Thursday, 23 May 2013

Nottingham Peregrines & Carsington Birding

Going along to the ringing of the Nottingham Trent University Peregrine chicks yesterday was a fantastic experience seeing them up close.

The three chicks are yet to be named but local school children have been putting in suggestions. The chicks parents have nested on the building for a few years now and return to the same box which is under a webcam that can be watched 24/7.

Being careful not to get fingers to close as the chicks were not overly happy with being held!

At the end they are put back and the parents hovering above were constantly calling to them. Peregrines  like to nest on cliff edges so our towns ans cities provide great nesting sites to the point that London, Derby, Norwich and most other cities now have a resident pair.

Shooting straight off the Derbyshire i visited Carsington water a first for me and what a surprise a fantastic site full of wildlife. Owned by seven trent water and with help from partners like the RSPB makes this a truly magical site to visit and take wildlife images.

I've been wanting a shot of a bullfinch for a while now so was pleased to finally get one when it kept coming to the feeder. I have to say by far Carsingtons birdlife is its biggest attraction with a wide range of species for the keen birder to find.

Two gooslings are enjoying the sun shine.

 If your based in Nottingham or just fancy coming along I'm setting up a photography group for talks, trips, tips, exhibitions and competitions.


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Grayling & Pike in the Peak District

Grayling other wise known as the lady of the stream are a truly beautiful fish and a member of the trout family. One of the things I've started doing is trying to capture fish behaviour in this case males competing for the prime position and females.

This grayling bumped into the camera a few times! normally they can be quite a shy fish

This male had chased all others away and stayed in this area for a while

Grayling Fighting Video

Not to far away in Cromford Canal there are good numbers of pike

I was a bit unsure what they eat as the only other fish i saw was a brown trout which was actually bigger then the pike and attacked them!

The pike seemed to be gathering for breeding and the pike in the canal also seemed a bit smaller then there river cousins likely because of habitat size and food availability.

Hints -

- Take it slowly the fish are very spooky!
- Visibility is everything and you need it to get the clear shots
- Make sure you wash off after as there are plenty of nasty diseases in rivers like weils disease

Friday, 3 May 2013

Pond Dipping

Pond Dipping is something i used to love as a child (not living anywhere near the sea it was the closet i got to rockpooling) and the sheer wealth of wildlife you can find is quite amazing all these species are from the same pond over two days.

This was the first Great Diving Beetle I've ever caught and is about the size of a 50p quite large for a British beetle, they are top predators in the ponds.

The Spined Loach is only found in five eastern rivers in England one of which the Trent floods into the pond i net so i would assume that's how this one got into there. the little fish often get over looked but without a doubt have the best markings.

This sinister looking creature is a Water Stick Insect which similar to a praying mantis grabs its prey and sucks the life out of it literally.

This is a male Smooth Newt not to be confused with a Great Crested Newt (see video below) they grow the crest in spring then loose it later in the year.

Hints -

- Look for vegetation and over hanging plants as critters will often hide in there

- Be gentle when scooping as you can damage some species 

-  Using a tank to view the species without handling them is a good idea and provides good opportunities for photography.