Monday, 31 October 2016

Rusland Rut

October is the time of the year when red deer come together to mate.It is known as rutting and sometimes involves in fighting amongst rival stags as they compete for the attention of the females.It is an annual spectacle which I like to see and photograph and in the past I have gone to Leighton Moss.I understand that some of the deer have been culled and few are present so this Autumn I visited the Rusland Valley in the southern Lake District.I had good reports that the deer were showing well and so on a couple of occasions recently I visited this lovely part of southern lakeland.

There is a nature reserve at Hay Bridge in the Rusland valley and that is where I expected the red deer to be. A trip onto the reserve confirmed the presence of deer as they could be heard bellowing and roaring in the distance.It was not however possible to get near the deer and so I left Hay Bridge to have a ride around the Rusland valley.The Rusland valley is secluded and very peaceful as it is well off the tourist trail and is a lovely area to explore.One notable feature is the church at the head of the valley where one of this country's famous authors lies buried alongside his wife.

Arthur Ransome was the author of many children's adventure stories and is probably best known for writing "Swallows and Amazons" which was set on Coniston Water.Arthur Ransome had a very interesting life and married a high ranking Russian officials daughter.He was also an excellent fisherman and lived in various houses in Southern Lakeland.I always like to pay my respects when in the area and visit the beautifully situated church at the head of the valley.

On my way back down the valley a group of red deer could be seen not far from the road at the edge of Rusland Moss.There was one dominant stag and one or two young bucks  with around six or seven hinds.I spent an interesting hour or so photographing the deer and was pleased with the results.I did in fact return at a later date and found the deer still in the same location.It was a lovely location on the edge of Rusland Moss and the deer enjoyed the sanctuary of the birch trees and long grasses of this part of the valley. I hope you enjoy my efforts at capturing the excitement of the rut and if you get the opportunity to visit this part of the Lake District you will not be disappointed.Thanks for looking in and tune in for my next trip to Leighton Moss where I had excellent views of one of the Great White Egrets currently on the reserve.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Arrival Of The Pinks

At this time of the year I always look forward to the arrival at Martin Mere of thousands of pink footed geese from their breeding grounds in Iceland.This last week or so this has been happening with favourable weather the geese have made the 600mile journey non stop.This alone is a remarkable feat and it is wonderful to watch them coming into land after their long journeys.The fields at Martin Mere had been cut ready for the geese and they took up many acres on the grasslands and adjoining meres.

It was quite a spectacle to witness.As well as the thousands of wings in the air,it was wonderful to hear the sounds made by the throngs of geese as they headed for their winter quarters on the mosslands of south west Lancs.Of course I was kept busy with the camera and I have tried to capture some of the excitement of this mass arrival.Nothing though can compare with actually being there and there is still time to witness this annual spectacle.I don't think the full quota has yet arrived and more settled weather later this week should bring in more birds.As well as the pinkfooted geese the whooper swans are also due to arrive from Iceland and again although in lesser numbers than the geese they still provide a wonderful spectacle at this time of the year.

Thanks for looking in and hope you enjoy my efforts below at trying to capture the arrival of the geese.It could be a busy time coming up as my next assignment is to photograph the red deer rut at a nature reserve in the Lake District. So call in again  for more accounts and images from my travels.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

More Greenshanks etc

This week I visited Leighton Moss again.Paul Foster came with me and we were hoping for good opportunities for the camera with Leighton's waders.The weather was not good and as we travelled up the motorway it didn't look like improving.On our arrival at the Eric Morecambe hide we found we had it to ourselves,the very damp and windy weather was keeping people at home.Both marsh pools had very little water and in fact the Allen pool was just a sea of mud.One of the RSPB staff came to take pictures of the muddy pools and then left us to it.

The birds didn't mind the large expanses of mud and we were to enjoy a wonderful day's photography with the many birds on show from the Eric Morecambe hide.We had only just sat down when a number of greenshanks were showing just feet away in front of the hide.This was to be the pattern for the time we were there and we were treated to some great photographic opportunities for the camera.

It was interesting watching the feeding antics of the greenshanks as they ran through the water at speed and did some synchronised fishing.Image seven below shows this group action.There were around twenty greenshanks present and they provided some great images as they performed for the camera. There were also a good number of little egrets which were also busy catching fish.Again they made perfect subjects as they showed off their plumage and fishing skills.We finished the session with a very brief but exciting view of a water rail.This was spotted by another birder and Paul and I just managed a few record shots before it vanished back into the reed bed.

All in all then a wonderful day out at Leighton Moss despite the weather.Of course the sun came out as we made the journey back home along the motorway.It didn't matter as the memory cards had been filled with some excellent images from Leighton Moss.Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more from my travels.