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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Badgers at dusk!!

 With the weather conditions being favourable,I decided on a return to the local Badger sett that I had discovered a few weeks previous.Arriving an hour before sunset, I took up  position concealed within my small bag hide that I use for these close encounters.The wind was blowing south westerly straight into my face,perfect!!Time quicklly passed with the sun setting low to the West.Suddenly without warning an adult appeared at the sett entrance sniffing the air.
 Keeping perfectly still and not reaching for the camera,I let him become accustomed to his surroundings,letting him gain confidence that any danger was not present.He slowly edged   nearer,constantly stopping and listening for the slightest noise.I knew that to depress the shutter button now would be fatal and would have him immediately scurrying back to the  safety of the sett.
 Soon a part grown cub decided to venture out into the late evening light to be joined shortly after by 2 more.
 These 2 began to play and push one another about snapping and biting in turn.
 Some serious wrestling entailed as they jumped and frolicked less than 20 metres from where I was hidden.I was frozen with excitement as I watched this superb insight into the life of this usually nocturnal animal!They carried on with their antics for the next 5 mins at least, each trying to get the upper hand.It was hard to maintain focus with the camera , with their constant movement and low light conditions,but I tried my best!
In total there were 3 cubs and an adult within this familly and they soon ambled off to begin their nights foraging and feeding amongst the surrounding fields and streams.I knew I had witnessed one of those special moments one gets as a nature photographer and I  let them get well away from me, before I stealthily retreated to the bottom of the bank.I didn`t want them to know they had been observed for the last 20 mins and as Hugh Falkus once said `only if you can watch Badgers without them knowing you`ve been there can an observer call himself a true naturalist`.Well I`d like to think I hadn`t caused them any duress as I`m sure I`ll be back to witness these enthralling animals again!! Thankyou for looking in and I hope you enjoyed the images!!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Badgers on my doorstep!!!

 With bird activity pretty low at this time of year,I decided to concentrate on a local Badger sett I found recently.I had evidence of Badger activity within the area with all the tell tale signs evident,however it wasn`t until I had a chance encounter with a local land owner that I discovered the sett.It was situated up a small gully within a hay meadow and I was given permission to watch from a safe distance.The 2 badger cubs above were totally unaware of my prescence!
 I believe it had been used for the last 15 yrs and was the home to 2 adults with 4 large cubs.It is not an easy area to approach as it is quite open within the field.My viewing point at the moment is roughly 100 yds away across a small stream and on the side of a bank, almost level with the sett.It`s not the best vantage point for photography, but I am working on a plan to advance another 50 yds closer,this will incorporate the use of my small hide as cover.These 3 cubs emerged as I waited patiently.
 It`s usually about 8.30 pm when the Badgers emerge,always sniffing the air cautiously.I always have to make sure I`m well downwind of the sett, as their sense of smell is very acute and they will not tolerate any human disturbance!This Badger above and below is well within its comfort zone and hunts the damp grass for slugs and worms!
 Last night whilst in position,I had the pleasure of a fox appear from within the the undergrowth,

 He soon caught scent of me before he slipped quietly away.
 Thanks for looking in and I hope to bring you some more images of the Badgers and their ongoings shortly!!!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Back to Bowland

 A return trip to Bowland produced varied sightings of birds normally associated with the upland fells.This male ring ouzel was back and forth feeding a fledgeling.I believe there were 3 pairs  that bred within close proximity of each other.
 Again a male Stonechat perches sentry like on the bracken!
 Often overlooked but often heard the Linnet.This male was taking grit from the footpath.
 The next 3 pictures are of a female Whinchat that posed extremely close to me.The use of a small throw over hide and keeping still made these shots possible.
  Nicely posed on the thistles!

The cock Linnet was highly prized as a cage bird in days gone by,they are much better appreciated in their natural environment though don`t you think.Its near cousin the Twite used to frequent the uplands as well,but numbers are well down round in my locality!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Kestrel/Little Owl broods!

                                      Waiting intently!
                                    A super site to observe these young Kestrels.
                                 The male alights nearby clutching a vole!
                                    He comes to the ledge with food!
                              A fine looking individual!!
I hope you enjoy looking at this familly of Kestrels that I recently came across in the Pennines.Its not often you can watch young Kestrels at the nest as they are usually to be found high up in old corvids nests or hidden within some barn.I do believe this site has been used for over 30 yrs by the Kestrels, but up to this yr the last time was 6 or 7 yrs back.The cliff face it is on faces east and is roughly 30 ft off the ground.I was about 15 yards away hidden behind some heather.I hoped an adult would return with prey and some 20 mins after I arrived,the male duly obliged by perching on a nearby fencepost before flying in with a vole.The adult only perched for 5 secs before having the vole snatched off it by one of the youngsters!I wasn`t quick enough with the camera to capture the moment but enjoyed watching the young Kestrel devour its meal.To cap off a great day,I captured a brood of young Little Owls enjoying the afternoon sun on my way home!!!!