A good weekend

29th May 2014
Had to be in the South Lakes for a celebratory meal on Saturday evening (at Simon Rogan's place, L'Enclume, in Cartmel - mindblowingly good meal and he continues to raise the culinary bar, well worth a visit!).

Anyhoo, took the opportunity for a longer break with the camera and while the weather was variable at best, it paid dividends! To be honest the weather is hardly ever that bad that you can't take a picture - sunny days are normally the worst for taking wildlife images and not much of that to worry about this weekend, get on with it Wilson and stop moaning.

Nipped into Martin Mere in the temporary heat on the way up to see what was around - surprisingly a few Pink-footed Geese still there, a decent number of distant Avocet on the far pools, a Rabbit paying no attention to a Stoat hunting within 10 feet and a lovely Grey Heron stopped for a breather

And then to the colder, windier and wetter conditions - first off visited a location in the Lake District where Red Squirrel are frequently seen and we had to wait all of 10 minutes before this happened ...

Had hoped to get out to the Farne Islands but an early morning check at Seahouses showed how futile that was - 9 degrees, 15 mph NW wind, big seas and heavy rain forecast, the boats all bedded down for the day, time to think again.

Remembered had come across another site while searching the web so headed the few miles down the coast to Long Nanny Burn, a site managed by the National Trust. Originally set up to monitor the Little Gull colony its now been largely taken over by the larger Arctics with well over 1000 pairs nesting there. The Warden's platform is set in the middle of the dunes with birds no more than 30 feet away and, to my eye anyway, offers better photo opportunities than the nearby Farnes. And the birds don't seem at all interested in dumping their digested breakfast on, or taking chunks out of, your head - so much to commend it and well worth a visit if you happen to be up that way in the breeding season. Oh yeah and it's free! A couple of shots

After the delights of Rogan's eatery headed to Leighton Moss on the way home for a flying visit - had heard they had a good number of Avocet, some with chicks, and knowing the reserve well it seemed likely they were much closer than at Martin Mere. That ladies and gentlemen is a bit of an understatement - calm conditions, decent light and a reflective surface for the birds at times less than 20 yards away, does it get any better than that? Am a bit of a sucker for the monochrome birds and for me the Avocet is a more iconic bird than the Osprey (sorry Cors Dyfi!), so taking these images was very special

And the distant chicks

And a rather lovely Little Egret was enjoying itself fishing

..... before the inevitable series of attacks from the damned BHG's - not sure I'd want to be going too close to that beak on an irate Egret!

Return to Leighton Moss for a full day on the cards in the next few days I think. Now that was a damned good weekend!


Photo comment By John Evans: Stunners mate, jealous or what!Well done
Photo comment By Phil Robbins: Wonderful photographs as always, Mark. (Enjoyed your 'show' on two occasions at Cwmbiga). The avocet reflections are particularly stunning - its inspired me to go off to Upton Warren, near Droitwich to see the avocets there with their chicks. See you at Cwmbiga sometime I hope. Phil

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