Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Great Crested Grebes

For many years I have hoped to photograph Great Crested Grebes performing their courtship 'Weed dancce'....I realised this hope this weekend just gone, when I finally got a pair dancing in the viewfinder.
Pairs of Great Crested Grebes perform elaborate courtship displays, shaking their heads, dipping their necks, diving under the water emerging with beak fulls of weed before coming together raised out of the water for their beautiful weed dance.
A few shots from the early morning session below;

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can't resist photographing Herons, this one nicely perched beyond the Grebes in a tree low to the water

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Wednesday, 11 March 2015

WWT Martin Mere

I have been longing to get back to Martin Mere to photograph the Whooper Swans before they start their long migration back to their summer breeding grounds in Iceland. I have been going to Martin  Mere for a long time now and never tire of seeing these stunning birds. But as well as the Whoopers, Martin Mere is home to many other waterfowl and birds... here is a selection from this visit

Firstly the Whooper Swans

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other Waterfowl included....

its that time of year for the mallards

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Pintail

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Shelduck

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Greylag

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Eider

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Moorhen

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Others included Little Egret

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friendly Robin

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female Reed Bunting

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Long Tailed Tit

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The tractors were busy in the fields around Burscough, and ever the opportunists lots of Gulls picking up the exposed earthworms and other goodies

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A bit of variety ....

The last couple of weeks have seen me out with the camera in very different locations, I am still without my big lens, still being repaired but if nothing else the time without it has given me some valuable time with my 300mm F4 and combined with a 1.4TC it has worked really well.
A couple of weeks ago Sharon and I were exhibiting at RSPB Conwy, although it was not a really busy day on the stand, outside it was a beautiful day and was great to have a wander around the reserve....

A few years ago a Little Egret sighting was a rarity, thankfully they are a common sight at many estuaries, stunning birds up close

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there was a beautiful pair of Mute Swans feeding right outside the 'Lookout' where our exhibition was

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On Saturday morning we returned to RSPB Burton Mere to hopefully see the Long Eared Owl that has recently taken up residence, unfortunately it has taken to roosting in a dense Hawthorn bush, although I couldn't get a clear view through to it, was quite pleased with what I got

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Then it was on to Parkgate down on the Dee Estuary for the high tide due at lunchtime, at 10.3m this is a big tide that floods much of the salt marsh, pushing all the rodents in closer to land, bringing with it raptors such as Short Eared Owls and Kestrels, as well as all the waders pushed in by the tide.
No real keepers out of the camera, but still some nice record shots.

Short eared owl hunting along the tide line

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Quite a few Kestrels about picking off fleeing rodents

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the preverbial 'Drowned Rat' !!

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we saw quite a few Water Rails flushed out by the incoming tide

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I lost count of the number of Herons following the tide in for easy pickings

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this little Water Vole one of the lucky ones that escaped the incoming tide

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this little guy swimming for it

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Sunday morning we had an early wander down the River Alyn hoping to see Dippers, and quickly found the resident pair, lots of courtship and displaying going on, a sure sign that Spring is just around the corner, as is the Snowdrops

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