A short visit to Dunham Park this morning on a glorious sunny day, blue sky and stunning autumn colours on display. The rutting season has just finished and there were plenty of Deer rambling about the park and it was easy to get up close to them as they are used to people visiting the park. Amongst the wildlife seen were Herons, Geese, Squirrels and plenty of Deer.
A little while ago I took the opportunity to visit the Martin Mere Centre near Burscough in Lancashire, one of the most popular “bird resorts” in the North of England.
It had been recommended a number of time by fellow bird watchers / enthusiasts and it was suggested that the best time to visit was in late October as several hundred thousand Geese descend on the place from Iceland, the Artic Circle and Norther Scandinavia.
Unfortunately, although there were some Geese around the vast numbers had not yet arrived but were expected any time. Anyway, we made the most of our visit by walking around to visit the various hides and we were very grateful to the regulars who helped us tremendously with bird identification. Amongst the species we saw were Snipe, Ruff, Black Tailed Godwit, Teal, Pintail, Pochard and many small land birds including Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit and Great Tit.
Below are some of the numerous photographs I took on the day and I will leave it to any reader to try and identify the species featured.
Bempton Cliffs, on the spectacular Yorkshire coast, is home to one of the UK’s top wildlife spectacles. Around half a million seabirds gather here between March and October to raise a family on towering chalk cliffs which overlook the North Sea.
Last week I had the good fortune to visit this particular RSPB site as I was up on the east coast of Yorkshire just south of Filey with my grand children for a few days. In between entertaining them I managed to slope off from our Beach Hut residence to the site. On arriving at about 9.30am I was greeted by a parking warden who directed me to an overflow field which quite surprised me given the time. When I asked him why it was so busy he said “the Albatross has been seen again and we have been inundated with visitors”.
With this in mind I set off on my walk along the cliffs with spectacular views in every direction and thousands of seabirds either perched on narrow ledges on the cliffs or in flight out over the North Sea.
It is a photographers paradise and I took about three hundred shots of a wide variety of birds including Puffins, Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls, Guillemots and the utterly majestic Gannets (six foot wingspan and Britains largest bird).
I spent a good two hours wandering about, taking photographs, talking to other bird enthusiasts (of which there were several thousand) but alas no sighting of the Albatross on my visit. It had apparently been seen very early that morning but had then headed out to sea.
There is plenty walking to be done around the site but the effort is worthwhile to stand at the edge of the cliffs and get up close and personal to many of the birds. The Gannets in particular were very accommodating for taking photographs, as they kept swooping low overhead.
For anyone interested I was using a Pentax K70 camera with Pentax 55-300 lens, but my lens pailed into insignificance at the size of the lenses on display by other photographers.
Below are a sample of the shots I took on my two visits.
I have recently taken up bird watching quite seriously and am currently exploring the various sites in the North of England that offer opportunities to enjoy both the bird watching and taking photographs of the birds and the often accompanying beautiful countryside.
This morning I paid a visit to Moore Nature Reserve which is just SW of Warrington and next to the old Manchester Ship canal. Because of limited time I was only able to visit the Birchwood Pool, Pump House Pool and the Lagoon. There are some excellent hides to view the wildlife and chance to enjoy your coffee and snacks (take them with you) as you wander around this excellent nature reserve.
Bird life was prolific (invest in a good pair of binoculars to get the best from your visit) and if you are a keen photographer like me, take a good camera (mine is a Pentax K70 with Sigma 18-250 lens) with a quality zoom lens.
Below are some of the photographs I took of the lagoons and the wildlife on display.
As a regular visitor to Arley Hall I am still amazed at the changes that can take place in the gardens within a seven to ten day period. As we came out of winter, and still subject to lockdown restrictions, it was amazing to see how the gardens had been maintained albeit many of the borders looking quite bare.
A visit last week was greeted with some wonderful colours of the early blooming flowers and the bushes on the “Woodland Walk” were a sight to behold. The daffodils this year have been sensational (take a bow Gordon, James and the rest of the gardening staff / volunteers) and highlights the tremendous work that has been done to maintain the gardens.
I shall continue making my weekly visits to photograph the gardens and see the changes that take place. I would suggest that EVERYONE should visit at least once during the summer to see the “Herbaceous Border” when it is a delight to the eye.
The photographs I have featured below were taken in early April 2021
Since moving to Cheshire just over three years ago from West Yorkshire, I have been exploring the countryside and taking in visits to such places as Arley Hall, Dunham Massey, Tatton Park and Ness Gardens.
In addition to these I am fortunate to be just a couple of miles from the River Weaver and the Trent Mersey Canal which provide excellent walks and the possibility of seeing a wide range of wildlife. It is not uncommon to see Herons and Cormorants alongside the river and the reeds bordering both the river and the canal are full of birdlife.
Just recently, a visit to Dunham Park was rewarded by the sight of a Kingfisher flying very low and at speed across the large lake at the back of the house. My seven year old grandson was elated at having “spotted” the Kingfisher as he was desperate to see one, particularly as he has just joined the RSPB.
Since I retired about three years ago I have indulged my interest in bird / wildlife with my other great love in life , photography. I have several cameras including a Nikon D5200, Pentax K50, Canon EOS200D and my most recent acquisition, a Pentax K70. I have to confess my “go to” camera of choice is the Pentax K70 which, in my opinion outperforms all the others.
Some of my best photographs have been taken of the Deer at Dunham Park which roam freely and are a delight to photograph. On occasions I have managed to get within about six feet of an animal and it has remained calm and carried on eating. I have also witnessed some of the very aggressive (and bloody) battles between young stags during the rutting season.
Below are some photographs I have taken in the last few years.
It would appear that a number of misguided journalists and idiotic MPs are agitating for the government to give Lewis Hamilton a knighthood because of his driving success. Indeed, one journalist has gone so far as to suggest the Hamilton is the greatest sportsman and outshines people like Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins, Andy Murray and Mo Farrah.
So let us consider the achievements of Hamilton:-
Every two weeks or so he sits inside a metal box and drives around in circles for a couple of hours.
Often it is about which tyres should be chosen which has nothing to do with the driving skills of those in the driving seat.
There are only two or three teams that can be considered real competitors, the rest are also-rans irrespective of the qualities of the driver.
There are usually 22 cars that line up on the grid, that means he has 22 opponents to beat, not a great many when compared to cycling, athletics or tennis.
If his team mate happens to be winning a race then he will usually be told to “slow down” and let Hamilton through to win.
If Hamilton doesn’t win he is quick to lambast his “team” for getting some technical aspect of the car wrong, or race officials if they punish him for breaking the rules.
Now if you take someone like Chris Froome who won his fourth Tour de France in 2017, followed by successive wins at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana and the2018 Giro d’Italia his first victories in both races.
The Tour de France requires 21 days of continuous racing, spending up to 6 hours in the saddle daily, and climbing over various mountain ranges. The Giro and Vuelta make similar physical and psychological demands. In all three races there are well in excess of 100 competitors and although they race in teams it is possible for a talented domestique or up and coming young rider to win a stage (unlike in motor racing).
I think the journalist lauding Hamilton need to go back and do a bit of research and find out what “sport” really is!
I see that several F1 drivers refused to play the “political game” and shun the meaningless “take a knee” as advocated by the posturing, narcissistic, virtue signalling poseur Lewis Hamilton.
Lets remind ourselves that as the F1 drivers lined up ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 2015 to pay respects to indie car driver Justin Wilson who had just been killed in a race, all but Hamilton removed their headwear with the reigning Formula One champion criticised by fans of the sport who felt he showed a lack of respect. However, he did remove his cap for the Italian national anthem.
After the Chinese Grand Prix in 2015 The Formula One world champion was slammed online and labelled “selfish” and “inconsiderate” after spraying champagne in the face of a hostess on the podium. It’s the second time Hamilton, 30, has sprayed a grid girl with champagne – the first time after his win at the Spanish Grand Prix last year.
Hamilton has a track record of childish, immature behaviour but now wants to be seen in a different light as a supporter of the thugs at BLM and the toppling of all “racist symbols” around the world.
Mercedes Benz HQ, Stuttgart
I presume this will also entail the tearing down of the Mercedes Benz Logos outside the HQ in Stuttgart, as the company was notorious for contributing to the war effort under Hitler and its use of “slave labour.” After all, if it’s good enough for Colston it should be good enough for MB.
But wait, I hear you ask, isn’t this the company logo that adorns Hamilton’s hat and pays him 40 million Euros per year in sponsorship! As it says in the short article below, perhaps he will consider handing back all the money he has received from a company that exploited over 40,000 slave labourers, many of them Jews but also included slavs from Eastern Europe and POWs (many of whom died by being worked to death).
Since I moved to Cheshire from West Yorkshire a couple of years ago I have spent many a happy hour wandering along the banks of the Trent / Mersey canal and the River Weaver, both of which are about a five minute drive from where I live.
This has enabled to me indulge my great interest in photography and particularly photographing the countryside and the wild life that inhabits the countryside in this part of West Cheshire.
Along the river we have Swans, Herons, Grebes, Coots, Cormorants, Kingfishers as well as many other common or garden species. I did hear a cuckoo recently but have still not had sight of it
Here are some of the images I have captured in recent months, apologies for some being just of of focus but the damn birds won’t stay still for very long!
One of my favourite venues for taking photographs is Arley Hall which is about a twenty minute drive from where I live and just off the M56 motorway. For the last ten weeks it has been closed to the public because of the Corona 19 virus which has been doing the rounds here in the UK. However, last Wednesday I received an e-mail to say they were re-opening the grounds to the public on Friday 29 may 2020 at 10.00am, but obviously with certain safety measure put in place.
We arrived just after 10.00am on a beautiful spring day, clear blue sky and sunshine to be greeted and welcomed by staff . The cafe was open for take away coffee and cakes and we were able to sit outside on the lawn to enjoy our early morning refreshment.
I noticed that many of the spring blooms were past their best but even this could not detract from the colours on display from the flowers still in bloom. We came across the Head gardener James who we have got to know quite well from previous visits and he told us that just him and a full time colleague had been in every day during the “lock down” to tend to the flowers, shrubs and gardens, and they have done a magnificent job. No wonder it is rated one of the “Ten Best Gardens in Europe.”
The lawns looked quite parched but then again we have had virtually no rain for a month, but even so they still looked stunning. We wandered around the various gardens and the colours of some of the flowers was breath taking.
Our membership of Arley Hall expired on the 24 may 2020 so we asked if we could renew our membership for another year. The Lady in the office said we are extending everyone membership for a further 3 months as we have been shut for that period and members have not been able to visit. We both said this was an incredibly generous gesture as the Hall had no control about closing to the public and I certainly did not expect such a gesture.
I would suggest that some large organisations and bodies which have membership schemes take note of this. This thoughtful little bit of generosity by Arley Hall has generated such good will and the Marketing / PR implications will pay rich dividends in the long term.
Below are some of the photographs I took yesterday.