Entries Tagged ‘Dippers Of The Dale’:

Testing Times

Filed in Articles, Workshops on Jan.25, 2014

The weather has been testing to say the least since Christmas, with driving rain, gales, and flooding to many areas of the UK. On top of which mild temperatures with little sign of cold or snow on the horizon.  I have had to put back and re-book many one to ones and workshops just because the weather has been so unpredictable.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

More alarming though I’ve started seeing birds acting as though its Spring almost , singing and defending territories in readiness for their partner and nest building. It was almost the same pattern last year until alot of wildlife got caught out around March/April time with snow, frost and freezing temperatures. I only hope nature doesn’t get caught out once more.

I have managed a few one to ones over the last few weeks though,and this cute, soaked Water vole was one such day.  His little face here really is a picture as he kept my client and I company for an hour or so on a rain-soaked windy day last week.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

And my Dippers are in full song on many of the rivers I visit throughout the Peak District too and my client had a wonderful day watching, learning and photographing these amazing birds.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

I have been lucky enough though on some days to be in the right place with the right weather, or should I say a break in the weather. My Barn Owl project was ground to a halt with the conditions but over the last week or so I have seen both adults around and managed a few photos this being one of my favorites.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Barn Owls are having a tough time of it of late, with several cold winters, now with wet weather and flooding fields and also poisoning issues around the country this beautiful, iconic bird of the UK has its back against the wall and seems to be in real danger. To find out more about what you can do to help the Barn Owl Trust click here.  Its a charity I help with my images, a number of which are in their current handbook that helps farmers and landowners to manage their land better and live with Barn Owls.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Another firm favorite owl of mine and one I was luckier enough to see in the last few days too is the Short-eared Owl. This perch had been put in a few days ago by another photographer and the owl had started to use it to land on. I placed my hide not far from this perch in an attempt to get a nice close up portrait. As the sun came up this owl woke and started to hunt and I was very surprised as I was all set for the long wait because they mainly hunt in the late afternoon.But as you can see by the angle of the light this was the morning, with the light low on the bird which tells you what time of day it is.

I don’t no who was more surprised, me to see him or him to see me here. I shot through the dense reeds to hide alot of the imposing branch that was there and this was the result, giving a defused effect to the foreground. He stayed for a few moments, once I took a couple of images I just watched him as this was close and its often nice to watch rather than take photos I believe. I love his crazy looking eyes, bright yellow as he looked straight at me, such a handsome owl.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

I really hope for all wildlife concerned that the weather improves and there’s not a nasty sting in its tail resulting in a spell of bad weather when nature least expects it. I wish you all luck in whatever you photography and please dont let the weather put you off as one minute its raining the next the sun comes up so always be ready. This Mute Swan was feeding in the dawn light, when I arrived at this site it was raining within fifteen minutes it had stopped and the sun came out so you never no, good luck.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Read full post

Nature Always Shines

Filed in Wildlife, Workshops on Jul.23, 2012

With the weather in the UK still presenting wildlife with some very testing conditions I find nature always gives off her beauty whatever the weather. I will be sad to leave behind the Barn Owls that I’m currently working on. Hoping that on my return the UK wildlife won’t have had more rain and flooding to contend with. For me though rain or shine nature always shines and makes me smile whatever the weather.

I’m heading to one of Europe’s most mountainous countries, Slovakia, leading two trips for Tarta Photography. I will be photographing Brown Bears within the Carpathian Mountains so I’ll be a little quiet on my blog for the next two weeks. Really looking forward to the trip and meeting clients during this time, where I hope to bring you more on this amazing trip upon my return home.

I’ve had a few one to ones over the last several days amongst my own work, photographing Red Grouse, high up on the moors of the Peak District. Also Dippers, where some river levels have risen and the wildlife have either moved or drown, which is incredibly sad. On the days my clients booked we braved the weather reports and were treated with sunny but at times wet weather.


After rain there always comes wonderful and very usable light for photography so sometimes it’s just worth taking a chance, where fortune often favours the brave, and those weather fronts I like to study turn out wrong sometimes.

Some of the moors are just starting to show some colours now, in full bloom it can be just a carpet of soft purples covering vast areas, making a wonderful back drop to the grouse. I have a number of workshops during the best times, so if you’d like to join me, learn more about these iconic birds and at the same time learn fieldcraft and how best to approach these birds then click here to see these ever popular days I run.

Many thanks to my clients for your company, where the gamble paid off and everyone got some very nice images of their chosen subjects.  The message here is work with what you have and the wet weather fronts can pass as quickly as they arrive, but wildlife will still have to feed to stay alive. For more information on my one to ones I run throughout the year and at the varoius locations I know well around the UK, then please click here to be taken to this page.

Dates for my talks in 2012/13 covering a wide variety of my work are filling up fast, so if your a camera club, organisation or chairty that would like to see beautiful images of wildlife, whats behind the images and my work then contact me for more details and rates, many thanks.

Read full post

Dippers Of The Dale-Update

Filed in Articles, Projects on Feb.24, 2010

On a windswept, freezing day yesterday I visited a snow-covered Lathkill Dale Nature Reserve,Derbyshire,with temperature’s below zero,there was little activity in any shape or form from the abundant wildlife they live in this breathtakingly beautiful part of the Peak District.My aim is to capture 12 months in the ‘life of the Dipper’ through the medium of photography,so we get a better understanding of this amazing bird,the way it lives and how this beautiful bird and other wildlife in this precious habitat is been affected by human disturbance,with numbers down last year to an all time low it prompted me to write an article ‘Dippers Of the Dale’ which was published in the October issue of Birdwatching Magazine and can be seen by clicking here



 I did catch sight of this lone male,preening,making final adjustments to his stunning condition in order to attach a female with the onset of the breeding season around the corner,and with the warming temperature’s last week,this week must have come as a real shock to the Dippers with a deluge of heavy snow confusing their body clocks.

Over the last few months since my article in October, the signs have been replaced with new ones,where the wording has changed being more precise and specific with the welfare of the wildlife at the core,educating others to the issues/problems faced by the species of wildlife here,more so the Dippers,Watervoles.

New Sign


Natural England who run and manage the site are doing a brillant job at Lathkill Dale,with new indicatives to help the Dipper and its survival here.I spoke recently to its head warden;Phil Bowler who had seen my article and liked how it highlighted the problem,he has many plans under way for the successful survival of this bird,and I’m pleased to say I will be helping out when I can,offering my services to Phil/Natural England in an attempt to help,educate people into enjoying the breathtaking beauty,but at the same time respecting the wildlife that chose to livehere.The signs are a clear and positive, physical reminder to people/children in how to behave which is a great start.The number of these signs has also increased along the river,with key sites having a sign strategical placed so know one can miss them, an example is seen below,with the river in the background.


The four coming breeding season will be the real test,but small steps lead to bigger ones,as all help is good help in my eyes.The response I got from my article was very pleasing with people been highlighted to the issues there,and the people I have taken on my workshops called ‘Dippers Of the Dale’ has been great too,where they have enjoying seeing this bird,learning about its skills and behaviour’s, at the same time respecting its welfare and habitat.So for me its a great start as I feel the Dipper’s plight is more protected now then last year,and maybe the result will be the peace and solitude it so rightly deserves at the same time people enjoying this beautiful part of the country,its just the beginning,but a very good,positive one for the ‘Master of the River’ as I call them.


An image capturing one of the many waterfalls that frequent the river Lathkill above,adding great impact and atmosphere to this stunning landcape where the Dipper lives,and where my love of the Dipper started as a small boy and over the years the Dipper has always brought a smile to my face with its charismatic nature , and bobbing or dipping movements which I’ve always viewed as the bird ‘Curtseying’ for you.I hope to carry on helping/educating others so future generations can enjoy this charismatic bird like I have done from childhood.Thank you to everyone who has emailed me over time and highlighted this issue,where we can all do our bit in helping.I will continue to update my blog with regard to the Dippers at Lathkill keeping you informed as to the welfare and hopefully successful breeding season that’s approaching and my workshops dates for the year can been seen by clicking here.Any further help or advice then please feel free to contact me by clicking on my contact page,alternatively here.

Read full post