Simply a great place to be during this time of the year. Avocets, godwits, gulls and lots of squabbling – wish I lived closer!
The changing landscape of bird populations within Britain makes for interesting reading and Marshside, close to Southport, has seen some very interesting trends over the twenty or so years its been in the care of the RSPB.
I’ve been to Gigrin and Bwlch Nant yr Arian to photograph the red kites, but never to Llanddeusant. It’s a lot quieter than the other two, the sun’s behind you and the hides are very good for viewing but more importantly they’re excellent for photography.
A couple of speculative days down on the north coast of Gower, at Llanridian Marsh, brought some interesting birds and intriguing light. I decided to pick one spot and stay with it all day, not moving at all.
Another recent wader encountered whilst out with the geese was the ruff. Five birds spent a good half hour picking up the swan feed towards dusk and it was interesting to note the very different stages of plumage from wintering adults to juvenile birds. It’s the leg colour that varies more than anything and is pretty well emphasised in these images.
Back to Islay and the geese. The aim was to place them in a wider context and I was fortunate that the weather was with me (seems like it’s not been very good since then). The mornings were superb and straight out of the van I was able to work with a perfect backdrop and the geese coming over the waters of Loch Indal. Trying to work them together is not such an easy task, focusing is all against you and the focusing spot had to be continually adjusted.
It’s been the geese that have drawn me to various locations recently but there’s normally a trade off in the form of waders that frequent the same habitat. Here’s a few images of some of the waders I’ve encountered recently whilst following the geese.
Second day in the hide – 500 avocets, black and bar-tailed godwits and dunlin – the hide tide had pushed them all onto the Bowling Green Marsh on the Exe estuary. I was in the hide early enough to watch the avocets arrive, they came in three pulses.
More to come from Islay later but I managed a few of days down on the Exe estuary last week, again in search of getting some images of geese, dark-bellied brent this time from arctic Russia, in the context of the estuary. It was also an opportunity to witness a spectacle that has to be one of the finest in Britain, the population of avocets that flock in large numbers to this part of the world during the winter.
I’ve never seen lesser white-fronted geese in the wild or red-breasted geese but you have a chance to get close in and personal with them, and other more common British species, at the WWT centres.
Whilst I was waiting for my brother to pick up his passport from the Durham regional office back in the summer (I’ve a bit of catching up to do!) and listening to the Ashes on TMS, I noticed a common tern fishing by a weir on the Wear. We were due to visit the Cathedral later on and as per normal I carry the 50 -500mm with me at all times.
A series of images taken on the river Taff. It doesn’t matter what your working with there’s always a real feeling of excitement when your around any activity and the aim is to find the one shot when it all comes together.
I finally managed to catch up with a bird that has been a little elusive for me over the years, the only other sighting I had was at Dinas some four years ago and that could only be described as a glimpse.
‘I’ll just leave it for you to see’ were Mike’s words as we were driving through South Shields towards Marsden. He’d mentioned nothing about Kittiwakes, a lift or a pub and as we drove into the car-park none of this trio were evident, but he’d said something about a grotto?
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.