Monday, 23 September 2013

Test & Itchen Underwater Photography

Being a Angler & Underwater cameraman both of these chalk streams have been high on my hitlist to film for a while so when the Environment Agency asked me to come down do try and film its fish species i couldn't refuse them!

My main goal was to film Atlantic Salmon but with the chalk streams having a huge range of fish species i had plenty to choose from including a few firsts for me.

My first port of call was to have a snorkel around and work out how spooky the fish are which turned out very! salmon have been with a doubt one of the hardest species to film get on film. this time of year they are just coming out of the sea so very silvery and very alert to danger so when a 6ft long water monkey like myself comes along they flee!

One species that i was glad to see plenty of was eels! not to everyones tastes but they have declined by 95% in the last 50 years and a vital fish to our rivers. i was happy to find them all over the rivers from pencil thinkness to 3ft long!

a slightly lesser known cousin of the salmon is the sea trout which is basicully a brown trout that goes to sea. these out numbered the salmon around 10 - 1 and tended to come into the river to feed rather then breed at this time of year.

After three days and much hard work i got my footage of the salmon which i was very pleased with. unlike the pacific salmon the atlantic don't all die with around 20% returning to the sea to spawn again on a later date.

Heres a video of the salmon & sea trout

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

RSPB Dungeness, Kent

Dungeness is a strange place but yet full of wildlife and also the the first reserve the RSPB opened. Its quite a large area with wetland, shingle and scrub habitat ideal for species like reptiles, waders and migrant birds.

i was mainly after one of these, the wasp spider a non native species that comes in on ships so often found in coastal areas. i'd heard they were on the reserve but never found one until i asked a local birder who told me to look near the ARC hide car park and sure enough found this large female! he also mentioned seeing a sand lizard though i didn't see any.

Hidden in the scrub was the this beauty a hawk moth catapillar.

the hazard of taking images on a bank holiday is lots of people are around so while creeping up on this marsh frog some kids ran over and spooked it!

This common blue butterfly was the highlight of my day with such vibrant colours though tricky to get close to.

Monday, 2 September 2013

RSPB Arne, Dorset

Traveling to Dorset i was in search of britains rarest reptile the Smooth snake and Arne is about the best location in the country to see them. Going around with the wardens to try find one early in the morning but no success with the smooth snakes however...

... we did come across a adder something thats not all that common ar Arne (ironicall smooth snakes are more common there)

suffering from smooth snake blues i went off to the ponds that have a good number of raft spiders one of the largest species in the UK. They can actually catch small fish and frogs.

Walking in the woodland part to one of the hides i came across this common lizard up a tree which i though was rather strange.

One of the young marsh harriers from poole flew by while in the hide which was lovely to see.

On a bit of luck the wardens deceided to go out again on the off chance of finding a smooth snake for a educational show the next day and let me tag along also. The thrid tin we found a glouriuos smooth snake!

i should point out you need a licence to handle or photograph these snakes which i have from previous survey work

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Dragonflies at Idle Valley Nature Reserve

Having visited idle only a couple of times this year i was looking forward to seeing what the september sun will bring and it didn't disapoint! which was good for me as i was leading a macro photography workshop looking at butterflies and dragonflies mainly. Walking through the woodland area we saw plenty of speckled wood butterflies suning themselves.

The dragonflies really played ball on this day and with a breezy cool start we found a few basking on the bushes like this male migrant hawker.

some were also feeding with one eating a wasp and this female migrant hawker tucking into a fly.

Me being me i had to grab a wide angle of a dragonfly and got this chaser warming up on a post.

I don't normally take shots on my workshops as i like to have full attention on my clients but with all the dragonflies around i had to take a couple of shots and as you can see everybody got some shots of dragonflies!