The Causeway RSPB

Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve: The Path to the Lower Hide

Although the weather forecast threatened rain and poor visibility, we took ourselves up to Leighton Moss mid-week. Its about an hour’s drive away. We had to return a  bird-feeding station for the garden we’d bought there a couple of weeks ago. It was a very nice one in natural wood but would have been far too big for its allocated space.  The hangers for bird food look just fine where they are now on the trees.  The garden birds aren’t complaining at any rate, judging by the rate they’re getting through their suet blocks and peanuts. So much for the weather forecast!  It was a lovely day: quite warm and sunny.  And that’s not a usual combination for NW England in February. Leighton Moss is an RSPB reserve (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). It is situated on the edge of Morecambe Bay and in the Arnside and and Silverdale  AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The reserve contains the largest reedbeds in North-West England and is home to some rare birds such as breeding bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers. All of which we have seen at various times. On this visit we took the path from Lillian’s […]

Flying and the Art of Levitation as Practised by Swans

Flying and the Art of Levitation have fascinated me since I was a child when I frequently made unsuccessful attempts to do either or both. I always believed that the reason I couldn’t  fly was because I wasn’t trying hard enough. Somehow I knew that this potential ability should NEVER be revealed to grown-ups, so I explained that all the thuds coming from my room upstairs were me jumping/falling off my bed. To this day, I still day-dream about it.  Perhaps I was a bird in a past life.  Perhaps I will be in a future life…….. Before my 400mm lens became too heavy to cart around and my reactions slowed down, I used to love photographing birds in flight. Here are some Whooper Swans flying:     And here is a Glaswegian stunt swan practising the art of levitation:     No more practising the art of levitation for me. If I jumped off my bed now, I’d probably break my hip!   Many thanks again to Cee for hosting her Fun Foto Challenge: Crawling or Flying  

A Tufted Duck with Attitude

A Tufted Duck with Attitude In all my decades as birdwatcher and my years photographing our feathered friends, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a face staring at me through my viewfinder. I love tufted ducks. They are pretty much the shape and proportions of those yellow plastic ones you can float in the bath, though obviously bigger. You usually see them bobbing along, dabbling for pond weed. They have little tufts of feathers on top of their heads that stick up when caught by the breeze. If you had to describe them in one word, it would probably be “cute”. This one, however, must have been the rebel of the flock:    


Feathers As a keen birdwatcher my word association with “feathers” has to be “birds”. And what a lot of gear I seem to have needed to enjoy then simple pleasure of watching our feathered friends. Over the years the equipment I carry around has evolved from (a) binoculars (b) binoculars and telescope (c) binocular, bridge camera with zoom lens plus point and shoot camera attached to telescope by means of digiscoping kit (d) binoculars, DSLR camera, 100-400 lens, macro lens, lens clamp for bird hide (or perhaps a monopod or a tripod) And then it all got too heavy for me, so I’ve gone back to carrying only binoculars. I’m just a birdwatcher again.  And how relaxing this is, though the telescope will come out again in winter as we live in an area well visited by migrant birds. I’ve selected a few images from many hundreds for this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Feathers.        I’m sure there will be so many different takes from bloggers all around the world on the theme of Feathers. You’ll find them by clicking on the icon below: Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday: Two Cygnets

  I went back 5 years in the archives for this picture of two cygnets and even after so many years I can still remember their antics. There were four of them all together out for a walk with their mum and dad. Every time they took a couple of steps, one of them flopped down and wouldn’t budge. Although it was a different cygnet each time, the whole family would stop until they were all upstanding again. It took them ages to waddle a few yards along the path to the pond at the rate of left-right-flop, left-right-flop. Synchronised toddling!

The Eagle has Landed (you just can’t see it)

Thanks Hugh, for your Photo Challenge Week 26 : Distance as its given me a chance to post something I never thought would see the light of day on this blog. Distance? Oh I know all about that in my pursuit of THE wildlife image. When I had a 50mm-270mm lens, I kept trying to take birds that were just too far away, whilst ignoring those that were within easy reach.  So……I bought myself  a Canon100-400L lens ….and……again ignored what would have been a good capture to focus even further away to something on the horizon, always  knowing at the back of my mind that when cropped to show the bird, it would be so full of noise and so pixellated that I wouldn’t consider posting it on any of my wildlife groups. But I couldn’t resist firing away in continuous shoot mode which I sometimes think now  I did  because (a) I loved the noise it made and (b) everybody else was doing it. On a trip to the beautiful Scottish island of Mull, renowned for its abundant wildlife – especially White-Tailed Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles and Otters – I did indeed see the most amazing sights (Through a powerful […]

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