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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Brilliant Bempton

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
It had been six years since I had last visited RSPB Bempton Cliffs on the East Coast of Yorkshire.I therefore decided a visit was long overdue.Mike and I arrived around midday after a three hour drive from Preston.It was to be a fine sunny day ideal for photographing the thousands of seabirds that make these chalk cliffs home during the breeding season.We spent around five hours visiting the various viewing points and experiencing the sights sounds and smells of this wonderful seabird city four hundred feet above the North Sea.I was trying out a new Nikon D500 body coupled with my Nikon 200-500 telephoto lens and was confident of capturing as much of the action as I could.The gannets were the main quarry as they patrolled the cliffs on their way back to their nest sites on the ledges and I was reasonably pleased with the flight shots the be...
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Drama at the Docks

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I have recently visited the tern colony at the former Preston Docks site.This is now a marina and has become home to well over one hundred pairs of common terns plus a few arctic terns.It is a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours and observe the daily dramas that take place.The chicks are now hatching and there is much activity with the comings and goings of the adults as they try to feed their hungry youngsters.Some of the young are now more advanced and appear to be well fed and being protected by the adult birds.Some of the very young ones however are in danger of being attacked by other terns and some have been predated by the ever present gulls.The second to fifth images below show one of the very young chicks being pecked to death by an adult.Obviously not its parent and overcrowding may be the cause of this unpleasant way to di...
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More Egrets

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
A recent post showed little egrets at Leighton Moss.I am now posting more images of little egrets and two cattle egrets which were on show at RSPB Marshside.The little egrets were showing well in front of Nel's Hide and made for some nice images.Some nice take off and landing images were obtained as the egrets came in from time to time to fish close to the hide.A nice surprise was to discover that two cattle egrets were also present but at some distance from the hide.These two cattle egrets have been around at Marshside for some time.They may even be breeding nearby and are part of a recent influx into the country.This is yet another sign of a warming climate and it would be nice to see them here on a permanent basis.The last two images show the distant cattle egrets with their nice orangey crowns and bills.Hope you enjoy the images above a...
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Swans and Terns

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I recently visited the tern colony at the former Preston Dock site.This colony gets larger every year and now has well over one hundred pairs of terns,mostly common,but also a few arctic terns.It is a wonderful location to observe and photograph tern behaviour and is especially good when the tern chicks arrive. As yet the birds are still incubating but very soon now their will be much activity as the young terns demand a constant supply of fish.On this visit the mute swan family were still occupying their large nest on one of the pontoons.This is a regular nesting site for the swans and provides wonderful views of the adults and young.One of the terns also had a nest very close to the swans and was constantly harassing the female on the nest.She shrugged off the constant attacks and eventually the male swan came and took four of the cygnets...
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Dragons and Grebes

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
This week has at times been very hot and it has been ideal conditions for observing dragonflies.I visited a local nature reserve where a healthy population of broad bodied chaser dragonflies were on the wing.A couple of males were seen but they were very mobile and I didn't get any suitable images. The females however were very obliging and posed nicely for me particularly on a patch of bramble.I will return at a later date to photograph the males.I then moved on to another local nature reserve where on a previous visit I had discovered the location of a pair of nesting great crested grebes.The nest and female grebe were very well hidden in bankside vegetation and the male was patrolling and looking for fish in the vicinity.The male came quite close and was posing in amongst the amphibious bistort which was covering the lake surface and pro...
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