Saturday, 20 March 2010

Wet, wet, wet…


 …and I’m not talking 1980’s pop group.  They say that the British weather is three months of winter and nine months of bad weather, well, today was no exception.  When I got up, it was a down-poor of biblical proportions – not quite the ‘light’ rain forecasted, so I decided to still go out but take shelter in one of the local hides for the morning, though when I arrived I was starting to think even the local wildlife wasn’t stupid enough to be out in this weather.

After ten minutes or so a few signs of life appeared, a Moorhen, a Pheasant and a Grey Squirrel.  This particular hide at Clara Vale, is also well known for Kingfisher appearances, though I tend to be unlucky when it comes to see them here and today, this seemed likely to continue as no sign has been seen of them since the beginning of the year.  I did think I may have got lucky as the heavy rain would have caused the nearby River Tyne to be too difficult for the Kingfisher to feed at, which is where they might otherwise be.


After a cold 30 minutes, I was starting to doubt the wisdom of my decision to get up at the early hours on my precious Saturday off.  One of the reasons I do such a crazy thing is that more and more I feel the need to get out and away from it all after a week in a stressful job full of conflict.

I find the peace and solitude of being out in the countryside or at least somewhere reasonably wild, therapeutic, not to mention the exercise gained from spending the day wandering around with half a ton of camera equipment on my back!  It’s also a chance to use your senses that you tend to forget during a normal week – hearing, smell and sight. 

I suppose it’s some primeval tuning into nature.  There’s also something very honest about nature – what you see is what you get.


Pheasant scurrying between shelter


After about an hour the deluge turned into the ‘light’ rain originally forecast and life started to appear.   A number of Pheasants, a few more Squirrels and some songbirds.


The tail makes a good umbrella


Having a wash and prune


Male Pheasant


Female Pheasant


TBP_3311One of my favourite songbirds, the Robin,this one went from one location to the next, singing, presumably staking its territory.  Robins seem the more ‘friendly’ and least timid of the songbirds, especially during winter where I have managed to have them feeding out of my hand, also as a child helping out in the garden, they would often be right up around you as you dug the ground up.

Because of the very poor light, I was unable to get very good photographs of the other smaller birds which wouldn’t stand still for very long.  As it was I was working mostly at 1600 ISO.

After three hours, I had hoped for sightings of the other wildlife known to appear here such as Heron, Rabbits, Stoats, Sparrowhawk and Fox such as the one below which completely took me by surprised when it turned up a couple of years ago and was one of the rare times I wish I had a zoom lens as I was too close to it.


Soon the rain became heavy again and wildlife started to disappear so decided to call it a day.  Hopefully, next weekend will finally bring some decent weather…yea, right!


One for the road


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