Thursday, 29 September 2016

Hobbies...Brockholes Nature Reserve

This last week has seen me visiting a local nature reserve to observe and try and obtain images of hobbies The pleasant warm and settled weather continued and provided perfect conditions for the birds hawking the lakes and woods of Brockholes. On my first visit  on a warm and sunny afternoon there was plenty of activity from raptors and birdwatchers.
There were seven hobbies present,a number of buzzards,sparrowhawk and peregrine.We all enjoyed superb views of the birds flying over the woodlands and lakes at Brockholes.I had of course taken my camera gear and was anxious to try and capture some images particularly of the hobbies.I had seen my very first hobby at Brockholes back in 2008,a juvenile bird which stayed for two weeks or more.I had also just purchased my first telephoto lens,a500mm Nikon.I managed some good images of the hobby and was pleased with my venture into the world of serious bird photography.

Time has of course moved on and it was very nice to catch up with hobbies again.I made two visits to Brockholes and came away with hundreds of images the best of which are shown above.Also I managed some shots of the buzzards which were also patrolling the warm and sunny skies.The hobbies were not easy to photograph as they flew around at great speed and constantly changed direction in their pursuit of dragonflies which they catch and eat in mid air.

Hope you enjoy my efforts at photographing these wonderful little falcons.I have also shown yours truly in action and a shot of the general area of the lakes and woodlands where most of the action took place.Since then the weather has turned very Autumnal and I would think the hobbies have moved on further south as they begin their long migrations.I look forward to more encounters with these beautiful dashing little falcons next year. Thanks for looking in and next time I will have more images from Leighton Moss.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Greenshanks..Leighton Moss

I recently visited Leighton Moss to see what waders were present at the Morecambe and Allen pools.This is often a good time to have nice close up views of waders as they stop off to refuel on their long migration journeys south.I was particularly looking forward to seeing greenshanks.This elegant wader often appears in good numbers at Leighton Moss at this time of the year.A check on the internet did in fact confirm good double figure numbers of greenshanks down at the marsh pools.

It was a nice still and warm day and the light was ideal for photography.As usual the Morecambe hide was busy with birders and it was nice to catch up with people I hadn't seen for some time.Eventually some greenshank appeared close to the hide and I was kept busy with the camera.As well as the greenshank and many redshank, little egrets and snipe also performed for the camera.The results from my efforts are shown below.

One interesting observation was to see one of the greenshanks taking what I thought at first were fish.However later at home it was evident that what it was feeding on was squid.The greenshank with a squid in it's beak can be seen in the sixth image.Whether this is a well known item of food or not for waders I don't know but maybe one of my readers can enlighten me.The Eric Morecambe pool is of course not far from the sea and is flooded from time to time by some of Morecambe Bay's high tides.A new drainage system has also been recently installed at the marsh pools and this may also account for squid being present.All in all a very interesting day out at Leighton Moss and nice to catch up with the greenshanks.Thanks for looking in and next time I may have more interesting images from nearer to home.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Sunderland Point....Curlew Sandpipers

Last week I made a couple of visits to Sunderland Point on the Lune estuary.I hadn't visited this isolated part of Lancashire for a long time.I had been encouraged to go there following reports of a good number of curlew sandpipers being seen.Tide tables have to be scrutinised carefully before visiting Sunderland Point as the road in is regularly covered by high tides and is impassable.The high tide was around lunchtime so arrival times had to be around 2-3pm when the tide was receding and the road in could be safely navigated

I duly arrived as the tide was going out revealing mudflats rich in food for the waiting wading birds.The curlew sandpipers soon put in an appearance and began feeding in earnest along a few hundred yards of the very muddy area in front of the parking area by the toilet block.The sandpipers were accompanied by redshanks and dunlin but for this posting I have shown mainly images of curlew sandpipers.I will probably return at some future date to obtain more images of the other visitors to this lovely and peaceful estuary of the river Lune.Along with one or two other birdwatchers we counted somewhere between 15-20 sandpipers present on this part of the estuary.

The curlew sands were all juvenile birds which had arrived recently from the breeding grounds in the far north of Russia and were stopping over to take on fuel for their long journey south to their winter quarters in Africa.Hope you enjoy my images of these lovely waders and I will return soon with more from my travels. Thanks for looking in.