Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Leighton Moss…Egrets and Waders

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I hadn't visited Leighton Moss for many months and I was keen to visit again.Autumn had arrived and thankfully the very high temperatures of the Summer were a distant memory.It promised to be a lovely day as I arrived at the Eric Morecambe hide.There were plenty of birds on show especially the egrets and greenshanks.It was greenshanks particularly that I had come to see and I knew that a number were at Leighton Moss.At this time of the year they are passing through on their way to sunnier climes.I think they are one of the most elegant of our waders and I was hoping for some nice images.

Egrets were there in good numbers also and with the little egrets was a splendid Great White Egret.In one of the images below you will see how much bigger the great white is compared to it's smaller cousin.It was a lovely sunny morning and was perfect for photography.Later on as high tide was due in Morecambe Bay an influx of redshanks arrived and gave more excellent opportunities for the camera.Hope you enjoy my better images from the session and on my next visit to Leighton Moss I hope to capture the bearded tits which are visiting the grit trays and are one of the special birds of Leighton Moss.Thanks for looking in and enjoy what looks like a nice sunny day tomorrow.














Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Leighton Moss…Egrets and Waders

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
I hadn't visited Leighton Moss for many months and I was keen to visit again.Autumn had arrived and thankfully the very high temperatures of the Summer were a distant memory.It promised to be a lovely day as I arrived at the Eric Morecambe hide.There were plenty of birds on show especially the egrets and greenshanks.It was greenshanks particularly that I had come to see and I knew that a number were at Leighton Moss.At this time of the year they are passing through on their way to sunnier climes.I think they are one of the most elegant of our waders and I was hoping for some nice images.

Egrets were there in good numbers also and with the little egrets was a splendid Great White Egret.In one of the images below you will see how much bigger the great white is compared to it's smaller cousin.It was a lovely sunny morning and was perfect for photography.Later on as high tide was due in Morecambe Bay an influx of redshanks arrived and gave more excellent opportunities for the camera.Hope you enjoy my better images from the session and on my next visit to Leighton Moss I hope to capture the bearded tits which are visiting the grit trays and are one of the special birds of Leighton Moss.Thanks for looking in and enjoy what looks like a nice sunny day tomorrow.














Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Pinks..Parasols..and a Phalarope

Posted on - In Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer
The weather was warm and settled ideal conditions for the pink footed geese to arrive from Iceland.I like to witness one of nature's spectacles as the geese arrive at Martin Mere for their winter holidays.There were already about seven thousand geese in the area and I was hoping for many more during the day.As it turned out it was relatively quiet with only one skein arriving during my stay,A lot more have arrived since then and there are now many thousands at Martin Mere.Next arrival will be the whooper swans from Iceland and they will be arriving nearer the end of October.It was still a very pleasant day at Martin Mere and it was nice to bump into Tom Charles from Liverpool who I hadn't seen for a number of years.

On the way back driving down one of the country lanes I discovered parasol mushrooms at the side of the road.This was a fungi that I always wanted to find and I made the best of this discovery by taking a number of images the best of which are shown below.I have since returned to the spot and they are still there although not looking quite as fresh.

Finally a grey phalarope turned up at Newton Marsh.A good number of these scarce visitors had been blown inland following recent storms so I felt obliged to twitch this bird as it was on my doorstep.It was a smart little bird and was very busy spinning around as only phalaropes can do.It was a little distant but I managed a few record shots of this scarce visitor to Lancashire.Hope you enjoy my latest images and my next posting will feature the many Egrets and Shanks present at Leighton Moss.Thanks for looking in and enjoy the weekend.











Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

Owls Revisited

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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 to tell me he had spotted something.I couldn't see anything but then suddenly this barn owl appeared and was flying right towards me.I had difficulty locking onto the owl but eventually managed a couple of shots as it flew over my head.Unfortunately having seen me it backtracked and Paul wasn't able to get any shots.

Better was to come however when around 7.30pm an owl flew onto a fence post about seventy yards below me. It didn't see me and I fired off plenty of shots as it perched actively looking for prey.Once more Paul unfortunately didn't see the bird as it was below his line of sight and hidden from view.As we were packing up another long eared owl appeared on a fence post on a level with me and I very quickly managed a few shots.Paul was on his way back to me and couldn't focus quickly enough to get a shot. I understand he has since returned and got some images.Having shown the images to an expert he says these are two different birds,the paler one is a young bird probably from last year and the browner looking bird is an adult owl.I had been lucky to be in the right spot at the right time.Stay tuned for more wildlife from my camera and thanks for looking in.











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Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

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 shown below but no doubt I will return to Mere Sands for more encounters.

I also managed a trip out to the waders at Ainsdale.The tide wasn't very high and I had to walk out to the birds.They were mostly sanderling scurrying along the tide line frantically feeding as only sanderlings do.It was very pleasant to be back at one of my favourite locations in the afternoon sun. A peregrine put in an appearance but was just passing through.A couple of little egrets were nice amongst the roosting oystercatchers and there was a small passage of sandwich terns.All in all it had been an excellent return to my wildlife photography and I hope that I now go from strength to strength.Thanks for looking in and I am sure I will have more to report soon.
















Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

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 hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.











Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

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 you more of Lancashire's wonderful wildlife.





















Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

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 walls.One oystercatcher was posing on top of the well known phone bow at Dinckling Green.A goldfinch was also very colourful posing at the side of the road.

Hope you enjoy some of my Bowland images from an early morning ride into this lovely part of Lancashire.You can be assured I will return soon as the current very hot weather is not good for wildlife or photography during the heat of the day.Thanks for looking in and I may post again before I have to go into hospital.
















Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

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 it enjoyed the morning sunshine.Hope you enjoy the selection and I will post again soon. Thanks for looking in.













Source Brian Rafferty Wildlife Photographer

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


















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