visit when the bittern did come out to play.I have tried to show how well camouflaged the bird is and image seven shows particularly well how difficult it can be to pick out the bittern as it skulks through the reedbeds.Hope you enjoy my efforts below and it now seems unlikely that it will appear again as the breeding season is fast approaching.I have enjoyed some of the other wildlife at Mere Sands Wood and this will be the subject of my next posting.Thanks for looking in and it looks like another wet weekend awaits us.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Dancing Grebes

I have made a few visits recently to Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve to see the much photographed Bittern.It is certainly the star attraction at the moment but other delights await you if you visit.I always make a point of calling at the Cyril Gibbons Hide to see if there is any action from the great crested grebes which are currently performing their courtship displays.On my first visit I had only been in the hide ten minutes when the pair of grebes did their famous weed dance.They kept their distance but I managed some reasonable shots  as shown below.Also present was a handsome male goldeneye.

On my second visit whilst waiting for the bittern to show at the Rufford Hide the assembled photographers were treated to a visit by the kingfisher which showed well in the afternoon sunshine.Kingfishers seem to have been absent for some time from Mere Sands but hopefully after a mild winter they are on the up again and maybe breeding on the reserve.There were also nice views of a female goosander in front of the hide.As I left the reserve a robin posed for me to round off a super day at Mere Sands Wood.I am looking forward to returning next week for hopefully more action and maybe the bittern will still be around.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more of Lancashire's wonderful wildlife.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Bittern...Mere Sands Wood

There had been a bittern reported at Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve for the last few weeks.I therefore decided  on a visit to hopefully see this uncommon and rarely seen bird.I hadn't been to Mere Sands for some time and it was nice to return to this lovely little reserve. The weather was still unsettled with frequent showers and the sun has been very reluctant to shine and it has remained on the cool side. I began by visiting the Cyril Gibbon's Hide to see if the great crested grebes had begun their courting rituals.Within ten minutes of arriving they performed the weed dance and I couldn't believe my luck.The grebes will be the subject of a future post.Later I moved to the Rufford Hide where the bittern had been showing.A fellow photographer informed me that it hadn't shown during the morning.

I duly arrived at the Rufford Hide to find the bittern had shown ten minutes earlier.I therefore settled down with the other photographers present to await it's return.I had last seen bitterns at Mere Sands in March 2012 when three birds were present and performed for the cameras.Suddenly around 2.30pm it appeared out in the open and I had to be quick to seize this opportunity of a bittern at close range and in full view.After this brief viewing it vanished into a nearby reedbed and played hide and seek for the rest of the afternoon.I did however manage more shots as it skulked and slowly made its way through the dense vegetation.This was more typical of bittern behaviour and at times it was extremely difficult to follow owing to it's wonderful cryptic plumage.Throughout the afternoon it was very wet but I made my way back to the car park content with my encounter with this very special bird.Hope you enjoy my efforts shown below and I will be back soon as better weather is hopefully on the way.