Thursday, 29 August 2013

22-29th August 2013, A new friend and a new project

Walks have been restricted to local areas in the last week as the backlog of jobs to catch up at home after a week away took priority.

With the canal and moors so close there are always walks somewhere near though and even half an hour can be sufficient to find some relaxation.

It was one such a short escape that I found a new friend, a young heron which seems to know no fear of being near humans, I sincerely hope this remains the case as it is a fascinating creature to be near.

It was on this walk as I crossed some farmland that I got talking to the landowner, we have chatted a few times over the years regarding farming and wildlife and he knows my camera and binoculars mean I am not likely to be causing mischief or harm on his land. He said he had been hoping to see me for a few months, he has my contact details now! There have been little and tawny owls nesting and rearing young this year and he talked me through roughly where the nest sites have been as the adults and young have been seen regularly, permission has been granted for me to explore the four acre site at length and for me to erect temporary hides if I wish. I returned home with a real spring in my step!

A couple of nights later I returned for a brief look round, any time spent here will be vital in learning the angles for possible photographs, where the sun is at different times, where the shadows spread, where trees block the view and most importantly where the owls are!

I just missed a clean focus on a long tailed tit as a flock twittered and flitted from tree to tree...

A goldfinch was a more willing model...

The light was receding badly at this point and I cut short the visit.

Another walk by the canal and my heron buddy decided to take a walk with me...

A short walk up on the moor at weekend and we enjoyed the sunshine during a very pleasant stroll, the grouse were understandably coy...

The peacock butterflies continue to delight...

And a kestrel came tantalisingly close...

Another exploration of the owl site yielded a view of a little owl as its bobbling flight took it down the far side of the field as I closed a noisy gate, lesson learned and I'll climb the gate in future!

I am beginning the learn the layout and vantage points, maybe the wrong time of year but all knowledge in such things is vital and even if I can only visit at weekends it is very near to my home and anything I see and learn will come in handy next spring.

Cultivating relationships with animals is also vital and great fun as I got another fantastic few minutes with the heron...

Yet more time reccying out the owls and I got a bonus with flight views, if distant, of both little and tawny owls, light was fading and attempts at photographs would have been futile and at this point I am better served sticking to research.

My skill at keeping still and unobserved was demonstrated by a kestrel coming in to perch nearby, the quality of the shot taken at 1/30th of a second at iso3200 demonstrates the gathering darkness, time to go home!

I'll post regular updates on the owl project, I am the only photographer to be granted total access to this land, gaining the trust of the farmer comes close to the feeling of gaining the trust of a wild creature!

Many thanks to all who read, much appreciated


  1. You are lucky to have a heron as a 'friend', fabulous close-ups

  2. Some fantastic photos. Good luck with the owl hunting. Look forward to the pics.