Saturday, 10 April 2010

Spring has finally sprung

Up early on what promised to be a rare sunny and mild day and arrived at location with high hopes of seeing a variety of wildlife.  I thought I'd try out my 500mm lens for the first time in a wooded environment to see how it would cope.  It wasn’t long before I saw three Roe Deer in the distance, unfortunately, there was a lot of trees and branches in between making it hard to get a clear shot of them and found my camera struggling to focus through this.

I tried to get closer to them but a Magpie making alarm calls behind me meant the Deer kept looking up in my direction and eventually they disappeared into a denser part of the wood.



Further along I caught a glimpse of a flash of red out of the corner of my eye which to my surprise, turned out to be a Red Squirrel scampering half way up a tree.  I was completely taken back by this, having not seen any Red Squirrels here for a few years, this being about the  last remaining refuge of them in the Tyneside area.  I remember years ago enjoying watching these Squirrels in most of the woods around here until the ‘tree rats’, err, I mean Grey Squirrels, took over and the Reds all but disappeared. 

I have to admit, there is something cute about the Reds, they also seem quite fearless and curious.  If you stumble across a Grey, they will scamper up a tree and halfway across the wood before you know it.  This one was on the ground when it saw me, then went part of the way up the tree, looked at me and then went a little further up where it then decided to scorn me for interrupting it, with a chattering noise.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Even as I passed by, it still remained in the tree and just watched me as I went by.  I decided not to stay, and left it in peace.

Further along still I stumbled across another three Roe Deer which moved through into some high grass and again, struggled to focus on them, once more, I put it down to the foliage in between.  It wasn’t until I sat down to view what I had taken so far that I realised I had left my focusing on the ‘ring of fire’ as the last time I was out with the camera I was photographing birds in flight with which this focusing option is ideal – a single image with an uncluttered background – the exact opposite of what I had been trying to photograph now, doh!



As I approached the lake, I nearly stood on this little guy, a toad just sitting there in the sun, totally indifferent to me.  I managed to get down and close to get some eye to eye images.  A number of times I have heard of photographers finding a frog or toad and have moved it to a log or leaf to get a ‘better’ picture which I think is completely wrong.  No animal should be caused stress for the sake of a photograph.





At the lake itself it was very quite, just the usual Mallards, Coots and a pair of Swans.  Overhead, high up, was a Buzzard, sailing the thermals.  I also saw my first butterfly of the year – maybe summer is really on the way!



As it was getting late morning I figured I wasn’t going to see much of what I came to see, out and about anymore and was about to put my camera in by backpack when two Roe Deer crossed the path in front of me, the first saw me and moved quickly the second just looked at me as I stopped still so I managed to take a few images but hand held with the 500mm (not image stabiliser) at 1/250th – I didn’t think they would turn out.  I guess years of using none IS lenses has paid off.  He eventually trotted off indifferently.  

TBP_3719 TBP_3721


After some four hours in and around the woods on a mild, sunny, spring morning, I had seen 13 Roe Deer, 3 Rabbits, 3 Red Squirrels two Toads, various birds including 3 Pheasants and the Buzzard.  What really made it feel like summer was not just the weather but the noise in the wood.  Every living creature seemed to be either showing off or competing, I even heard Tawny Owls at midday calling to each other.

For the final part of the day I headed to Far Pastures where a Heron has been a regular visitor recently.  Soon after arriving, so did the Heron.  I’m intrigued by Herons and admire their patience, though this one didn’t require much as there was no shortage of food for it in the small lake, finding small fish, newts and frogs.

TBP_3755 TBP_3761 TBP_3858



TBP_3888 TBP_3919


With the Heron flying off, I too decided to call it a day after nine hours, all in all not a bad day out and about.


Post a Comment