Saturday, 13 August 2016

Blackpool Air Show

Last Sunday I went to see the Blackpool Air Show.This is a wonderful free event staged between Blackpool North and Central Piers. It attracts huge crowds and provides super views of different types of aircraft.The real draw however is the appearance of the RAF Red Arrows a world renowned display team of some of the RAF's best pilots flying their Hawk jets.

The weather had not been good but the skies cleared for the beginning of show and blue skies provided ideal viewing conditions although tempered by some very strong winds.I took many images throughout the afternoon enjoying the challenge of capturing the action.I have selected a few below showing mainly the Red Arrows in action but also shown is the Typhoon Eurofighter and the Breitling Wingwalkers.One or two general views are also included showing the huge crowds present along the seafront enjoying the spectacle.

My next posting will probably return to my normal fare of wildlife images as visits have been made to the coast at Southport and to RSPB Leighton Moss.Meantime hope you enjoy my efforts at trying to capture some of the flavour of the Blackpool Air Show.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more from my travels.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Ospreys...V6 and V7

First of all apologies to my followers as I have not posted for over a month. Various commitments at home have kept me away from the camera. Last week I did manage to get out with the camera and decided on a visit to Cumbria to see how the ospreys were faring.I made two trips north on the Tuesday and Friday.There was a little drizzly rain on the Tuesday and Friday didn't begin well with heavy rain and delays on the motorway.However all turned out well in the end and the results are shown in some of my images below.

The two young ospreys from the lakeside platform nest at Esthwaite had been ringed and had successfully fledged and were being seen in the vicinity of the nest.On both my visits I hired a rowing boat as the site was on private land and only distantly visible from the road on the opposite shore of the lake. It was a good decision as I was able to approach closely and quietly to the lakeshore where the young ospreys were active.

The birds spent some time on the platform nest awaiting the arrival of a parent bird with food but mostly they were perching up in lakeside trees calling for the parents.This provided some super opportunities for a careful approach with the camera and both V6 and V7 duly obliged.They would also from time to time fly around the area and again gave great opportunities for flight shots.Only once during my time on the lake did a parent return with food and this was taken up to the platform nest site out of range of the camera. It was a wonderful experience to be close to these magnificent birds and I wish them well for the future as they will be departing soon for their winter quarters in West Africa.Hopefully they will survive to return to the Lake District in a few years time when they will be ready to breed and continue the expansion of ospreys in the North of England.

Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with regular postings from my travels.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Beautiful Bowland

Recently I have made a few visits to Bowland to catch up with the wildlife.One of the visits was with good friend Paul Foster.We went on safari to one of the more remote areas of Bowland specifically to look for whinchats and stonechats.Paul had done a recce earlier and was confident we would be able to get some nice images of the moorland chats.It proved quite difficult especially as whinchats seemed to be very thin on the ground.We found half a dozen or so stonechats but they were always distant and I only managed a record shot of one in typical pose on the bracken.Later in the day we were lucky and found a nice whinchat posing within camera range and many images were taken of this bonny bird.As well as the birds we also saw a golden ringed dragonfly and a painted lady butterfly and Paul almost stepped on an adder. All in all an excellent day out in the wilds of Bowland.

Since that visit I have returned a few times to Bowland to photograph the magnificent scenery.Images of this lovely part of Lancashire are shown below.As well as the scenery I also managed to find another stonechat posing in the evening sunshine and got some nice close ups of the many meadow pipits that were busy feeding young in and amongst the bracken covered hillside.The highlight however of my visits was the sighting of a fabulous hobby.The hobby is a bird that is increasing its range northwards in response to a warming climate and is now established in a few areas of Lancashire.I was lucky to lock on to the hobby as it sped past in it's quest for prey on the open fellside and managed some reasonable record images of this rare encounter shown below.I will be keeping a check on this part of Bowland as I suspect the hobby is nesting in the area and I would love to have further encounters with this special little falcon. Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more from my wildlife encounters.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Orchids,Avocets and an Ibis

Last week I paid a visit to the RSPB reserve at Marshside.As usual the Sandgrounders hide was busy with noisy black headed gulls and the many youngsters that were now in various stages of development. I decided to move on to Nel's hide where the avocets would be on show.Just after leaving Sandgrounders hide I found numbers of bee orchids along the side of the path.They were at their very best and the camera was kept busy recording these delightful blooms.On arrival at Nel's hide I found I had it to myself and I settled down to enjoy an afternoon of peaceful birdwatching.

The hoped for avocets were scattered around and most of the birds had youngsters close by.As usual with the avocets any intruder was swiftly despatched away from the young birds.The birds were constantly on guard and were quick to intercept and react with any invaders of their territory.A family party of shovelers were a constant target for the avocets although they posed no real threat to the young birds. A pair of mute swans which ventured too close were also sent on their way.It was wonderful to watch the adult avocets protecting their offspring and hopefully they will all survive and fledge in due course.

Another visitor to this part of the reserve was a glossy ibis.This particular bird had been around for a while and was an attraction for birders to add to their year lists.During my stay at Nel's a number of birders came in to see the ibis when it returned to feed out on the marsh.Another good bird that from time to time showed well was the reed warbler that came up onto the reeds briefly before diving down again.It posed long enough for me to obtain some nice images of this summer visitor.The ibis returned mid afternoon and I got some nice record shots as it fed and preened.The visiting birders and myself all went away happy after a super session at Marshside.Hope you enjoy some of my images from the day shown below.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more from what is currently a busy time with the camera.