Saturday 23 February 2013

Spring?… Well, not quite!

Beginning of the Week

A rare bout of wall to wall sunshine brought me out of the doldrums to see what wildlife was on offer.  An opportunity to photograph two birds in particular that have eluded my previous attempts – the Bullfinch and and the particularly pretty Long Tailed Tit – were too much to pass up.  The former seems to nowadays be rarer than I remember them to be during my childhood, where they seemed to be quite common.  The latter just seems to always stay hidden away. 

The bright, almost spring like sunshine helped bring the best out of the images with a fast shutter speed enabling me to ‘freeze’ them as they didn’t stay in any one spot for more than a second and I resorted to pre focusing on one spot where they would stop briefly.


End of the Week

Within a week, winter had returned with a fall of snow blanketing Tyneside. Still, I can’t resist the temptation in going out in this kind of weather.



A post of mine wouldn’t be complete without some kind of rant at dog walkers.  A sign at the entrance of this nature reserve saying ‘dogs to be kept on lead’.  Of the dozen plus dog walkers I saw, only one had bothered to adhere to this rule.  kudos to that one individual. (not the individual in the picture who had just walked past that sign!)

Wednesday 13 February 2013

One for the Fox

When I heard the news regarding the Fox attack at the weekend, as sad as this was, I think I was more horrified by the news story itself and the way it was told.  I long ago gave up on expecting news – whether in a paper or on the radio or television – to be objective and truthful, but this was just sensationalised.  The Fox was a bloodthirsty wild animal intent on eating a human, there was no details about the how, why and looking further into it, gave little more information until much later.

The other thing that strikes me then and since and something I should be used to by now, is the ignorance and stupidity of my fellow human beings.  Despite the vast source of information available to us in this electronic age, people are becoming more stupid and dumbed down – you just need to look at the type of television we are subjected to to see why.  Some of the statements that have been made such as “They are wild animals they should be all got together - catch them and put them in the wild. Or just get rid of them.”  It’s hard to even know where to begin with that kind of dopy remark!

We are the cause of most of these kinds of problems.  One report said that people were leaving rubbish on a nearby green.  As I walked up my own street today, there was rubbish bags left lying around, some broken open.  There is often some form of rubbish left lying around here, whether food waste or an old mattress, TV or sofa.  People don’t take personal responsibility for their own actions, if we didn’t turn our cities into cesspits there would be less opportunities for wild animals.

To put things into perspective, Fox attacks of any kind are extremely rare.  Compare that to dog attacks which are pretty much daily and include deaths but you don’t hear anyone waiting to control or cull them.  There are more bites reported by dogs, cats and even humans than Foxes.  What a soft bunch of wimp's have we become in this country.  We have no truly natural dangerous animals, with maybe the exception of the vary rare Adder.  No venomous spiders harmful to humans, no large predators waiting for us in the woods and if you can brave the cold, a swim in the sea is unlikely to be fatal from any kind of attack (more likely from hypothermia).  The Wild Boar has been re-introduced to some areas but there has been an out-cry to that.  One local women didn’t want to let her dog out because of one the growing number of Red Kites might swoop down and take it away!  We’ve just about killed off anything that might threaten or simply annoy us in this country.

Although we have urban Foxes around here, I have never seen one, so my only experience are the more ‘wilder’ ones which, at the first sniff of a human, disappear.  So, I’ve put together a few images of my favourite wild, British mammal, the much maligned, Red Fox.


Sunday 10 February 2013

101 Posts

Missed the actual milestone of 100 posts since starting this blog in 2009, but didn’t think I could let it go completely by without some kind of mention.  Recently, I’ve not been sure whether to continue with the blog as my original main reason for doing it doesn’t really apply anymore and I don’t think it generates much of an interest so it might make more sense to just work on my website.  I did try and change the look of the blog recently and have ideas of further changes, but maybe I simply don’t have the blogging gene.

Anyhow, I paid another visit to St Mary’s this weekend, but unlike last week tidal conditions were more favourable as it was coming in at just the right time.  The sun rarely made an appearance but it was milder and little wind making it more pleasant for a long sit but though pictures came out flatter and the ISO had to be upped from last weeks 400 - 800 to 1600+ this time.  Still, it was worth it.  As the tide came in the wading birds moved closer and closer to me, having had plenty of time to get used to my presence.  At one point they were too close for my lens to focus and were on all sides.  One Turnstone got to within touching distance!  Last week it was Oystercatchers that made the appearance.  This time it was the turn of Sanderlings and Turnstones with a solitary Curlew.