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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.