Dipper Success

May 28, 2017 at 5:59 pm

This years dry Spring has been a big bonus for Pennine dippers with most now having fledged their first brood of young. This weeks photos are from one of those first broods and both adult birds were feather perfect. Spate flooding is always a problem for Dippers and it remains to be seen whether their second brood attempts will be as successful. Click here
During the last few weeks a great deal of time has been spent searching for Dotterel, Woodcock and Long eared Owls. One morning I was standing on the top of Pendle Hill before 7.00am but I was all alone with no dotterel present that morning. You can’t win them all!!

Wood Warbler Mystery

May 21, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Wood Warbler
Wood Warblers are summer visitors to Britain and in the last twenty years their numbers have declined by up to 90%. In fact forty years ago I could have found them breeding within one mile of my home in Rochdale. Sadly not any more, only a handful return to the Pennines each year. The male starts to sing immediately he arrives but in most cases he fails to attract a female and so moves on. No one knows why there has been a catastrophic decline in this stunning little Warbler and unless we can find an answer we have no chance to help reverse the current downward spiral. This weeks photos are of a single male in Bowland last week. Click here
In the garden this week we have had more than twenty different species coming to the food offered. These have included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker who has taken food away to a nestful of young somewhere nearby. On another day twenty three Starlings dropped in to devour the fat-balls.

Drumming Snipe

May 13, 2017 at 7:58 pm

One of the attractions of Islay in Spring are the vast numbers of wading birds that breed at places like Gruinart. My favourite is the Snipe and the male carries out a display flight called drumming. In the evening he takes wing high in the sky then descends at more than 50kilometers per hour. As he reaches this speed, or more, he extends his outer two tail feathers at right angles and it is the vibration of these two feathers that produces this amazing drumming sound. Prior to digital cameras it would have been almost impossible to capture this display on film but last week on Islay conditions were perfect and I managed one or two acceptable photos.
I have always maintained that in wildlife photography you results are directly proportionate to the time that you put in. You make your own luck and a classic example occurred last week. I was hidden away on a sea cliff filming Ravens when suddenly a young Peregrine from last year flew past and gave me some unexpected photos that are in this weeks gallery together with others from a most memorable week. Click here

An Islay Spring

May 7, 2017 at 7:47 pm

A visit to Islay in Springtime is a wonderful experience. The island is a mass of yellow from the gorse and the woods are deep blue from the bluebells.Add to all this ninety hours of sunshine in six days and I cannot think of anywhere better to visit at this time of year.
Last week migration was in full swing with hundreds of Whimbrels feeding and moving through as Corncrakes called from the nettle and Iris beds. I had the unique privilege of spending two hours watching a single Corncrake feed and call from a distance of less than fifteen feet( I was in my car!). This weeks gallery includes photos of this single Corncrake. click here
Many of Islay’s resident birds performed well last week and coupled with some fabulous sunsets they will be included next week.