Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

March Mix

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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 avocets had returned.

It is Good Friday as I write this account and it is still very cold and wintry,typical Easter weather!!Hopefully soon it will warm up and the spring migrants will arrive in numbers.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the Easter break.














Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Feeding Time

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It is a while since I posted.The weather has not been good and I am currently restricted as to how far I can walk.I did however last week manage a couple of trips to Martin Mere Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.I could manage to get to the Discovery Centre where at Feeding Time there was plenty of action from the thousands of birds present.

It was difficult knowing where to point the lens as there was a lot going on as the seed was dished out to the birds.Whooper Swans were very much in evidence and certainly dominated the feeding frenzy.Lots of other waders and wildfowl were present and gave some great opportunities for the camera.I have never seen as many black tailed godwits and ruff joining in the feast.There were many hundreds of shelduck providing colour to the scene and  also a challenge for the camera trying to capture close up flight shots.A number of pochard were also present,a scarce bird these days and nice to see

Hope you enjoy my selection from Martin Mere.I will hopefully be out and about again soon as Spring does at long last seem to be on the way.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the coming Spring.
















Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Glasson Dock…Goldeneye

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Three years ago about this time there were a good number of goldeneye duck on the marina at Glasson Dock.I think there were around fifty birds present and I remember having a good day with the camera.A few goldeneye had been reported recently so last week I went for a look.

Sure enough there were around a dozen or so goldeneye consisting mostly of males but a couple of females were also present.From time to tim e they would all make their way to the entrance to the Lancaster canal end of the marina and were busy diving for food which seems abundant in the vicinity of the retaining walls of the yacht basin.I visited on a couple of afternoons and enjoyed a couple of sessions with the camera.

On my first visit it was calm and the males were displaying to the females present and throwing their heads back making for interesting images.On the next visit it was very cold and windy and the goldeneye were surfing the waves and again provided some nice images.The drakes in particular are handsome birds with bottle green heads and striking black and white plumage.This first post was on the calm day and next time I will post images from the my second visit and also show images of a male goosander present on the canal. Thanks for looking in and despite today's snow I hope Spring is not too far away.









Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

New Year…Barn Owl

It had been a long time since I had seen a barn owl so it was a nice surprise to find a hunting barn owl during my recent travels.I was travelling the back roads and quiet lanes in the Pilling and Cockerham area.The barn owl was very active and it was a challenge to follow and anticipate where it might perch in between flights.

I was quite pleased with my efforts the best of which are shown below.The weather recently has been awful with very dull conditions and very cold as well.I was lucky with the lighting on the day below and the barn owl was also taking advantage of the dry and bright conditions.I will definitely be back to see the owl again but meantime am confined to barracks as it has once again turned very wintry.Thanks for looking in and lets hope for a happy and healthy New Year.











Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Christmas Geese

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For my last post of 2017 it is more of the same!!  Pink footed geese have definitely been on my menu this Christmas.Each time I have been out this holiday period I have come across some large flocks of pink footed geese.They were all in the Pilling area and I suspect that it is probably the same large flock feeding in a different area when I have visited.My latest visit was on Boxing Day and when most folks were tucking into yet more turkey I was enjoying the sight of thousands of geese tucking into Pilling potatoes.

Pilling is famous for it's potatoes but this year as a consequence of the very wet weather a lot of potatoes have remained in the ground unharvested.This has meant a bonanza for the geese with many potatoes left in the fields and providing easy pickings for the pinkfeet.On Boxing Day I found the geese at Eagland Hill,a favourite area for geese and whooper swans throughout the winter months.The light was good for a change,brighter and sunnier conditions,much better than the dark and dismal weather of late.

I enjoyed myself with the camera from the comfort of the car and some of my better efforts are shown below.Hope you enjoy the images of the pink footed geese at Eagland Hill and this will more than likely be my last posting for 2017.Thanks to everybody who has followed my travels through the year and let's hope we all enjoy a happy and healthy New Year.


















Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Pilling Pinks

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Happy Christmas Day to all my followers.Hopefully none of the thousands of pink footed geese shown below will have found their way onto today's dinner tables.It has been a very dull and dismal week with mist and drizzle, certainly not ideal conditions for the camera but I needed  a change of scene.So I drove around the Pilling area and eventually found this very large gathering of pink footed geese situated close to the road.I made the best I could of the situation and took plenty of images.

I will return soon with more from my travels and would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.Thanks for looking in.














Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Pinks Galore

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Following on from my last posting I am now showing some of the many images I took last week highlighting the large numbers of pink footed geese present at the the very large gathering of pinkfeet and whooper swans at Pilling.I have never seen as many geese occupying a field.The images cannot show all of the geese but there were certainly many many thousands.It was an incredible sight and the sound of them all when they took to the air was memorable.

I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to capture the spectacle and I made the most of the wonderful opportunity by taking a camera full of images.Hope you like the selection below but it was one of those occasions where you have to be there to fully appreciate what was happening.I will of course return to the location over the coming months hoping for more wonderful encounters with the geese and swans.Thanks for looking in and enjoy what looks like being a very wintry weekend with snow forecast for tomorrow.













Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Super Whoopers

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At the end of last month I visited the Pilling and Cockerham area of Lancashire.This area is visited in the winter months by large flocks of pink footed geese and whooper swans.There are rich pickings to be had in the fields with left over remains of potato and other vegetable crops.This winter in particular has been very wet and many farmers have been unable to harvest their crops.On my wanderings around the lanes and back roads I came across a very large number of geese and swans gathering in a roadside field prior to roosting out on Pilling Sands.The birds were coming in large groups particularly the geese and were settling in the field giving me some wonderful opportunities with the camera.

It was a bright cold and sunny afternoon and was ideal for photography and I was able to stay in the comfort of the car using it as a mobile hide.I was amazed at the numbers of birds and can only say that there were many thousands of pink footed geese and many hundreds of whooper swans.For this post I have concentrated on the whooper swans.The pink footed geese will be the subject of my next post.I took about two and a half thousand images  over two days and have spent a week or so sifting and sorting.I hope you enjoy my selection of these magnificent visitors from Iceland.It was a most memorable experience and one I will be unlikely to repeat for some time.Thanks for looking in and stay tuned for the next instalment.














Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Murmaration…Martin Mere

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I usually visit Martin Mere around this time of the year to see the North West Birdwatching Festival.It's a time to look at all the wonderful books for sale and to visit the local exhibitors and to bump into old friends and catch up on the birdy news. This year the Birdfair coincided with a large murmaration of starlings which were coming into roost at Martin Mere's large reedbed.So after a good look round the books etc I made for the Harrier Hide around 4pm which was when the starlings began to arrive.

The event had been well publicised and many birdwatchers were already in position at the edge of the reedbeds in front of the Harrier Hide.It took a while to build up but eventually approx fifty thousand starlings were putting on a flying display for the assembled audience.I have shown below my efforts at capturing the spectacle.Twenty minutes or so later and it was all over as the birds dived into the reedbeds.Equally impressive were the large skeins of geese coming in to roost at Martin Mere following their day feeding in the fields of West Lancs.It had been a memorable experience and I may return again to witness one of Nature's special moments. Thanks for looking in and I will be back soon with more of Lancashire's wildlife.













Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Whoopers and a Buzzard

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This last week in between various medical appointments I was able to get out for a much needed change of scenery.I visited the Pilling and Cockerham areas to see what was about.It was an excellent decision as good numbers of whooper swans had arrived at various sites.I began at Eagland Hill where a few dozen swans were feeding on the wet and muddy fields.The next location where I found more swans was down Gulf Lane at Moss Edge Farm.Here the whoopers were with some pinkfooted geese and numerous assorted gulls feeding again in the very wet fields.The third location held around three hundred swans together with plenty of starlings and all were enjoying the rich pickings in the fields.This large group were in fields not far from the Cockerham Sands caravan park.I enjoyed photographing the swans from the comfort of the car and was pleased with the results.

However better was to come as on the way back near to Lane Ends at Pilling I saw a buzzard sat on a roadside fence post.More often than not when this happens the buzzard soon flies away but on this occasion it stayed put and I couldn't believe my luck at this golden opportunity.Needless  to say I filled my boots and took many images of this close encounter and again was very pleased with the results.Shown below are some of my better efforts from this splendid afternoon around the lanes of Pilling and Cockerham.Thanks for looking in and enjoy what looks like being a bright and sunny weekend.