Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?David Attenborough
We managed to get a lovely two week break in the English lake District in June and I’ve been spending the time since in catching up the backlog of orders and trying to get some of my pieces remade to replenish shop stock.
Consequently, I haven’t yet had time to work through my photographs from that fortnight, although I’m looking forward to doing so. If truth be told, I haven’t worked on the last batch from September yet either, so may well publish a gallery featuring images from both, when I do get to it. For the first few days we were away, we were in the middle of the really hot spell mid-June and our decisions of where to go and what to do were determined by finding shade and a bit of a breeze.
One of the perils of staying in a static caravan, which is something we truly love for a variety of reasons, is that being a tin can with modest insulation, they much reflect the outside temperature and it can change much more rapidly than it does in a brick or stone house. And whilst in the hot sun most of the day, it ends up like being inside a roasting tin, so we did spend as much time out and about as practical over those few very hot days. But once the garden was in the shade of the caravan itself in an evening, the nearby river and trees made it absolutely delightful.
The first photographs I have worked on are some wildlife images, although it’s also true to say that they’re not stunning quality either. We had several lovely evening visits by wildlife – from an unusual group of 5 red deer hinds, who only appeared at dusk on two evenings when it was absolutely torrential rain, a green woodpecker who roosted in a nearby dead tree – which is an absolute magnet for birds of all types and is the focus of much of our bird watching.
We were also visited regularly by a family of Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Mum was very timid, but when Dad was on duty, he was more tolerant of my taking photos and junior didn’t seem to even notice us.
The red deer, shown in the gallery below was taken on a digicam which doesn’t have the image quality of my DSLR, but does have more than twice the focal length – which was necessary on this occasion. It was actually significantly darker to the eye than it looks in the photo, which was taken just before 10pm on a truly miserable day and the shutter speed was only 1/8 second, through a window, although I did use a tripod and the self-timer to minimise camera movement.
The green woodpecker also came well after 9pm as that was obviously her bed time. She would land on the dead tree, considerately calling loudly as she arrived, to alert us and then she’d spend at least 15 minutes very still on the trunk, just leaning back and looking around. Once she was happy with the situation, she’d rapidly scurry around the trunk and pop into her bed chamber. Some nights she wasn’t happy and she’d fly off, occasionally to return later, some nights preferring another roost.
One evening she took to her bed and I was washing up at a window immediately in-line with the tree and she started making a real din, screeching and calling from within her roost and on looking up I saw a tawny owl land on a side branch of the tree, looking directly at me. The green woodpecker obviously knew he was there and vocalised her objection, at which the owl took off and she left her roost and we never saw her again after that – she must have decided that it was no longer the des res she had thought.
The only way I could capture any of her activity, due to the late hour and distance from me, was to use my superzoom digicam on video mode, which for some reason gave much better results than still shots, so the photos below of her are still frames from videos I shot. If I can fathom out the best way to post some video here (the files are HD and rather large) I’ll add those too, as her rapid disappearance into her hole is well worth seeing.
Lake District Gallery:
I’ll add to this gallery as I work on suitable images – so for now, this is just a start with a few wildlife photographs. More to follow.
Recent Work Gallery:
I’ve needed to replenish stock of some of my curly heart pieces and whilst on a roll with them, I’ve added a couple of new variants too, with a shiny bronze pair of earrings, a garnet wrapped pendant and a smaller version of my beaded pendant. Truth be told, that was an error as I intended making my usual size of pendant and looked at the wrong line of sizes in my design book, so it may well be a one of a kind pendant.