Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Some super summer sightings!

Summer can be testing for birdwatchers, the foliage can be dense and woodland walks mean relying on knowledge of bird calls. Quite often I leave the camera at home and just enjoy a good walk with my binoculars, this way helps to become attuned to the sounds of nature while having the ability to get a closer look at anything I manage to see.

The peregrine season has drawn to a close for this year, three healthy looking youngsters are now making their own way in the wildlife world. On one of my last days on duty I arrived a bit early and while waiting for the RSPB representative to arrive at Malham YDNP visitor centre I spotted movement by the edge of the car park.

Some quick settings readjustments, defaults for the day are peregrine in flight! A hedgehog searching for food after heavy rain during the night...

The day provided no opportunities for peregrine photographs.

A trip with my wife to RSPB Leighton Moss and we had otter sightings...

Sedge warbler with a food catch...

Nuthatches are among my favourite birds...

and treecreepers are always a delight to see!
The way the birding and photography world works can cause conflict with birders being wary of disclosing sites for certain species because of the fear of photographers trying to get too close. A good friend confided in me as to the site of a pair of barn owls, they would be feeding young at this time so care had to be taken to ensure no disruption.

Some patient watching on a moorland site paid dividends

Really special moments as we watched it hunt and perch, then resume its hunting quite unpeturbed by our presence.

On a further visit the owls were disturbed by the presence of two people rabbit hunting with dogs, a rabbit was taken near the owl nest site, the resulting noise was enough for the male barn owl to fly out in alarm and make a direct flight for about 1/4 of a mile.

Before that I was stood with a good mate in silent observation when I heard "Dave, no quick movements" in a whisper....me "Why?" ..."You have a stoat watching you!" hasty camera settings adjustments and ...

A nature reserve, new to me, has provided some lovely feeders shots. The feeders have the appearance of tree stumps, they are certainly more photo friendly than wire feeders!

Greater spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, jay and magpie.

A small pond there attracts kingfishers, as close as I have seen and a delight to behold.

Why people would want to lure them to dive into a tank for the purposes of photography continues to elude me. The shots you see in national newspapers always quote a river or a pond, the photographers cannot even tell the truth about how their shots are obtained...maybe a fear the public would abandon their mass adoral!

A day out with a birding mate, a couple of RSPB reserves near Leeds were visited on a hot and sunny day.

Sedge warbler..

A fairly scarce black tern moulting out of summer plumage...


Great crested grebe with youngster

On duty at Malham and a lovely green woodpecker juvenile showed well

I continue to visit the reserve where the kingfishers show...

Sightings are quiet at my raptor watchpoint but spotted flycatcher are a super compensation!

Especially when two juvenile blackcaps perch close by!

With peregrine sightings now decreasing we have been pleased to show our visitors the delightful redstart juveniles and adults.

Further visits to the kingfisher site...

Some moorland edge watching got me spotted flycatcher with a youngster

And to end with...more kingfisher shots, what a delight to see so close...

I try hard to keep my photography on the right side of a line, a line that contains no disturbance, natural settings, non disclosure of sensitive sites. I hope I portray that accurately with my blog posts, the growth of wildlife photography is disturbing in many ways, too many people seeking a quick and easy way of getting shots some of us have spent years trying to achieve.

The paid hides cater for that and they feed of it, now "canny"photographers who have used them quite often run "workshops", they usually have no photographic qualifications but having taking 1000's of shots in the hides themselves they are educated enough to teach others, they think.

Many years ago I remember one now quite well known photographer stating "5 hours and one glimpse of a kingfisher, this is not for me"....prescient words indeed! 

I will use public hides and they are a great way for kids to be introduced to watching wildlife, the need to be quiet especially, and the great requirement of patience.

A text conversation with a friend yesterday reminded me of the maxim, the more I get out the luckier I get!

Many thanks to all who view the blog, please don't forget if you are minded to comment that they come to me first for moderation.