Mid-summer's day is never wasted, especially when it falls on a Saturday and the weather forecast is perfect. Waking at 5am I was at Leighton Moss for 6am and headed straight for Lower Hide in search of otters. I didn't have to wait long for this one to appear and, for once, I got a close encounter...
Mission accomplished, I decided to head to Gait Barrows where insects were bound to be waking up in the morning sun. They were indeed, especially butterflies...
Barely recovered from the "lad's weekend" I flew to Derry in Northern Ireland on Tuesday 17th June on a "Peace and reconciliation" course. Naturally I took my camera gear along too...
The following morning I took an early morning stroll northwards along the river from the City Hotel. I never expected to see much and sure enough, I didn't. However, I managed to get much closer to the birds than I would ordinarily...
Stewart Norcross lives opposite me and shares the same passion for the great outdoors. Needless to say we've done many a walk together (usually from pub to pub on Longton high street) but more serious endeavors have included the "Three Peaks Challenge" in 2009. This weekend was Stewart's 40th birthday, so stress and hassle were not an option. Seven of us headed north to enjoy a glorious weekend at Centreparcs Penrith...
Badgers, 15/06/14, Centreparcs Penrith. Typical, you wait 43 years to see one, then four turn up at once! Many thanks to the very sociable wardens who pointed me in the right direction. This was, without a doubt, the highlight of the trip. (Mind you, beating Mike at table tennis came a close second).
To bee or not to bee? That was the question on Thursday 12th June. With so many insects buzzing around enjoying the sun, it was difficult to ignore their sheer variety. Normally at Mere Sands Wood I would look for Kingfishers , but this time I never got further than the flower meadow next to the Visitors' Centre.
So easy to lose track of time when absorbed in photography, I had been snapping away at insects for two hours! Driving back to Penwortham I took a detour down Howick Cross Lane, a great place to come in the fading daylight. To my surprise, I found Tree Sparrows: my first ever sighting of this species in Penwortham.
The idea of a blog, so I'm told, is to keep it up to date. Apologies for not doing that. However, my excuse is a good one: I've been busy: busy snapping away at wildlife at every opportunity! This + work + kids + world cup footy have all taken their toll I'm afraid. At long last though, I can begin to unfold the highlights of rather an eventful midsummer photography binge.
On Sunday 8th June I awoke to a noisy dawn chorus at 5am. I noticed a huge bank of cloud to the south moving slowly north, the north itself was cloudless. To head north was a no-brainer, but a trip to the legendary Barbondale was a bit of a gamble. I had heard plenty about this place, but would it live up to expectations?
Just after the village of Barbon near Kirkby Lonsdale, I disturbed a Tawny Owl perched on a dry stone wall, a good omen I thought. From there I descended into paradise: a perfectly formed little valley, isolated and gorgeous. I parked the car just before a stone bridge and, as soon as I opened the door, the first sound I heard was that of a cuckoo. Moments later, the same bird shot right across the valley.
Reluctant to leave the Flycatcher festival, I headed towards Fowlshaw Moss with a view to getting home before lunch time...
After a half term week's "holiday" in Devon, run ragged by my kids 24-7, it was time for a morning off. So on Sunday I rose at 5am to be at Leighton Moss for 6am. From lower hide I observed the otters distantly porpoising through a thin layer of surface mist, lovely to watch but still too far away for a decent shot. As the temperature rose and the mist disappeared, I decided to focus on the small stuff...
The 1Km walk from Lower Hide back to my car on the main road is never dull, but today it was extra-special...
And with so many insects around, I couldn't ignore Gait Barrows nature reserve, just down the road...