Sunderland Point

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I recently had a couple of visits to Sunderland Point on the Lune Estuary.This is a remote and beautiful part of Lancashire and requires an amount of planning before any visit.It is a finger of land surrounded on one side by the estuary of the River Lune and on the other by part of Morecambe Bay.Access is very much dependant on the tides and on most high tides the only access road is impassable.Consequently it is an unspoilt and very peaceful area to visit.It is an excellent area to visit with the camera as just as the tide is beginning to uncover the access road waders can be seen feeding very close to the road and can be photographed from the comfort of the car.At the end of the road parking is available on the shingle beach.I made a couple of very enjoyable visits recently and came away with a nice selection of images to remind me of thi...
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Snipe and Others

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I am posting some images from recent trips to Leighton Moss and into Bowland.My main objective was to photograph purple heron and red grouse.My efforts were shown in earlier postings.At Leighton Moss whilst waiting for the heron to show a trip down to the Eric Morecambe hide was good for snipe. Four snipe were very close to the hide and gave great opportunities for close up shots of this beautifully marked bird. I have included an image showing the superb cryptic plumage on the snipe's back.Trips into Bowland looking for grouse gave me some nice images of a common buzzard close to the roadside which stayed long enough for me to take its photo.Also on the Bowland trip a stonechat and brown hare close to the road were very nice to see and photograph.The final two images were from Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve where I hadn't been for some tim...
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Grouse Shooting

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
Recently I made a couple of trips into Bowland looking for some opportunities to photograph Red Grouse in amongst the purple heather.It didn't quite work out as there was much activity from grouse shooters with guns and dogs.The large estates in Bowland are very busy at this time of the year with shooting parties who pay large amounts of money to kill a few brace of grouse.I would much rather shoot the grouse with my camera and have a permanent record of my day out leaving the grouse free to fly another day.The grouse in Bowland were keeping their heads down and although I managed a few shots I was not satisfied with the results so I decided to visit the Yorkshire grouse moors between Wensleydale and Swaledale.Wednesday of this week promised some better weather so I made the two hour journey to the moors up above Reeth and Redmire.It proved...
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A Purple Patch

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
A purple heron has been present at Leighton Moss for a couple of weeks or so and as I had never seen one I was keen to add some images to my portfolio.Mike and I arrived at the Grizedale Hide where the heron had been showing well.We did see it but all too briefly and we therefore decided to visit  the Morecambe and Allen hides and return later.It was not good at the marsh hides with a distinct lack of water at the Morecambe hide and only redshanks at the Allen Hide.Four very nice looking snipe were close to the Morecambe Hide and made for some nice images which I will post at a later date.Mike and I returned to the Grizedale Hide where after a two hour wait the purple heron duly returned.I made the most of this opportunity and took many images of this very scarce visitor to Lancashire.Some of my better efforts are shown below.The local...
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Lots of Knots

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
At the beginning of August I like to visit a favourite wader roost near to Southport.Around this time the waders are beginning to return from their Arctic breeding grounds.A couple of weeks ago there was a favourable tide and I was looking forward to a return to the coast hopefully to catch up with the returning waders.I arrived about an hour before high water and I could see in the distance the unmistakeable flocks of waders as they flew around  as the tide advanced up the beach.It was quite a long walk to reach this quiet part of the coastline and as access was difficult it meant that there was not a lot of disturbance from the usual dog walkers etc.It turned out to be an excellent session with many thousands of waders present most of these being knot.A lot of the knot were still in summer plumage and looked splendid in their summer ...
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Osprey Farewell

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
It has been many weeks since I reported on the Lake District ospreys.The good news was that the pair of ospreys had been successful in rearing two chicks and I returned this week knowing that they had fledged.I wanted to see them before they left on their long migration to West Africa.I did have some nice views of the two juveniles as they fed and flew around from the nest site.The parents were still around and were bringing back fish for their youngsters.I wish them a safe journey to Africa.I have shown below some of my better efforts at photographing the two juveniles on the nest and taking off and landing with fish which will have been left by one of the adult birds.The fish that one of them is carrying is a flounder and will have been caught from the estuary of the nearby River Leven.I have also included some other wildlife seen in the ...
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Diving Gannets

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
As promised in my last post I am now showing more images of the gannets taken on the wonderful pelagic trip out from Liverpool.Myself and the other photographers were kept very busy trying to capture the action as the gannets dived close to the boat.The skipper Gary Flint threw out mackerel for the gannets which we had previously caught from the boat.Gary also gave a running commentary as to the whereabouts of the gannets as they circled the boat. It was spectacular action as the birds hit the water at around 60mph to grab the mackerel.Some of the images shown below capture the moment the gannets hit the water. The gannets wings are folded back just before they hit the water and they look like white missiles as they enter the water with a big splash. It was exciting trying to capture the fast moving action as sometimes a dozen or more ganne...
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Liverpool Bay…Pelagic Trip

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
Earlier this month I was very fortunate to be booked on a pelagic photographic trip organised by Richard Steel out into the Liverpool Bay area of the Irish Sea.Last year the trip had been cancelled twice owing to adverse weather conditions.This time the signs were good as settled conditions were forecast and the evening before the message came through to say we were good for go.It was to be an early start leaving Liverpool at 6am and arriving back at 4pm.Paul Foster and I duly arrived at Coburg Dock in Liverpool in good time for the 6am departure.The other photographers arrived in good time and the skipper Gary Flint set sail out into the Mersey in his boat " Discovery "We motored out at a good speed some thirty miles or so out off the North Wales coast to the vicinity of the Burbo Bank wind farm.It was a bumpy uncomfortable ride out and I ...

Spotting Flycatchers

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
It had been a while since I had seen any flycatchers.I hadn't visited the Bowland area of Lancs much this Spring and so had missed the opportunity to photograph the Pied Flycatcher which once the trees are in full leaf can be hard to see up in the canopy.A couple of weeks ago on a drive through the Bowland area I saw a spotted flycatcher in a location where they had bred in previous years.I returned a day or so later on a nice warm afternoon and sure enough the spotted flycatchers were very busy feeding young in a nearby nest.They had nested in a garden area close by a country church which is situated in a most beautiful part of Bowland.For the next couple of hours I had a most enjoyable session with the camera and managed to get some nice images of the spotted flycatchers as they caught insects in the graveyard and surroundings of the chur...
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Bempton Revisited

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I enjoyed my visit to Bempton Cliffs at the end of June so much I decided on another visit at the beginning of July.The nesting season was coming to a close and I was determined to make another visit before the birds had left their homes on these impressive cliffs.This time I made the journey early morning taking A roads through Skipton,Harrogate,Knaresborough and York to eventually reach Bridlington and Bempton.It took about an hour longer than the motorway and I was caught up in rush hour traffic particularly in Harrogate.I duly arrived in Bempton around 10.30am and spent the next six and a half hours enjoying the sights and sounds of these cliffs and keeping very busy with the camera to record my visit.On this trip I concentrated on the gannets particularly those at Staple Newk where excellent views can be had from the viewing platform.M...
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