It feels as if I’m lucky when I visit the Lancashire mosses. Rarely do I fail to see the Barn Owl and more often than not it silently floats up to me before banking away down an adjacent drainage ditch. My brother, who photographed birds primarily in the era of film, has spent many hours watching without such fine sightings. He’s of a mind I keep one in the van and release it each time I visit!
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A few of the birds we caught up with
Winter in Norfolk brings vast skies and some great birds. I’ve visited the north Norfolk coast on a few occasions in the last year or so sometimes as part of bird race with friends (good company and good birding and if you’re up for a year list, gets you off to a flying start with well over a hundred species possible in a few days) and sometimes on my own.
On a recent brief trip up north, Barrow and Liverpool I managed a few short forays out with the camera. The images in this post were taken at Askam pier, about a hundred yards from where my brother lives.
An hour or so on the Lancashire mosses provided an unexpected encounter with a number of hares. I went primarily for the Barn Owl, but it didn’t show. The first run down Engine Lane bought the first hare, it was one of seven separate sightings I was to have in the time I was there.
Going up to Liverpool to see family over Christmas always offers the chance to visit the Lancashire mosses. Phil and I managed a couple of afternoons on this occasion. The expectation is always as enjoyable as the event. Having a few hours ahead of you not knowing what may turn up is as good as it gets. I remember in my teens cycling out on weekends to these flat expanses and although they have changed since those days they still offer a good days birding.
I spent the last few days in Norfolk with my brother Phil. It was very dull, weather wise, but I firmly believe there is no poor light for photography, just different light. Whatever you are faced with you make it work and after you’ve traveled overnight from South Wales, some 280 miles or so, you are pretty determined to get something out of it. We journeyed through the night to gain a full day and at this time of the year the usable natural light has all but gone by 4.00pm, so you have a long evening to recuperate.
I am often asked if there is any occasion when I have felt under pressure when taking photographs of birds. On the whole I am fairly sanguine over what you get and what you miss, it’s part of the deal with this sort of photography, but there is a particular moment that comes to mind when I felt if I didn’t manage to secure a decent shot from this then I might as well give up.
Last week I spent four full days at WWT Slimbridge. I hit a decent spell of weather too, days of hard frosts and unbroken blue skies, a rarity this last few weeks when the shortening days have appeared to close in earlier due to successions of low pressure systems bringing heavy rain.Continue reading
When Tom Kistruck, the RSPB warden at Ynys-hir, told me that the most recent count of the Greenland White-fronted Geese on the Dyfi estuary, not far from the town of Machynlleth, had grown from the eleven that had been reported before Christmas to thirteen, I had a feeling that the number might prove to be as unlucky as I’d been the previous couple of days. I’m not generally a superstitious person but at times like this you sort of begin to wonder.
A week spent in Northumberland with my brother to see a few exhibitions he’s been involved with was inspirational in many ways and has pushed me forward in thinking about my own work.
A few days on the Solway during February to see the High Arctic archipelago Svalbard Barnacle Geese also bought some good sightings of Ban Owl, Whooper Swans, and the Yellowhammers feeding off the seed of the main paths at WWT Caerlaverock.