Sunday, 30 March 2014

Forest of Dean

Just got back from a weeks break to the Forest of Dean with Anne, were the target species of this trip was Wild Boar. With early plans scuppered so in the free time I had between trips I went out trying to find these beasts!

I was up early and out late, I found fresh wallowing holes, tracks, signs of foraging everything but no sightings, that was until the next to the last night when we had a male Boar come past us on a forest track.

The next day which was our  last day of our holiday I put things together came up with a sort of a  plan and eventually found a female with young.

In between the heavy showers and the area I was in I only managed a few shots, but, knowing what I know now I am going back for a couple of days in the very near future and with a bit of luck I may get some better shots

 It was hard work and I suppose it is all right for the people who are there on a regular basis as they
 will know the Forest a lot better than me, but like I said I learnt a lot!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


To be honest this is the first visit I have made to this fairly local pair of Peregrines and actually took my camera. Will more than likely leave it now until there are young and more activity around the site.

Met the local guys down there who, and all credit to them, are down most days making sure the birds are monitored on a regular basis.

Lets hope everything goes to plan.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Toads !!!!!!!!!

It is said that 8% of the UK population has a phobia of some kind, mine (for those of you who don't know me) is Frogs and Toads; do not ask me why it baffles the best of them!!

Anyway today I went to face the enemy head on; after some deep breaths and a second Mars bar I was in the thick of the action, let me explain.

It all starts pretty amicable the enemy keeping a fair distance

But if you are not careful they work as a team; this one kept my attention for a while.

Whilst three of his comrades (and please note the camouflage) crept closer to my vantage point, crafty little beggars!

And what made it worse was when they came in two's; as you are probably aware modern day snipers in the world's armed forces work with a partner for sighting purposes!!

What I have not told you yet is the average distance between the eye's was around 3ft. All shots taken with 500mm plus 2x converter!!!!!!!!!!

Beware they are amongst us

Friday, 14 March 2014

Great Crested Grebes

With spring upon us the weather just right everything seem's to come at you all at once and sometimes the hardest decision is what and where to go with the camera, I had several ideas for my last day's holiday but in the end I plumped for the Great Crested Grebes, hoping I would catch them 'dancing'.

I just should have got up a little earlier this morning as I was told there was a nice frost and mist was rising from the waters surface, the atmospheric photo's will just have to wait.

As I watched both birds you could just sense something was going to happen.

The pair would come together calling and raising their crest feathers and start to bob their heads, I just knew that soon they would make a synchronised dive and appear with weed in their beaks and start one of nature's amazing courtship dances.

Funny thing is I can only think 'how fast are their legs going'??

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Norfolk Adders

Decided to go to North Norfolk and visit one of their Heathlands on the lookout for Adders, many thanks to local expert Richard for putting us on the right track.

This typical Norfolk landscape was totally different from the areas that I am used to looking for Adders, and with the weather as it was the order of the day was look from a distance use a longer focal lens and tread lightly and very carefully!

It just amazed me how easy it was to overlook the Adders as they blended in very well with their surroundings.

This photograph shows an Adder in typical habitat and just how easy it could have been overlooked.

With a little care and using a longer focal length lens and a lot of luck closer images were had.

We also managed to find three stunning females, my first of the year.

We also saw a few Common Lizards

Great day out and Great company

Monday, 10 March 2014

Grass Snakes II

Had a look for more Grass snakes today as the weather was a little cooler and with more cloud I thought they would be less active; how wrong can you be!

I had seven sightings today but as you can see they were in much thicker cover. Once again at least two appeared to have soil on them as if they had just emerged.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Grass Snakes

Just what was needed a warmer day and some sunshine, this time last year it was wet and miserable and it was another month before I photographed my first Grass snake!

This warm spell has bought them out and if you look close enough you can see the dirt on this snakes body and around it's eye, it is probably it's first outing since going into hibernation last year.

Monday, 3 March 2014


45 to be precise! That is the total of individuals we saw today in one recording area for the Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group. The big question is; how many did we miss??

Not all individuals were photographed but the one's that were accommodating and where not covered by too much bracken or grass I did manage to get a shot.

It is not all plain sailing though as the heat of the day got more intense the Adder's themselves became more active and any slight movement near to them and they were soon off, so it became apparent that viewing from a distance was a must and the binoculars came into there own.

What is alarming is the number of people that are going into areas that may contain Adders and are just trudging all over the place, the vibration of which sends the Adder back into cover. Yes I agree they are nice to look at and photograph but PLEASE view from a distance, if then you can approach and all is well get the picture and leave. If you are unsure of what you are doing then ask this question; Should I be here?