Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Return to the Park

The dismal gloomy weather continued which was not good for photography. So I decided to return to Yarrow Valley Country Park to see if the kingfisher would once more brighten up yet another dull day. On this visit Brother D.J. came along for the ride and to try out his new camera. We hadn't been there long when the kingfisher showed. It entertained us and the passers by for a couple of hours or so with frequent visits for fish . There don't appear to be any other kingfishers about as they are early nesters and should be pairing up about now. There were other visitors to the nearby feeding station with a constant stream of nuthatches,long tailed , coal , great and blue tits and robins, blackbirds and a nice mistle thrush. We had enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon and we adjourned to a nearby garden centre for a welcome cup of coffee and a cake.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Another jewel from the park

It's hard to resist putting up another image of the dazzling kingfisher seen earlier in the week at the Yarrow Valley Country Park. The weather this week has been cloudy for the most part but this little fellow has really brightened up my week.
As W H Davies (1871-1940) said in his poem The Kingfisher.
" It was the Rainbow gave thee birth, and left thee all her lovely hues"

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The jewel in the park

Decided on a change from photographing owls and met up with Dave Cookson at Yarrow Valley Country Park near Coppull to hopefully photograph the local kingfisher which recently had been showing well. No sooner had we set up our camera gear when the kingfisher appeared just before midday. It favoured a little backwater adjoining one of the lakes and throughout our four hour stay performed beautifully for the camera as it perched on overhanging branches. The light had not been at its best but improved a little after lunch. Dave was hoping to obtain shots of the kingfisher diving for fish but it was too quick and evaded camera capture. However we had enjoyed a super afternoon session with this jewel of a bird and will no doubt return to try for that " perfect shot " .

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Friday the thirteenth. Lucky for some.

I had gone to the mosslands again as  I am currently obsessed with photographing owls particularly Barn Owls. It can be a problem obtaining decent images as the light is very often poor when the owls go hunting late afternoon. Recently however they had been hunting in the middle of the day and early afternoon. I was in position around lunchtime but this time I had a three hour wait before the first owl appeared.It was well worth the wait however as the barn owl was in hunting mode and it captured a vole close to where I was waiting. I was able to take many images in the half hour or so the owl was present. A couple of these are shown above, one showing the owl one second away from capturing the vole, and the other showing it shielding its capture from other nearby predators.
So for me it had been a very lucky Friday the thirteenth but not for the poor vole!!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Owling Again

Tuesday this week proved to be the nicest day of the week and was almost Springlike with little or no wind and wonderful blue skies. I went to the Lancs Mosslands again near to Pilling to see if the owls were at home. They were and so were an influx of photographers from the Wigan area. My good friend Dave Cookson was there with mate Steve. They had enjoyed a brilliant session with the barn owls taking hundreds of images and were exhausted!!! They both decided on a ride to have a look at Knott End and left me in the prime spot . It was some time before the barn owls came out again but Ian Latham , Dave Cookson(who had returned) and myself enjoyed a wonderful session with the barn owl performing at close quarters for us and giving us all ample opportunities to get some wonderful action shots of these magnificent birds.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

New Boots and Clougha Pike

Kath and I had decided to climb Clougha Pike to try out my new walking boots and to get our weekly excercise on a bright clear and crisp winter's morning. It was bright and sunny as we left the car and headed onwards and upwards towards the summit of Clougha.                                         Clougha is part of the Bowland area and enjoys extensive views over the Lancashire coastline and beyond to the mountains of the Lake District. It is a rocky little hill and is a little over one thousand feet high and is very popular with local walkers.
The walk went without any problems despite icy paths and tricky rocky sections towards the summit. We had our flasks of hot soup at the summit shelter and then headed down as the weather was beginning to change. Some snow flurries arrived to block out the view but didn't hamper the descent back to the car park. A very enjoyable walk to christen the new boots.                                                              

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Brian's Birthday

Yet another birthday had arrived and Kath and I had decided on a ride up to The Lake District for a look around. We went to Keswick and had a nice warming lunch in the Abraham Tea Rooms at Fishers Outdoor Equipment shop. My big bowl of warming broth was just the thing on yet another very cold and wintry day.

Later we had a ride up Borrowdale and back to Portinscale for afternoon tea and cakes. It was very quiet everywhere and a bit of sun would have been very welcome but it was'nt to be. We finished the day on the way home at The Wheatsheaf at Beetham where we had an excellent meal. It had been a pleasant day out in a part of The Lakes we hadn't visited for many years and a few images are shown above of the famous view of Ashness Bridge with Skiddaw in the background. We hope to return again to this lovely part of the world later in the year.

An Early Birthday Present

The day before my birthday I had another visit to the local Barn Owls. I found them actively hunting early afternoon.This was an ideal opportunity to obtain yet more images of these magnificent birds.I was joined by Ian Latham an enthusiastic local photographer and we enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours or so of action from the barn owls.They came quite close at times and I was able to obtain some excellent close up shots as they performed for the camera.
Despite the very cold weather it had been an excellent session and we both felt very priviledged to have been in the right place at the right time. Shown above are some of the images and Ian Latham in action. An afternoon to remember and a wonderful birthday present come a day early!!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Still Looking Back

Just thought I would post a few more images from last year showing hunting Short Eared Owls, one with a vole and yours truly well wrapped up against the very cold winter's day

Monday, 2 February 2009

Looking Forward and Backward

As another birthday fast approaches I thought it was time to go online to share my experiences with my camera as I visit favourite locations here in the North West of England. I now like to call myself a Wildlife Photographer as this aspect of photography is dominating my work. Since acquiring some serious camera equipment twelve months ago I have been concentrating on bird photography but I still find time to record all other aspects of nature and landscape around me and I hope to share these experiences with anyone who is interested in visiting my Blog.

To begin my journey I am going back briefly to the last three months or so when I have enjoyed some memorable days photographing owls. So I begin my blog with a couple of images of Short Eared and Barn Owls which have been present on the Lancashire Mosslands over the last three months of this Winter.