Owls Revisited

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
It was eight years since I had last seen Long Eared Owls up in the Pennine Hills.Paul Foster had found them and I was privileged to have seen this elusive owl hunting over it's territory up on the moors.Out of the blue Paul recently rang me to say he had been back to the location to discover that the Long Eared Owls were still about and also there was a barn owl in the vicinity.So I met up with Paul around tea time and we travelled up to the location.I could not yet walk too far or over very rough ground so I parked myself at a gateway at the end of the track up onto the moors.Paul was behind a stone wall about a hundred yards away. We both had good views over the area where Paul had recently seen the owls hunting.It was a dry pleasant evening but was cool up on the moors.Nothing much happened until around seven o'clock when Paul whistled t...
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Back In Action

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I am pleased to report that I am now mobile and back in action following recent surgery.I was looking forward to return to some of my favourite locations to catch up on the comings and goings.For my first visit I chose to go to Mere Sands Nature Reserve to hopefully see the kingfishers which I understand have had a good breeding season.As expected the water levels were low after the long hot summer and the vegetation was very high and was almost obscuring the kingfisher posts at the Rufford Hide.Apart from a little egret and some young herons it was quiet.However the little egret was very actively hunting and gave some nice opportunities for action shots.Around mid afternoon the kingfisher turned up and stayed in the vicinity for around an hour and despite the rank vegetation gave some nice opportunities for the camera.My better efforts are...
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A Turn for the Better

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I am recovering well following hip surgery and hope to be back to normal activities soon. The tern images below were obtained back at the beginning of June.I visited the tern colony at Preston Marina on the day after some of the chicks had hatched.There is always plenty of action down at the Marina with the terns constantly on the go attending to  their youngsters.Hope you enjoy the attached images of feeding time for the terns.The final images with the chick and the colourful small carp were taken as the chick tried and tried to swallow the fish but it proved too much of a mouthful and eventually one of the parents ate it.I have not visited the terns since and probably most of them will now have fledged and departed South for Winter.I look forward to catching up with the terns when they return next Summer.Thanks for looking in and hop...

Out Of Action

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
It is a month now since my last posting.I am presently recovering from hip surgery and it may be many weeks before I am able to get out and about again with the camera.To keep the blog alive I am therefore publishing a few images taken before I went into hospital Apart from the little owl they were all taken in Bowland.The pheasant,red legged partridge,brown hare and roe deer were all taken on an early morning sortie around Bowland's quiet lanes and back roads.The little owl is one discovered near Inskip and one I am keen to see again as it may now have young.The spotted flycatcher was photographed near Abbeystead in Bowland just before going into hospital.When next I visit the area the flycatcher and its young will probably be on their way to Africa for the winter.Thanks very much for looking in and I hope to be mobile very soon and bring ...
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Bowland..Early Doors

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
At this time of the year with plenty of daylight I like to make early morning excursions into Bowland.Bowland's lanes and backroads are very quiet and especially so early on a summers morning.I left home around 4am and before I had reached Longridge I came across two roe deer feeding close to the road.I managed a few shots but my view was obscured I was however pleased with the image of the roebuck in the flowerey meadow. I carried on my usual route over Longridge Fell and into some of the back lanes of Bowland.Brown hares were very much in evidence and I managed some nice portraits from the comfort of the car.A great surprise was to come across a hunting barn owl and I did  manage a couple of record shots before it vanished.On into Bowland for more encounters with brown hares and the usual waders posing in the fields and on roadside w...
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Marshside.. Avocets and Godwits

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
It has been some time since I last posted.I have some images from previous trips pending and as I will be going into hospital soon I thought I would try to bring the blog up to date.In the middle of May I visited RSPB Marshside to find recently hatched avocet chicks showing very well in front of Sandgrounders hide.The chicks were actively feeding carefully watched over by mum and dad.At the other end of the reserve it was still quite wet and this is where the black tailed godwits were assembled and again gave nice opportunities for the camera.Some were showing their lovely breeding colours and looked fine in the afternoon sun.On the way I had a fleeting view of one of the two glossy ibis present and managed a quick record shot.Before arriving at Marshside I called to see the well known little owl at Banks and for once it was showing well as...

Dozens of Dunlins

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
A couple of weeks ago I visited one of my favourite locations.Rossall Point has easy access and is a favoured roosting site for waders.There were good numbers of dunlin present and most of them were wearing their summer finery.They will have now probably departed for their Arctic breeding grounds with the current warm and settled weather conditions.On one of my visits they were constantly disturbed by a party of schoolchildren doing a fieldwork exercise on measuring the groynes !! I returned another day to find the birds nicely settled and photographic conditions were excellent.Hope you enjoy my selection and tune in again for more from my travels.I...
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Black Necked Grebe….Kincraig Lake

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
A week or so ago it was a nice surprise to discover that a black necked grebe in breeding plumage had appeared on a lake at Bispham Blackpool.This is a very uncommon bird in Lancashire and nationally only a few pairs breed in Britain.In breeding plumage it is a stunning looking bird and I was anxious to add some images to my portfolio.I went with Mike and it was not easy to find Kincraig Lake but we did eventually, tucked away in the middle of a large housing estate in Bispham.It was only a short walk to the viewing area and this pleased me as I was still having troublesome mobility problems.It was a while before the grebe came out of hiding to show itself to the waiting photographers.It was well worth the wait as we saw it in its breeding finery with wonderful golden ear tufts and a hypnotic fabulous red and yellow eye. I obviously filled ...

Return to Bowland

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
At long last the weather had warmed up and Spring was well and truly on the way in fact for a few days it was more like Summer with temperatures soaring into the seventies!! Nature responded and migrants started arriving and spring flowers were blooming.I decided therefore to visit Bowland where I hadn't been for some time to see if the birds that favour this beautiful part of Lancashire had returned to their breeding haunts on the high moors.It was very nice to revisit some of my favourite parts of Bowland and good to see that the waders and grouse that breed up there had returned.Numbers were on the low side and I travelled many miles to capture some images for the blog.Lapwings did seem to be in good numbers and I enjoyed myself photographing at close range a male bird which was using a roadside rainwater pool to bathe and drink.A pair o...
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March Mix

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I haven't done much birding or photography this month.This has been due to lack of mobility and poor weather.I did however manage a few rides in the car to one or two favourite locations and returned with some reasonable images for you to see.First up is the well known little owl near Southport which was enjoying some morning sunshine.The goldeneye and goosander which follow were from an earlier trip to Glasson Dock Marina photographed on a very cold and windy day.A nice cold and bright day at Rossall was good for the ringed plover and oystercatcher images.Rides into the fell country round Chipping found one or two early curlew returning to the breeding grounds. Finally a visit to a flooded Marshside found Little Grebe and Pintail close to Nel's Hide.Everything else was a long way off out of camera range.It was nice to see a number of avoce...
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