Friday, May 26, 2017

Shooting Times

After the mishap in Menorca my Canon lens has gone to the lens doctor for a thorough examination. It may or may not come back, and it could be three to four weeks before the decision. I chanced upon a possible replacement, a Sigma, a lens which by all accounts performs quite well. 

So I waited for a sunny day to test out the substitute, and when this morning dawned bright I took off for the hills of Bowland with fingers crossed. 

Lapwings and Curlews were in good numbers but I struggled to see and photograph both Oystercatchers and Redshanks. Maybe another week will see more activity as young emerge from the mostly distant nests I could see and hear but not picture. The Lapwing I photographed had young, perhaps obvious from the demeanour of the adult as it frantically warned the youngsters in the field to run and hide. It’s unusual to see a Lapwing on a wall. 



I slowed the car hoping to photograph a Snipe calling from a roadside post. The road was a little too narrow and the Snipe flew off into the rushy field. I made a mental note of the spot for another day. A pair of Curlew had two youngsters on a date I thought rather early. Against the light and into the bright cotton grass came a couple of pictures. 



I saw lots of Meadow Pipits but none appeared to have youngsters just yet. Catching them on a roadside post or a wall with a beak full of food makes for the best chance of a picture but none would perform today. Likewise the Pied and Grey Wagtails; the former outnumbered the latter by 10/1 on my journey, the Pied seen almost everywhere, the Greys mostly at Marshaw stream. 

Meadow Pipit

It was near Marshaw and Tower Lodge I saw and heard good numbers of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Also, a pair of Stonechat feeding young out of the nest and several pairs of Mistle Thrush, one of them feeding a just fledged youngster. 

I had an unusual one today – a Red Grouse chick. As I tried to photograph a pair of adults I saw two youngsters scrambling up the roadside bank trying to reach their parents. 

Red Grouse chick

Red Grouse

The Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica, also known as the moorcock, moorfowl or moorbird is a bird of heather moorland with a range restricted to areas of blanket bog and upland shrub heath. It is a subspecies of the Willow Grouse Lagopus lagopus lagopus, whose range extends across the northern latitudes of Europe, Asia and North America. The Red Grouse differs by not developing white plumage during winter and having a diet almost exclusively of heather. 

Since the mid-1800s, upland areas of heather have been managed to produce grouse for shooting. Grouse shooting has been one of the major land uses of upland ground and an important source of income for many estates. 

The Red Grouse population is declining, perhaps linked to diseases, the loss of heather moorland largely due to over-grazing by sheep, and conversion to forestry. Numbers have declined seriously in Scotland and grouse are now only present in very low numbers in Wales. 

The Red Grouse is considered a game bird and is shot in large numbers during the shooting season which traditionally starts on August 12, known as the Glorious Twelfth. There is a keen competition among some London restaurants to serve freshly killed grouse on August 12, with birds being flown from the moors and cooked within hours. 

Many moors are managed to increase the density of grouse. Areas of heather are subjected to controlled burning; this allows fresh young shoots to regenerate, which are favoured by the grouse. Extensive predator control is a feature of grouse moor management: foxes, stoats and crows are usually heavily controlled on grouse moors. The extent to which it occurs on grouse moors is of course hotly contested between conservation groups and shooting interests. The subject generates a lot of media attention in relation to grouse moors and shooting with one bird of prey in particular, the Hen Harrier, a major source of dispute. 

I didn’t see a single raptor this morning, no Kestrels or Buzzards, not a Sparrowhawk nor a Goshawk, and certainly no Hen Harriers. Just a coincidence I’m sure. 

Standby for more shooting from Another Bird Blog – camera only.

Linking today with Eileen's Saturday Blog.


Gordon said...

Hi Phil, sorry to hear about your lens, hope it can be fixed, as regards Sigma, nearly all my shots are on a Sigma 150 to 500mm mosly hand held, though I have to say its great when we get this kind of weather so I can bump the shutter speed up and compensate for my old age. I'm sure you will be formiliar with it, and maybe the one you have got your hands on , you didn't give details.
All the best Gordon.

Margaret Adamson said...

Sorry to hear about your lens Phill and hope next time you will be able to see some of the chicks. Good getting the Groose chick in shot. Have a lovely weekend

Linda said...

Phil, I am very sorry to hear about your lens. Lovely series, and the red grouse chick is adorable!

Jo said...

Hi Phil, sorry about your lens. Super images as always and I especially loved the Red Grouse Chick. The Lapwing is something I wouldn't see in real life, so thanks for sharing. Greetings Jo

Rajesh said...

Great shots of birds. Nice variety.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, The Sigma lens images are great. I love the Lapwing. The Red Grouse and chick are awesome, what a neat sighting. It is a shame about the battle over the Grouse habitat. I prefer conservation of course. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Lea said...

Wonderful photos of the Lapwing!
Have a great week-end!

sandyland said...

many favs today and to read management etc is icing for me

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) So glad to see you are getting better weather, and what a great series of shots with the Sigma. No raptors, but plenty of variety, and chicks to admire. I know I have told you this before, but I really do love your header, it's a lovely photo. I do hope all will be well with your camera lens. All the best.:)

Jeanne said...

Love your photos of the lapwing and also the red grouse chick!

Jeanne said...

Also hope your lens is repairable. that is not fun to have a problem with your lens

David Gascoigne said...

Hello Phil. First of all let me commiserate with you on the problem with your lens. I hope it can be fixed - and at minimal cost too. You have read about John Pringle visiting here recently and the auto focus on his 500mm lens went on the fritz so he had to shoot everything manually. Lots of young birds on your outing, which is encouraging, but it's a damn shame that the hunters are still blasting away at anything that flies. A pox on them and a double pox on landowners who still condone, sponsor in fact, the shooting of Hen Harriers.

Lowcarb team member said...

Sorry to hear about your lens ... but these look good to me!

All the best Jan

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