I’m delighted to announce that I will be one of the speakers at the North West Birdwatching Festival at WWT Martin Mere alongside the BBC’s George McGavin author Leif Bersweden and Miranda Krestovnikoff. This wonderful event takes place over two days and will be held at a place I know very well, WWT Wetland Center, Martin Mere.
The season of Autumn provides us with some of the most beautiful and intense colours within nature. Woodlands all over the UK are revealing their amazing colours of red, orange, yellow and gold. This happens when the trees start to withdraw their chlorophyll from their leaves revealing these vibrant pigments in the leaves giving this amazing and distinctive appearance during the season of Autumn.
Autumn is a great time to get out with your camera as the ground is laden with fruits and nuts forming a carpet of food. A very rich bounty in which all animal’s take advantage of this extra food source before the onset of Winter. Capturing behaviour in some animals during Autumn makes for some beautiful encounters with wildlife. The most commonly known one is the Deer Rut , which was very late this year, I have been to several places around the UK over the last month and seen some brilliant behaviour and great moments.
This time of year is also one of the best times to see and witness one of the most secret and shy birds within the bird world, the Jay, part of the Crow family. You only normally hear these birds in the tops of trees, but during the plentiful bounty on offer during Autumn you’ll see them on the ground feeding on the acorns and other nuts and fruits the trees shed at this time of year.
The changing seasons and the yearly life cycle of animals, plants and trees will enable you to photograph many different images throughout the year, which will tell the story of the changing weather and colours of the different habitats in which the wildlife live in. The season of Autumn for me is arguably one of the finest times of year to enjoy and view wildlife with a backdrop of amazing colours, while most summer birds have now gone. Vast numbers of new arrivals make up for their departure, with the likes of Fieldfares, Redwings, and various Geese and Ducks that spend the winter months with us.
One of my favorite winter visitor’s is the beautiful Whooper Swan that have started to arrive from Iceland along with the slightly smaller but equally beautiful Bewick Swan. When they have all arrived numbers can surpass more than 1,000 Whoopers in and around the various places I visit, one of the best is on the North West coast of the UK. So graceful and elegant for a large bird they truly are beautiful and amazing to watch in flight.
I have also been photographing a real comical and funny bird, always on the move and constantly calling as they climb and pose up and down trees with great finesse and ease, the Nuthatch. I wanted to try and capture a few different view points of these charismatic, iconic woodland birds with their bold mannerism’s. I waited out of site to where they were landing, hoping to capture their cheeky side within an image. The following two photos I feel demonstrate this, with the amazing colours of the autumnal woodland as the back drop. Very funny birds and just one of the many wonderful animals you can photograph now as they feed on this rich source of food nature provides them with during Autumn.
Autumn marks the transition from Summer into Winter and is a short season compared to the other three so make the most of it with the colourful foliage on offer, adding great impact to any photographs you take. With the cooler temperature’s you maybe lucky enough for some amazing sunsets as I was with this lone Kestrel hunting in the very last rays of light over marshland.
With so much happening now my best advice would be to just go out into nature and capture this amazing and visually beautiful time of year, your reward will be views of animals you may not be able to see during the other seasons of the year, at the same time witness these stunning colours.
The migrants that these shores attract along with the special winter wildlife we have, finally show up in good numbers from now onwards giving you a unique insight into their lives, some of the best for me are Short-eared Owls that come down from the mountains to feed at sea level during our winter months, Mountain Hares that change colour to pure white to avoid predators and blend in with their snow capped landscapes along with Ptarmigan and many more species of wildlife where the only downside is that it becomes colder but you get to put more layers on!!. Whatever you do you will not be disappointed with the beauty of mother nature.
I have been working on a project for a few weeks now where I have been trying to capture one of my favorite birds,the beautiful ‘Whooper Swan’.This shy bird is the biggest of our swans and on the north-west coast there is in places a high population of these birds.with its long,flat forehead and yellow bill its a beautiful bird. I have been spending as much time as possible watching these birds,where they go,where they fly to and feed,the way the sun sets hoping to capture them in an almost ‘Watercolour’ painting effect inspired by my friend and wildlife artist Ian Griffiths (Griff) who paints wildlife for a living and has some amazing work,click his name and see his beautiful work
I watched for some time how they made their approach into their roost and tried where possible to get level with them so I could give the impression I was level and flying alongside them.One of the key things I tell people is the need to get to know your subject and how they move, how/where they live, all key factors to getting that all important photograph.Mother Nature gives clues to us and I show people how to read these and get close without impacting on their lives and in turn making for better ‘Wildlife Photography’
They where so beautiful to watch and for such a large bird where very graceful when flying and landing.I also heard their loud trumpeting call ‘Whoop-Whoop-Whoop’ hence there name ‘Whooper Swan’ I hope you enjoy some of the images I took and this time of year they live on large lakes,marshes,rivers,estuaries and fields so look out for these beautiful Swans when out out and about