Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Mountain Hares

My first trip this Autumn/Winter, up onto the Dark Peak moorlands of Derbyshire to look for and photograph the Mountain Hare.

Smaller than the Brown Hare but just as fast and agile the Mountain Hare at this time of year goes through a moult into it's Winter white coat, this can start in October and usually by December they have turned all white, they go back to their Summer coat starting in late February early March.

Having travelled through thick fog it was a relief when travelling up to the tops the weather was bright and clear, parked up nice and early, now comes the bit I don't like; the hike up to where the Hares are to be found, especially when you are carrying a 600mm lens.

Although the Hares are now well into there moult they can still be tricky to spot, and after putting several up from under my feet I started to get my eyes in.

Some of the Hares will stay put and hunker down whilst others will get up and go, only stopping metres away to give you a cautionary glance back before shooting out of sight, and there are more of these than the ones that do stay put, no matter what you do!!

Frustrating at times but when things come together it can be well worth the wait, oh yes, forgot to mention the crawl through all the wet grass, peak bogs and everything else!!

They can stick out at a distance.

They also can be tricky to spot when hunkered down

But with a little patience you can get closer.

You may come across one in the open and given time and a lot of crawling you can get decent shots

With more patience and time! 

And finally

All taken with a 600mm lens and the new Canon 7D MK. 2

Thanks for looking 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Reed Bed Hide Rental


If so you may be interested in two new hides that D.C.C. Countryside Service have to offer..

The Rangers at Clay Cross Countryside Centre have been building these hides and modifying them over a period of several months.and now they are ready for use. 

Does not matter if you are professional or a keen amateur these hides offer a great opportunity to get close at water level to things like Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Water Rail and much more.

First hide is over looking a scrape area that can hold Grey Heron, Teal, Gadwall, Lapwing and much more.

Second hide is specifically for Common and Jack Snipe and Water Rail, other birds such as Kingfisher have been known to visit this site as well.

You will have to be physically fit to be able to walk through a reed bed and to stay in a lying position for your time in the hide, although there is enough room to kneel and sit up.

You are going to have to believe me for now because with other things I have not managed to get in myself and do any photography; I shall however be hoping to get in very soon and will be posting some pictures. I could have put some up from a couple of years back but I thought that not to be right, never the less I have viewed birds in front of both hides, with some only 4ft away!!

If you are interested then you need to call 01629 533020 where you will be given further details and any relevant information, you may even get put through to me for any specialist advice.

Thanks for looking in

Friday, 31 October 2014

Reflection Pool hide hire

The "POOL HIDE' is now up and ready for it's first customers.

The hide itself is part of a wooden shed that I have modified to suit the photography needs at the reflection pool. I have spent most of my spare time (when not photographing deer) down at the farm trying to get things just right. A select few of my closest friends have been to try it out with many combinations of kit you can think of; and now I am opening it up.

Firstly I will say that if there is a slight breeze you will not get the perfect reflection but more of an abstract! Secondly there is a lot more going off than just the pool, I have a flock of Tree Sparrows visiting and there can be as many as thirty, also the Great spotted Woodpecker both male and female are a daily visitor making on average four trips a day! Thirdly the Sparrowhawk; I cannot guarantee but he and she plus the Juv. bird know where there dinner is at! That one is pot luck on the day.

As the weather gets colder I am expecting the feeding area to get even more busier and if you look at my other Blog report on the 'pool' you can see what other species are likely to be seen, with Treecreeper being another new bird.

If you are interested then please get in touch by email or you can call me on 07751946586, please leave a message I WILL get back in touch.

Here are some of the latest images

I have been asked (questioned) by some people about the background, I can assure you it IS natural, the green comes from the field you are in and the lighter brown is the dead grass in the bottom of the hedge row.

 Above and below are images of the GSW

And I have to have one of the Juvenile female Sparrowhawk.

Thanks for looking and get in touch if you are interested, and just think this could have been you!!

You will never know unless you give it a go.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

More Red Deer

Apologise for the delay in posting about the Red Deer, I have been caught up with a couple more projects that have taken a little more time than anticipated.

For once (or was it twice) the weather gods were on my side and I managed a couple of early starts up on the moors. The first day I could not get myself into position early enough so that I could take advantage of a brilliant sunrise, but never mind there is always tomorrow; how wrong can you get??

You do not have to go far onto the moors to find yourself a stag with hinds, but, if you want a bit of action then be prepared to put in some miles and at the end of it; well one false move and you will watch your stag disappear over the next rise.

At one point I was surrounded by eight stags all with their ladies in tow and all getting on with letting each other know who was boss! After an hour or so I had been watching a pair of stags that had been sizing each other up, and one had already lost a few of his hinds to the other when it all kicked off. At the time it did I was probably half a mile away but as I could see through my binoculars they were not messing about. It was a hard walk back uphill and by the time I got to photograph the two stags they were still going for it, the battle went on for twenty minutes or so until the older looking stag decided that was it for him, running off and leaving behind fourteen hinds.

I had to keep changing position once I got up to the two fighting stags as they covered a bit of ground in the early stages, and they were not messing about.

For me it was more satisfying in getting some decent shots with these wild deer but it was hard work with a lot of ground to cover. Will be there next year though.

Thanks for looking

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Goosander, a chance encounter.

It was only meant to be a quick trip into Bakewell, but was I glad I took along the camera. I would not like to think how many times I have parked the car and gone over the bridge looking at the water expecting to pick something out of the assembled Mallards B.H.Gulls Canada Geese etc. etc.

Right below me in the froth of the weir were two Goosander, change of plan, I went for the camera and had a good hour with the birds.

You can see why they are in the 'Sawbill' family group

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Deer Rut

Having made the decision not to go to Bradgate Park this year and to try for 'wild' Deer, I put in four  days at work to add onto my rest days thinking that I would get a half decent chance; well, let me say this the first two weeks with three days off has not panned out very well at all, I have managed ZERO trips to the moors on my days off thanks to the great British weather. But then again on three occasions I have managed to rush up after work hoping to catch a really nice sunset, I will let you be the judge of that.

Here are some shots from those three very rushed and short lived trips in the evening.

I have every intention of getting up onto the moors for an early start and weather permitting I will be there this coming week.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Back at the Pool

After many visits and what seemed a life time of getting in and out of the hide to place or replace objects I think I have about cracked it!!

Here are some shots from today.

If anyone is interested about using this set up the hide holds two people there are chairs and it is very much water proof!!

Just get in touch for further details.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Reflection Pool

Over the past few weeks I have been building a reflection pool and before I go any further I want to say a big thanks to Del for help with the construction and Paul for the advice given when things just are not going as planned, and finally James for trying it out with different combinations of lenses and cameras and coming up with plenty of ideas.

Once everything was in place and ready it was just a matter of getting the birds to be where you want them, easier said than done.

Even as I write this there is STILL some tweaking to do especially with the back of the pool area, this the important bit as it is where you want to photograph the birds. I am still not happy with this and will spend more time putting this right.

It is not for the fact I have no birds coming I have had 4 species of the Tit family, Tree Sparrows, Woodpeckers, Jay, Kestrel, Magpie and other common species in abundance but getting them down to drink, well thats another matter!!!!!

Heres a few from the last couple of weeks

Then there is the other factor to consider the slight breeze!!

 Like I said I still have to get the back sorted a Tree Sparrow with no legs!

Who's looking at who?

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Up on 'MOORS'

It was one of those last minute decisions that when the day has done you think back and say to yourself; "I'm glad I chose to do what I did".

These sort of days when things work out better than expected do not come very often but when they do I still get a buzz, and it was a day of first's, it was the first time I had ever seen baby Adders, unfortunately no photographs were taken but I did have some great company to share that moment with me.

In this particular area I also had my first Grass Snakes of which one was a last years youngster and I did manage a few shots of him before he found himself a nice retreat to go down.

This first shot shows the Grass Snake with a 'milky' eye this is prior to the snake sloughing it's skin

The next two shots are of the young Grass Snake

We also had a few Common Lizards, I say a few I actually lost count, and it was good to see a lot of this years young.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Harvest Mice

Once again I was very fortunate to be invited down to visit a photographer who has been involved with his own breeding programme and the re-introduction of the Harvest Mouse.

The UK's smallest mammal and which has a decent stronghold here in North East Derbyshire, one site in particular comes under the management of the Countryside Service based out of Clay Cross.

Very difficult, if not nigh impossible to photograph in the wild I took up this opportunity to photograph some of the 60 plus mice that were available to me on the day I went down. Now I must emphasise that the mice are not just used for photography purposes but are in-fact taken to suitable habitats and released in the hope of establishing further populations.