Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Quick Stroll

The first weekend in some time that I’ve managed to get out, thanks to a rainless weekend for a change.  No plans were made, I just wanted to get out for a walk. Despite being a dry, sunny May day it was very cold first thing which kept me stopping in anyone place for any length of time which is what I would normally do to photograph wildlife.  I didn’t think I would need gloves and layers of warm clothing at this time of year!

Nature seems to be starting late this year – the local Geese hadn’t even started nest building yet and it seemed strange to see swallows in cold ‘winter like’ weather though they were high in the sky.  Plant life also seemed a month late too with ferns only now just growing.

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The river was swollen from all the rain and fast flowing so there was little chance of spotting a Kingfisher, though further down river was a family of Dippers – the only sign of this years new life I’ve seen so far.  Amazingly, the torrent of river water wasn’t discouraging them from feeding as they dived in, Kingfisher style and not coming up for what seemed an age, how they didn’t get washed away I don’t know. 

I’ve never had any success in photographing Dippers and today was no different.  Whenever I have seen them they have been on a part of the river which has had the light blocked by trees.  This meant I had trouble freezing the action as they darted about and the perch where they youngsters seemed to preferred to be fed on, was blocked by foliage also going towards spoiling what could have been a great shot.  The few times they did venture into a sunlit area it meant a difficult exposure due to contrasting and harsh light and plumage which is largely dark with a white front.

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After watching them for about half and hour, they headed down stream, though they forgot to tell one of the parents who returned with some food, flew around looking for one of the youngsters to feed.  Eventually, it caught on and followed the others.

The rest of the walk was uneventful, a few Grey Squirrels in some open patches tempted by some food otherwise the woods were quiet with little stirring.

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