Wet August

August 31, 2009 at 11:49 am

Comma Butterfly

It is a good job there hasn’t been much to film this month because the weather has been awful. Islay has had eight inches of rain during August so I am glad I haven’t been up there either! In between the rain we have had some butterflies in the garden including Peacocks, Comma, Red Admiral and what must be the butterfly of the year the Painted Lady.

Also in the garden there were four female Chaffinches one day and a female Sparrow Hawk.

I start my Wildlife film shows on the 2nd of September at Marple and I look forward to meeting fellow wildlife enthusiasts on my travels.

Swallows On The Move

August 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm


Once again the Swallows at the Golf Club have had a successful season with more than fifty young fledged from five/six pairs. This year with only one room available for them to nest in two pairs have bred on the outside of the buildings, one on an alarm and the other just attached to the wall like a House Martins. Most of the young are now flying South but how many of them will reach South Africa?

On Hopwood there are now a pair of Roe Deer and a this years young. These will probably stay until late Autumn when lack of cover will force them back to Roch Valley which is more secluded. Also seen in the recent hot weather were two Green Woodpeckers feeding together on the ground. There are now lots of parties of juvenile birds around and it would seem that most have had a successful breeding season. All except the Buzzards that once again do not appear to have produced any young locally this year. Parties of Bullfinches are particularly enjoying the ripening crop of Blackberries.

Back To Earth

August 17, 2009 at 5:27 am

Little Ringed Plover

After two weeks in the Arctic Ice it is difficult to return to the local scene against the backdrop of thundering traffic on the M62.

A visit to Pennington Flash produced five Green Sandpipers, good to see but always too far away to film. A family party of Bullfinches and a Willow Tit were also enjoyed at the feeding station in the presence of a rat!

In the hills two Green Sandpipers were feeding around the edge of a moorland reservoir, plus a Little Ringed Plover with two young that were only about fifteen days old.

In the garden a young Tawny Owl was calling for food in the early hours of the morning and was being regularly fed by the adult.

Spitsbergen Re-Visited

August 10, 2009 at 11:56 am

Boreal Jacobs Ladder

Polar Bear on Back

I couldn’t resist a further two photos from Spitsbergen. One the female Polar Bear enjoys a bit of back scratching. The other is of one of Spitsbergen’s most stunning flowers, the Boreal Jacobs Ladder.

Polar Bear Feast

August 8, 2009 at 2:06 am

Polar Bear

After four visits to Spitsbergen and no decent photographs of Polar Bears it all came good last week with seven bears being seen in one day and a total of twenty six for the ten day voyage.

I am going to remember the thirtieth of July for a long time with spectacular Arctic weather in the pack ice and a female bear and her two eighteen month old cubs being along side the boat for more than two hours. During that time I took nearly an hour of video and more than two hundred and fifty still shots, all in full sunshine, on ice and with a flat calm blue sea. During that time she hunted seals, tried to steal a kill off a male bear, slid on her back in the snow, slept and surprisingly suckled the two very large cubs on her milk. It has to be the most amazing wildlife event I have ever filmed in nearly forty years. I have already viewed the results and they are stunning. If I was super critical I can only say that the sun was that bright that on some of the photos she closed her eyes!!!

On another day whilst filming Little Auks I took my coat off to rest the camera on whilst on a rock. I crawled to my camera bag twenty feet away for a new battery and when I looked back at the coat an Arctic Fox was sat on it trying to extract my gloves from one of the pockets – all captured on film. It finally dragged the coat off the rock and I had to retrieve it before it ended up in it’s den.

I had fabulous views of Grey Phalaropes, Pomerine Skuas and Ivory Gulls all in pristine Arctic conditions. Over forty Arctic plants were filmed and identified with some already going to seed after the short Arctic Summer.

More to follow …..