Saturday, 14 May 2016

Dance of the Adders, 2016

"Dance of the Adders" - 2016

Our adders finally started dancing just over a week a go. A little later than usual, but then they emerged from hibernation earlier as well. They put on a brief display on the Friday, and then followed this up with some good action on the Saturday and Sunday, much to the enjoyment of many of our visitors!

During the past week I have not seen any "dancing" at all, and now the temperatures have dropped again that could be it for the year. Brief, but beautiful! That being said, I do remember about three years a go something similar happening with temperature drops just after they started, and they continued where they left off a couple of weeks later when it warmed up again... so who knows.

Anyway, here are a few pics from last weekend...

And I will end with a portrait... you can't beat a good portrait!

Thanks for looking :-)

Monday, 9 May 2016

Ten Favourites from 2015

"Could it be, the most beautiful animal in the world..."

Someone mentioned to me that I did a post on my favourite photos of 2014 at the beginning of last year, would I be doing the same again?.. Truth is, I didn't remember and never plan posts for this blog. But since asked here are ten of my favourites, which would possibly change if I chose them again tomorrow :-)

Of course, I have to start with a pine marten. Why?.. Because it's a PINE MARTEN! Look how handsome he is!

You may remember that the beginning of last year saw me using a Samsung for a while, this is one taken on the NX1 in the snow. Well, when I say snow, I mean sprinkling of white stuff... not much at all. 

We have a pair of kingfishers on our reserve. At the end of the winter last year, this little one visited our otter pond almost daily for about 2 weeks. 

Didn't do any Spring time publicity images this year, but normally do for the office. This was the one they picked for last year. Complete set up of course, but a pretty picture I think. I like the reflection of hello on the mouses chin. He must like butter... no wait, that's buttercups isn't it...

Arguably my favourite photo from last year, and one I was really pleased with. Got no where in competitions though... not even shortlisted. I love the scale it shows between mother and baby, and the scale of scales :-)

I could of done ten just of the adders dancing. Choosing just one, I went with this just because it is different. Not sure if it is my favourite I got last year, but certainly most unusual. Not seen this behaviour caught on a fish eye lens before.

Talking fish eye. I had to include one of Bess... Here she is in the bluebells last year, taken through a fish eye. 

The most beautiful owl in the world, sadly no longer with us. This is Fawkes, our old short eared owl. A photo I had in mind and wanted to take for a while, and finally got the chance last year. So glad I did so that I now have this to remind me of him.

You know I like colour, so here is one of Hugo in the autumn leaves. Hugo is an absolute star, the best hedgehog we have ever had in terms of photography and education. Hand read as a rescued hoglett by keeper Big Tom.

I have a few snarling wildcat photos, but am still waiting for that one that really stands out from the rest. I have it pictured in my mind, but it takes time, patience and luck. I did like this one though of Macavity I caught at the end of last year.

So there you go, ten of my favourites. Oh wait... How about one more, how could I forget this beautiful image from last summer...

Um, yeah... the day Meg turned the mink pond bright green! :-) I had a very worried radio call to go and see her at the mink enclosure, but when I saw it I just burst out laughing... Needless to say, Meg had a busy day sorting out that little mess :-)

Thanks for looking :-)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

More Owls in Bluebells

A couple of afternoons in the bluebells with some of the regular members have now come and gone, and enjoyed by all. I didn't take too many photos while down there, rather just making sure the owls were happy for everyone else, but took a few of course to share :-)

We took down the tawny owl, little owl, eagle owl and even a hedgehog.

Rich bought his barn owl in the other day... Tutoke. So I thought, why not, and took her to the woods for a few minutes. She is a beautiful barn owl, even if being in the bluebells isn't too natural.

Of course I had to get the fish eye lens out at some point :-)

Thanks for looking :-)

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Owls in Bluebells

Little Owl in the Bluebells

Another week on, and the bluebells are at their peak. We have managed to schedule a bluebell afternoon for some of our regular photographers to the Centre, so I went over to the woods for a few hours last night to scout out some positions for them.

The light was varied, the weather was perfect one moment then dark the next, windy another and we even had snow! But with Izzy's and Lucy's help we managed to find some great locations for later this week.

I only took the tawny owl, eagle owl and little owl down as they are the most likely to be seen in bluebells woodlands in the wild. Sure, the snowy, barn and short eared would make lovely photos... but I like to make them a little more natural, despite of course all being set up. 

Yes, I know I missed the long eared off that list... unfortunately Archimedes is moulting heavily at the moment, and although fine in himself, just doesn't look his best :-)

It was Tyrions first experience of the woodland, but he took to it well. 

As well as the owls, we took down Hugo the hedgehog for some pics too. 

Hugo is a star, one of the best hedgehogs we have ever had. He really is a poser for the camera, and loved being out in the woodland.

Of course, we had to find a spot for Ethel too... always the end of our photo days, always popular, and she looked beautiful in amongst the bluebells... despite it being pretty dark by this point.

Thanks for looking :-)

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Bess in the Bluebells

Bess in the Bluebells

Well, I'm still waiting for the adders to start dancing... and while waiting the bluebells in our woods have started to emerge. Not quite at their peak yet, but certainly good enough for some photography.

We had a group that was lucky enough to be booked on to a photographic day with our owls earlier this week, so I wanted to check out the bluebells for myself to get an idea of some places where we could set the owls up to add a bit of colour to the images. I didn't have time to have a real good session, and no help to pose owls, so I took Bess along to be an honoury owl for the morning :-)

The good news is that the bluebells are looking good, not at their peak, but still good. The bad news is that in terms of spread, it is the worst I have seen them! Normally a carpet of blue falls over our woodland, but this spring sees it more sparse with only small patches here and there.

This means no nice wide lanscapey type pictures, but for just the bluebells a few close ups were white nice. I think we have more white bluebells this year than before, so I took a couple of those too.

In the patches we do have though, it is possible to create some nice photos that add colour to the images.

We have our competition winner from a couple of years a go visiting this afternoon for exclusive photo day, so I am sure we will make the most of them today and hopefully I will be able to share some owl photos in the bluebells with you next week.

But Bess was a good model, posing nicely, and seemed to enjoy it down there.

Thanks for looking :-)