Saturday, 19 August 2017

Lots of Knots

At the beginning of August I like to visit a favourite wader roost near to Southport.Around this time the waders are beginning to return from their Arctic breeding grounds.A couple of weeks ago there was a favourable tide and I was looking forward to a return to the coast hopefully to catch up with the returning waders.I arrived about an hour before high water and I could see in the distance the unmistakeable flocks of waders as they flew around  as the tide advanced up the beach.

It was quite a long walk to reach this quiet part of the coastline and as access was difficult it meant that there was not a lot of disturbance from the usual dog walkers etc.It turned out to be an excellent session with many thousands of waders present most of these being knot.A lot of the knot were still in summer plumage and looked splendid in their summer finery.I was able with a careful and quiet approach to get quite close to the large concentrations of knot and obtain some excellent images.A man approached from the opposite direction with an Alsatian dog but they were both well behaved and there was little disturbance.A good number of grey plovers and bar tailed godwits and one or two groups of sanderling were also present.The birds gradually moved away as the tide began to ebb and I left them to enjoy the peace and the food waiting on this rich stretch of the Lancashire coastline.Thanks for looking in and I will return soon with more from my travels.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Osprey Farewell

It has been many weeks since I reported on the Lake District ospreys.The good news was that the pair of ospreys had been successful in rearing two chicks and I returned this week knowing that they had fledged.I wanted to see them before they left on their long migration to West Africa.I did have some nice views of the two juveniles as they fed and flew around from the nest site.The parents were still around and were bringing back fish for their youngsters.I wish them a safe journey to Africa.

I have shown below some of my better efforts at photographing the two juveniles on the nest and taking off and landing with fish which will have been left by one of the adult birds.The fish that one of them is carrying is a flounder and will have been caught from the estuary of the nearby River Leven.I have also included some other wildlife seen in the area.It was nice to see a selection of butterflies which so far this year seem to have been in short supply. I also came across a basking adder and a young robin which both posed nicely for me. Hope you enjoy the images and I look forward to the ospreys returning next Spring.More and more ospreys are setting up home in this part of the Lake District and I am aware that more platform nests have been constructed to encourage the birds to stay.The future looks good for these magnificent birds to establish a healthy population and to go on and extend their range into other parts of Northern England.Thanks for looking in.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Diving Gannets

As promised in my last post I am now showing more images of the gannets taken on the wonderful pelagic trip out from Liverpool.Myself and the other photographers were kept very busy trying to capture the action as the gannets dived close to the boat.The skipper Gary Flint threw out mackerel for the gannets which we had previously caught from the boat.Gary also gave a running commentary as to the whereabouts of the gannets as they circled the boat. It was spectacular action as the birds hit the water at around 60mph to grab the mackerel.

Some of the images shown below capture the moment the gannets hit the water. The gannets wings are folded back just before they hit the water and they look like white missiles as they enter the water with a big splash. It was exciting trying to capture the fast moving action as sometimes a dozen or more gannets were competing and you couldn't be sure which one would hit the water. You can also see the gannets underwater as they pursued the fish.

Hope you enjoy looking at the images below.I certainly enjoyed the experience and it was one of my most rewarding days with the camera so far.Great company and wonderful weather added to this memorable day out from Liverpool aboard "Discovery".I am looking forward to doing it all again when we meet up again next year.