Sunday, 15 April 2012

East Coast Weekend

Cold, rain and strong winds. Seems to be typical weather on the Yorkshire coast at the moment. Dodging the rain, I visited Bempton Cliffs on Saturday and went for a walk along a deserted Cowden Beach on Sunday morning.

I've visited Bempton quite a few times now and there's usually a bit of a breeze but today it was blowing  a gale. The sky/sea were a shade of slate grey which put me off staying around for very long to take photos, but having looked at the ones that I did get I actually quite like the monochrome background.

I didn't even bother trying to capture anything smaller than a Gannet as the wind meant they were flying far too quickly for my birds-in-flight technique!


I think this one shows the effect the strong wind was having on the Gannets.

I quite like the background on this shot...

Maybe this one trying to reduce the lift that it's wings are providing in an effort to slow down and land on the cliff face?


The weather was so poor on Sunday morning that I left the camera in the car and went for a walk along Cowden beach instead of looking for birdlife. It wasn't long before I came across this young(?)  Grey Seal. It was laid motionless with it's eyes closed as I approached so initially I thought it was dead. Only for it to spring back to life as I got within a few feet.

I'm not sure if it was well though. It made a few noises towards me but didn't attempt to move away. I thought about using my mobile to contact someone for advice but I didn't have a signal and the tide was moving in fast. So it would almost certainly be gone by the time they arrived.

I only had my mobile phone on me so the picture is of poor quality.

 I did take a video before moving away and watching from a distance for a while but it didn't move from this spot.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

River Calder Wagtails

At least one pair of Grey Wagtails can be regularly seen feeding at the bottom of the weir, near Island View in Dewsbury. Getting close enough to photograph them meant a struggle through the undergrowth before setting up my tripod on the water's edge. Now all I had to do was wait for them to turn up!

My luck was in though and no sooner had sat down than one of a pair appeared right in front of me. It was  further away than I would have liked but I can't really complain.

It was feeding on the small creatures which were hidden in the nooks and crannies of the rock and was soon joined by its partner. Not that I've any idea how to tell male from female.

The second one to arrive had to be content with the more precarious side of the rock.

On the way back I saw a couple of Reed Buntings - or are they Sparrows?

This shot of a nesting Dunnock demonstrates the value of a good, sturdy tripod. It was taken with a 500mm lens + 1.4x tele-converter at a mere 1/80th second - (I think the general rule-of-thumb for hand-held shots is that you should have a shutter speed of at least the focal length of the lens, which would mean around 1/700th sec in this case). The tripod is a pain to carry around but there's no way I could have captured anything other than a blur without it.