Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Waxwings

There are now numbers of waxwings in Lancashire.They have filtered down from further north and have been seen in a few locations in the county.Some visited Preston but proved very elusive and very mobile as they searched for food.Lancaster also had a number of waxwings scattered around and again they were flighty and proving difficult to track down.This last week I noticed from information on the internet that around fifty birds were visiting a rowan tree in the car park of the White Horse pub close to the centre of Lancaster.They were being seen daily so it seemed a good spot to visit for another fix of waxwings.

I arrived at the location on Thursday early afternoon.There were a couple of birders/photographers already there and I was told that the birds were coming back to feed at regular intervals but had not been seen for half an hour or so.I decided to stay therefore and got geared up for some hoped for action.Sure enough the waxwings did return,at first in small groups but eventually around sixty birds were present at the top of the tall silver birch tree which overlooked the area.

Eventually in typical waxwing behaviour they all descended to feed in their smash and grab fashion before returning back to the top of the birch tree.By now sunshine was lighting up the top of the lookout tree but the berry laden rowan by the entrance to the pub remained in shadow.The next hour or so was spent watching and photographing these delightful birds in company with a few other birders including employees of the RSPB who have sight of the waxwings from their office.At times the birds were too close and it was difficult picking out a target for the camera.

However I was well pleased with my efforts the best of which can be seen below.It was for me a wonderful Christmas present and well worth the effort and time spent in the pursuit of these fabulous visitors from Scandanavia.I hope you all enjoy the next week or so of festive activities and I wish all my fellow bloggers and photographers a very Happy Christmas.I may make one more posting before the end of the year showing some of my favourite images from another busy year.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Starling Roost...Blackpool North Pier

At this time of the year approaching Christmas,I like to visit the North Pier at Blackpool to see the starling roost.Thousands of starlings use the pier every night and can provide some memorable moments as they bed down for the night.So it was this last week I paid a couple of visits mid afternoon to catch the arrival of the starlings.

It soon seems to go dark at this time of the year and you need to be in position around 3pm to witness the arrival of the starlings.They will have spent the day feeding out on the fields and farmland of The Fylde and will begin to arrive in groups of birds steadily up until around 4pm.This year they are doing as in previous years and dropping onto the beach and forming a large carpet of birds.It is always tricky capturing reasonable images as the light is fading fast and settings on the camera have to be spot on to capture the action.

Shown below are some of my better efforts to capture the spectacle but as always I think I can do much better.It is still nice to be there however and witness this nightly spectacle.To me this is much more exciting than what goes on around the piers and Golden Mile in the centre of Blackpool.I will return however as hopefully the birds will be present for much if the winter.Thanks for looking in and I will probably do one more post before Christmas and show some of my favourite images from 2016.

Friday, 9 December 2016

They Are Here....Waxwings

For a number of weeks now good numbers of waxwings have been coming into the country from Scandanavia. Most of the birds were arriving in the north east of Scotland and along the east coast of England. In time some large flocks of 100 plus birds found their way into Northern England.The Carlisle Penrith areas and Keswick and Kendal were favoured by the birds.It seemed inevitable that given time some of these birds would find their way into Lancashire.This is exactly what happened and a flock of around thirty waxwings was located in Blackburn.

Whenever waxwings come to Britain they always seem to find their way to Blackburn.They spent around a couple of weeks around the Bank Top area where there were good supplies of rowan berries.It had been an excellent year for berry production and the waxwings will be spoilt for choice as they travel the country in search of their staple winter food supply.

I joined other photographers and bird watchers as we enjoyed these beautiful visitors from Scandanavia.We enjoyed excellent views as they fed in a quiet residential cul de sac and many images were taken by the waiting cameras. It was also nice to catch up with friends I hadn't seen for some time.I have shown below some of my better efforts to capture the beauty of these handsome birds and hope you enjoy them as much as I did in taking them.Since then a few more waxwings have turned up just outside Whalley and I visited with Paul Foster and we enjoyed more super views of waxwings.

It is more than likely therefore that I will have to post more waxwing images in due course.I have found that you must take advantage of these opportunities when they occur and fill your memory cards with lots of images.All to soon the birds will be gone and it maybe another number of years when next the waxwings come to town.Thanks for looking in and stay tuned for more from Lancashire's wildlife.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Salmo The Leaper

The Atlantic Salmon was named by the Romans I think, as Salmo the Leaper (Salmo salar}.This is owing to the salmon's ability to leap up and over waterfalls that would otherwise impede it's progress up the rivers.The Atlantic Salmon returns to it's native rivers in the Autumn to swim upstream to the spawning grounds in the upper reaches of the rivers where they would have originally been born. They usually await heavy rain when the rivers are in spate enabling them to make progress upstream much easier.

I eagerly await their arrival in the Autumn when I can try to catch leaping salmon with the camera.This year the Autumn was very dry with little or no rain.Eventually at the beginning of November the rains did arrive and the salmon began to make their way to the spawning grounds.One of the favourite places to see this annual spectacle is Stainforth Force on the upper River Ribble above Settle.

I had seen some nice images obtained by local photographers and I was keen to see if I could catch one or two for myself.It is not an easy task to photograph salmon as they leap the falls.It is impossible to tell when a salmon will leap and concentration is vital to capture the moment. I enjoyed a couple of sessions on the upper Ribble at Stainforth and was reasonably well pleased with the results shown below.It was an enjoyable experience with good weather and excellent company and the scenery in this part of Northern England is magnificent.

Thanks for looking in and hope you enjoy my selection of images from the River Ribble.Since then I have been on the trail of waxwings which are now coming into the country from Scandanavia and some large flocks are present in Scotland and the Lake District.To see how I got on tune in again to see these beautiful birds as they performed for the camera.