The Earth Is Art, The Photographer Is Only A Witness…..

So said Yann Arthus-Bertrand  in his book: “Earth from Above, Third Edition” and I tend to agree. So this week come with me to Big Pool Wood and Talacre Beach to see what I have witnessed. Big Pool Wood is a small nature reserve managed by the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Despite its name the pool is quite small and only really fills up during the winter. But with the addition of a new bird hide and a dedicated team of photographers we are beginning to see all that the wood has to offer.

I’ve written about BPW before, mainly about the birds who visit, so let’s go for a walk around the woods, which you can do in about 15 minutes, or if you are like me, constantly stopping to take photographs, it could take an hour. Spring is here and the Mallard Ducklings have left the safety of the reed beds to paddle in the pool. There were seven little ducklings a week or so back but it looks like predators, or other Mallard Ducks, have whittled the population down by almost half.

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Of course with Spring, comes colour and the wood is now carpeted with purple and blue flowers.

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Bluebells form the biggest carpet and the path through the woods is lined either side by them.

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And flowers bring out insects like these Orange Tipped Butterflies. Common in the UK, so I haven’t really found anything rare.

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Likewise for this Comma, another common butterfly to be found in the UK.

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Not far from BPW is Talacre Beach and it with being such a fine day it seemed a shame not to pay a visit. Now if you go onto the beach it will be busy. But take a walk amongst the dunes and you will see plenty of wildlife. But you can also photograph the lighthouse with showing people and you get a different sort of photograph from what others might take if they were on the beach.

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Whilst I was walking through the dunes I came across this little Meadow Pipit, shot at the extreme length of my zoom lens and against a very bright background I struggled to get a decent photograph, especially as I had to crop in so much but the new Olympus camera with the improved sensor has done a reasonable job at the distance involved. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not perfect by any means, far from it, but at least I managed to get it good enough to post on my blog.

 

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As you wander around the dunes you see the odd sign of man made structures. During WWII Talacre was used as a bombing range and in later years there were buildings in amongst the dunes. Nowadays all that’s left are bits of fence like this.

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I’d just got back to the car-park when I spotted a little Robin perched in a tree. It was very quiet, normally they’re singing their little hearts out but this one wasn’t. He/She (both have that distinctive red breast) hung around long enough for me to get a few photographs and then took off.

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Right that’s it for this week, I hope you enjoyed the photographs and as usual here’s what other bloggers have got to say about this weeks challenge.

Exploring the world Wild flowers
Shape Shifters – Wind Rush
Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth – Or, The Earth At My Feet – Petchary’s Blog
The Photo Junkie Earth II- Belogradchik Rock Formations
Pictures without film. Solstice Sunrise revisited – Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth
Simply Photos Here Today – Gone Tomorrow
Our Beautiful Earth – Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery
The Blog of Maggie Weekly Photo Challenge- EARTH
picturesimperfectblog Synecdoche
Photography Journal Blog Weekly Photo Challenge- Earth

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Wednesday to Wednesday – Who Thought That One Up?

I really do not like this new schedule for the Weekly Challenge. Does anyone else? So once again I have to go with a little post because I’ve not got enough photographs.

Brown Rat

This is a Brown Rat. It showed no fear and as bold as brass it kept coming out in front of me as I sat in the bird hide at Big Pool Wood. Straight up the branch of a tree and out to the bird feeders. At it’s closest point it was no more than 5 feet from me.

That’s it for this week – Mike

Here’s what others are saying about this weeks challenge

The Day After Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge- Surprised and Delighted
Coffee fuels my photography! Sunset Surprise (WPC- Surprise)
A Certain Slant of Light Photography A Tiny Visitor
The Eye of a Thieving Magpie Do Birds Play with their Food-
Snow in April – MiaPhotolio
Half a photograph Robot Hugs
Mindfulness through a lens WPC- Surprise
Jude’s Photography Weekly Photo Challenge- Surprise
Eiwawar Prince of the woods
Hansel and Gretel taken by Surprise – Reinhold Staden Photography

It’s A Kind Of Magic

Well for me it is. Over the years I have tried to capture a Kingfisher with little success. Too far away, or flying too fast for the camera focus to lock up on, always a disaster when I looked at the photographs. Until yesterday. So here it is my first ever Kingfisher that I’m happy enough to show you.

Kingfisher

To me that’s magic….

That’s it for this week, a really short one but I wanted to show you the photograph, not ramble on.

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Update – 25 November 2016 17:18 hrs: Not long after I posted this to the Weekly Challenge I received an email saying it had been selected for Discover, a place where WordPress highlight some of the best content published with WordPress. Wow, that is an honour.

Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

annembray Magic Moment – From Studio to Gallery
aNadventures Magic
Fairy Tale World – Lizz Beth Ashley
Colline’s Blog View from a Train
magic – Photographic Trek
through the luminary lens All about the magic of water & photons – no joking!
Weekly Photo Challenge- Magic
It’s OK Because You Made It – The Foxy Igorota
Ruth E Hendricks Photography Late Afternoon at U of Pitt Campus
Julie Powell – Photographer & Graphic Artist WPC – Magic

The Number 11 Bus

This post has got absolutely nothing to do with a bus but it’s like the old saying, “You wait hours for a number 11 bus and then three come along all at once”. This post is rather like that. I’ve not written anything all week and having just completed the Weekly Challenge post I then follow it up with this one.

Common Lizard

I really am liking the new 75-300 mm lens. It allowed me to capture this little lizard, without disturbing it.

That’s it…oh, nearly forgot. I’m off on my holidays next week so it’s going to be kind of quiet around here for the next week or so.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning

It’s 6:55 am and I’ve just stirred. Got a lot to do today. Sort through a load of photographs I’ve took yesterday with the new Olympus Lens, the M Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II. I’ve bought it specifically for wildlife and those low flying aircraft that fly through the valleys here in North Wales. I’ve also got to start preparing my talk, with photographs of course, on “Abandoned Industrial Buildings in Snowdonia”. Strange as it may seem the National Park, known for it’s mountains and lakes also had an industrial heritage, mainly Slate mining.

Anyway time to get out of bed and get to work…..

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Alright – maybe that’s not my bedroom but I wanted to show you this anyway.

I’m probably at my most productive first thing in the morning. The house is quiet, I can think and write without interruption for about an hour before my wife stirs. Yesterday I paid a visit to Conwy Bird Reserve. Like the Mach Loop it’s hit and miss what you might see in the lagoons or the estuary. The birds are wild, they choose to be there because they can find food, if there’s nothing they will move elsewhere. It’s not too far away from me so it’s a good place to practice with the new lens and see it’s limitation if any.

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Dotted around the reserve are some bird feeders, they attract the smaller nervous birds who will fly in quick, grab seeds and fly back into the trees. I was standing about 10 metres from the feeder which is surrounded by trees on three sides, making the area pretty dark. In an ideal world a good test would be to try to catch them in flight, not as easy as it sounds. I failed miserably yesterday, but that was down to me having the wrong shutter speed on the camera. If it’s too slow the wings just look a blurry mess. Thank goodness aircraft are much easier to photograph. Lock the focus, track the aircraft, fire the shutter. Easy in theory but the low flying military jet is moving pretty fast through the sky so you have to be spot on with getting that focus locked and that’s down to the lens. It has to be fast and not hunt.

Down on the estuary this junior Black Headed Gull had settled down to wait for the incoming tide which brings fish and nutrients with it. Probably about 70 metres away from me.

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Walking through the reserve woods I came upon this Green Finch sitting on a branch about 5 metres from me. I’m surprised I didn’t startle it. Hanging out of it’s mouth is the wing of some insect. I managed to take a couple of photographs before it flew off. But this was a good test for snap focusing and getting a useable photograph.

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Out on the lagoons the Little Egrets were doing their usual fishing routine about 50 metres from me. They disturb the silt by moving their feet, that’s why there are bubbles, then they dive in with that long beak and catch their food.

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At another feeder I found this Bullfinch. It’s colours are not as bright as they can be, mainly down to looking after their babies. See them in the Spring and the colours are so vibrant.

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Way across the lagoon I spotted this Grey Heron standing on a large stone. Probably trying to get a bit more height to see if there are any fish about. In reality it was far too far away to get a decent photograph

Grey Heron Far Away

but surprisingly I was able to crop in to get a photograph I could use for FaceBook, Instagram or Blogging. It doesn’t look it in the photograph because I have already zoomed in but that Heron was about 200 metres from me

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My final photograph for this morning is of a junior Green Finch. To be honest I had no idea what this was, my ability or lack of it to identify birds is well-known, I had to ask one of the reserve wardens  what it was. This was a real close-up. It didn’t seem to have any fear but I was able to get to about three metres from it.

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So there you go, the first part of my morning has come and gone. Time for a nice cup of tea and then I need to look at the industrial ruins for that talk I’m giving in September. Oh! and a heads up. I will be away at the end of the month travelling through Germany and the Netherlands for a week of  photography along the River Rhine.

Right here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge

Weekly Photo – Monsoon Mornings – Joel Locaylocay Photography
Weekly Photo Challenge- Morning – Liz McCafferty
Morning Menu – Laura’s Photos
DAVID OAKES -IMAGES. Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Morning
The Land Slide Photography Morning
Olssons universum Photo challenge- I feel good!
Westport lake views – Kee Wynne Photography
Mama Cormier WPC – Morning
hereisandrea weekly photo challenge- morning
Rebecca Gillum Photography See the day Begin

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dance

I’m finally getting around to writing this after an early start (5 am) to pick someone up from the airport. I like that time of the day. The roads are quiet, you get to the airport fairly quickly (50 minutes) and can usually find a parking spot near the terminal building). The downside is by the time you start to travel back rush hour is starting and the roads are so much busier.

Right, this weeks challenge. I thought long and hard about this. I didn’t think I had any photographs of dancers so my interpretation this week is a bit loose to say the least. But here we go….

Flamingo

It’s just a shame this Flamingo isn’t facing me but you can’t have it right every time. That’s just the way it is in photography. In an ideal world I’d walk up to the Flamingo, it would see me, say to itself “here’s Mike, best I turn around and let him photograph me”. If only.

I photograph all my birds and animals in the wild, in their natural environment. Some photographers will cut branches from nearby trees and bolt them to a small table. They’ll then put food at the bottom of the branches and sit back, behind a blind, with a long lens, and wait. To me, that may be bird photography, but it isn’t wildlife photography. – David Young

Now hears the thing. I’m highly unlikely to photograph a Flamingo in my back garden, let alone their natural environment. At least, not here in the UK. So what do you think about photographing animals in Nature Reserves?

Now this one actually is in the wild.

Grey Heron

It’s a Grey Heron photographed in a lagoon, here in North Wales. A lot of our coast attracts birds like this and they can regularly be found fishing.

That’s it for this week. Here’s what other bloggers are saying about this weeks challenge.

Dance Sunset Photography – Zero Creativity Learnings
Dancing in the Wind – A Year of Sunshine
Log Dancing – Shangri-La
Click! Weekly Photo Challenge – Dance
Jennifer Sawicky Photography 2016-03-22- WPC Dance
Claire Rosslyn Wilson Flamenco shoes
The Dancing Mouse – Snapshots, Styles And Smiles
Cooes N Cuddles Photography! Dance Dance – WPC!
Capt Jills Journeys Dance- New Orleans
Creative Blog Mom Dancing to the Weekly Photo Challenge

52 in 2015 Week 31 Wildlife.

According to Wikipedia

“Wildlife traditionally refers to non-domesticated animal species, but has come to include all plants, fungi, and other organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans”

With that in mind I give you this lovely little plant I found growing on a slate wall in Cwmorthin.

Moss on Slate

Cwmorthin is a remote valley in North Wales. No one lives there now and it is mainly used by walkers (not the ones you see in The Walking Dead); but people who like to get out and walk in the hills.  Moss and lichens seem particularly attracted to the remains of the slate walls of the old abandoned building.

At this time of the year the bees are buzzy, buzzy, buzzy. Working so hard to get pollen from the flowers of the lavender we have growing in the garden. It’s a natural bee attractor and on a hot sunny day the smell of lavender is really strong. We have several varieties growing in the garden.

Buzzy Bee

That’s it! As always these 52 posts are quite short. I hope you enjoyed the photographs.