The Redwing Roost

January 19, 2020 at 6:21 pm

At the end of a winters day Redwings come together to spend the night in a communal roost. Some of these birds will travel many miles to roost together for safety and perhaps to tell one another where there is food. Unlike Starlings they do not murmurate but fly directly into the roost – usually in a pine forest. I visited one such roost in the Ribble valley last month and stood in amazement as thousands of Redwings flew over my head into the pines. Over a period of forty minutes more than twenty thousand Redwings entered the roost and it was impossible to arrive at an accurate figure. As it was almost dark when the last birds arrived taking photos was not easy but some are in this weeks gallery. I understand that BBCs Winterwatch camera men have been to film the spectacle which will be shown in their programme in the next ten days.click here

Yellow Brain Fungus

January 12, 2020 at 4:40 pm

Whilst out in the local woods last month I noticed something yellow on the ground amongst the leaves.There are not that many fungi out in the depth of winter but these stood out from some distance. Not being an expert on fungi I took some photos and have now identified it as Yellow Brain fungus – an apt name! It is not a rare fungus but it is intriguing that despite walking though this wood for more than fifty years I have never seen it before. Click here
Everyone is still awaiting the arrival 0f the Waxwings and it would appear that the one that I found in the Ribble valley on the 18th November is still the only one seen so far in east Lancashire. Do not worry though as they have now reached the Lake District and Yorkshire so it is only a matter of time!!

Jack Snipe At Last

January 5, 2020 at 6:41 pm

This winter has generally been very poor for migrant birds with one exception – Jack Snipe. I found my first one on the 14th October and by the year-end I had flushed 51 including a near record ten on one morning alone in November. This week I came across Jack Snipe number 52 but this time there was a bonus – it did not fly off!! A quick drive home for my camera and when I returned it was in exactly the same position. I took my photos and left it in peace! click here

Year End

December 30, 2019 at 6:10 pm

At the beginning of the year my photographic targets for the year included hunting Long Eared Owl and young Kingfishers perched on a branch after fledging. Up to six hours a day were spent, under cover, in June and July to capture the Long Eared Owl and I was almost successful with the young Kingfishers. My dream of five young Kingfishers on the same branch was spoiled when two of them perched nearby so I had to make do with three on the branch and two elsewhere as shown in this weeks gallery. My work on Hen Harriers on Islay continued and after 43 years is now nearing completion!
The end of this year is quite special in that it is fifty years since I started to film wildlife. Initially it was a hobby but for 22 years I was a full time professional wildlife film-maker travelling the world from the Seychelles to Spitsbergen to make films. It was a dream come true and I can still remember the day I had to pinch myself to believe that here I was, in my hide, on the Arctic tundra of Alaska waiting for a Snowy Owl to return to its nest!! – a long time since, as a ten year old, I won the Nature prize at a secondary Modern school in Bury! Click here

it’s Reindeer Time

December 21, 2019 at 9:16 pm

This week’s photo was taken through my video camera in Svalbard ten years ago. The Svalbard reindeer is smaller than the Lapland reindeer but its antlers are much more impressive. On my last ever visit to Svalbard, three years ago, I had the unique opportunity to photograph a female Polar Bear with three cubs. This has hardly ever been seen before and only myself and a fellow traveller were in the right position at the rear of the boat to obtain any photos.
With Christmas Greetings to all my readers. click here

The Dive

December 15, 2019 at 6:26 pm

The Kestrel might be our commonest bird of prey but you can never go out and plan to photograph one. This summer I spent some time watching a well-marked male as he looked for prey on the ground from some telegraph wires. I had to try to anticipate the split second he left the wires and more often than not failed to capture the action. However, with luck I did succeed occasionally as can be seen in this weeks blog photo. Some immature birds are shown in the gallery. click here