Get Out On A Showery Day.

Now that Autumn has arrived we will see more rainy days but that shouldn’t put you off going out with your camera. A showery day with some sun can be ideal for getting some great photographs. Attach a macro lens to your DSLR or switch to macro mode on your compact camera and head outside. The important thing to remember is to protect your camera from the rain. I have a rucksack with a waterproof cover which is ideal for protection against any showers. I also have a small seat pad which easy to pack and you can use for kneeling down without getting muddy and wet. Don’t forget to protect yourself from the rain as well, if you get wet you can get quickly get cold and you will have a miserable day and may have to return home sooner than expected.

Rucksac Raincover and mat
A rucksack cover will keep your camera kit dry.    A seatpad can be used for kneeling on

After a rain shower look for rain drops on leaves and grass. You may have to get low down to get the photograph you want – this is where a seatpad comes in handy.

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Raindrops can make great photographic subjects especially when sunlight catches them

Look for wet insects, even the most common insects and bugs can be transformed after rain when they are covered in water droplets.

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A wet Ladybird at Raveley Wood makes a great photograph

Keep a look out for spiders webs they can also look great after rainfall.

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A spiders web with rain droplets

The next time the weather forecast is for showers, put on your waterproofs, head outside and get some great photographs!

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Packed For Pagham Harbour.

heron silhouetteI visited the south coast for a long weekend to visit family. My dad had always wanted to visit the Pagham Harbour RSPB nature reserve near Chichester in West Sussex, so we decided to spend a day a Pagham. We arrived at 10:00am on a Sunday and headed for the visitor centre to get some advice from the RSPB volunteers.
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The visitor centre at Pagham Harbour

The nature reserve is a large estuary that fills and empties with the tides. We hadn’t considered the tide times but we were lucky the tide was out when we arrived so there should be plenty of wading birds around. We were lucky with the weather as well, it was a sunny mild Autumn day.

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It’s a good idea to check the tide times when visitng the reserve

After speaking to one of the volunteers we decided to follow a footpath along the edge of the estuary down to the sea. This was a good decision as we got close to Litte Egrets, Curlews and the closest I’ve ever been to a Grey Heron without it flying away.
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A close encounter with a Grey Heron

This is a good area to see Egrets flying around the estuary, you can get close to some of them.
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This Little Egret has caught a fish

We walked down to beach and had a rest for an hour before walking back the way we came. By this time the tide had come in and the estuary was flooded.

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The beach at Pagham harbour

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High tide at Pagham Harbour

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Curlew

We wanted to walk along the north side of the estuary but by 4pm the weather had turned and it started raining so we returned to the car. It was a great day out, it’s one of those reserves you can visit any time of year and there’ll be plenty to see.

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My dad enjoyed his day out at Pagham Harbour

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A Rave Review For Raveley Wood.

Roe DeerI visited the Raveley Wood nature reserve recently. It’s only a small piece of woodland about 5.3 hectares in size. It’s a nature reserve that I drive past many times but don’t often stop to visit. It’s a bit out of the way and easily overlooked and there’s only parking for one maybe two cars.
It’s a very quiet and atmospheric wood with remants of an old moat and a wood bank dating back to medieval times. This small wood is a remnant of ancient woodland that covered this area in saxon times. Standing amoungst the trees you can imagine what it must have been like when most of country was covered by woodland like this.

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Inside the wood.

As you can see from the Google satellite view this wood is an oasis for wildlife as it is surrounded by farmland, also from the satellite view you can see a small clearing in the wood, this is a good place to see insects, butterflies and lizards.

Raveley sat view
Satellite view showing the wood surrounded by farmland.

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A clearing in the wood allows sunlight in.

Visiting the reserve in early Autumn I wasn’t expecting to see much but there was a suprising amount of wildlife around.

There were two Roe deer in the wood, I managed to get a couple of photo’s
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A young Roe deer.

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Another Roe deer wandering around the wood.

The small clearing in the wood allowed sunlight in which wildlife took advantage of.

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A lizard has found a sunny spot in the clearing.     

  
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Lords And Ladys plant – the berries are posionous.

 

Costa RicaThere were lots of spiders to be found in the clearing.

A few blackberries are still around.

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Fly on a blackberry.

I’ll definitely be visiting this reserve more often.

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Wood Is Good.

Lizard Sillhouette Some wildlife species are drawn to wooden fence posts and gates. But why? It’s all to do with the sun and heat. During the day the sun heats up the wood which retains the heat in the late afternoon and early evening. Not only that but fence posts and gates offer an elevated position to bask in the last rays of the sun. The best time to see wildlife on fence posts or gates is late afternoon. The best locations are ones that are still getting the sun later on in the day and protected from any chilly breezes. I have found such a place at my local nature reserve and there can be a really varied amount of wildlife to be seen.

Wooden Posts

Of course, tree trunks are made of wood and can attract wildlife too.

Basking In The Sun.
This grass snake is sunbathing vertically on a tree trunk

Common Lizard - closeup.
This common lizard has found a sunny spot.

All the above photo’s were taken at Woodwalton Fen.

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Kingfisher And Copper.

Kingfisher silhouetteI visited my local nature reserve with the intention of getting some timelapse video footage from one of the hides.
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View from the Rothchilds Mere hide.

I set up my camera to take a shot every 6 seconds for 40 minutes. After 15 minutes a Kingfisher landed on an old wooden landing stage right in front of me. I was tempted to cancel my timelapse and get some shots of the Kingfisher but before I had time to make up my mind the Kingfisher flew off.  This colourful little bird returned a few minutes later. This time I decided to cancel my timelapse and start photographing the Kingfisher. I’m glad I did, I got some great shots and video footage of the Kingfisher fishing.

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The red patch on the lower beak indicates that this is a female.

On my walk back to the car I noticed something out the corner of my eye. When I looked I found it was a tiny Small Copper butterfly. I hadn’t seen one of these butterflies at Woodwalton Fen before so I stopped to get a couple of photographs.

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Small Copper butterfly at Woodwalton Fen.

All in all not a bad afternoon. For those of you who were wondering…yes I did get my timelapse as well!

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Reptile Refuge.

Snake SillhouetteReptiles like young grass snakes and small lizards need to find safe hiding places if they want to avoid being eaten by predators. But where would they hide?

This small grass snake has found a hiding place in the bark of a tree trunk
Good Hiding Place.

 

This lizard hasn’t found the safest of places to hide – it’s tail can still be seen!
Not The Best Hiding Place.

Lizards have a trick though. They can delibarately lose their tail to avoid getting caught by a predator. Amazingly the tail will grow back again.

The Lizard below has lost it’s tail.
Tailless.

A lost tail will start to grow back.
New Tail.

Fence posts make great hiding places, good for basking in the sun and the cracks in the wood make quick hiding places.
I Can See You.

All the above images taken at Woodwalton Fen nature reserve.

 

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Rothchild’s Sunflower.

Bee Silhouette ‘Rothchild’s sunflower’ was originally planted to re-introduce Large Copper butterflies to the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve. Unfortunately Large Copper butterflies didn’t return but Bee’s and other insects are attracted to the large yellow flowers .

Bee On A 'Rothchilds Sunflower'.

The reserve was onced owned by Charles Rothchild hence the name ‘Rothchild’s Sunflower’ It is rumoured that Charles Rothchild himself planted these flowers.

Bee On A 'Rothchilds Sunflower'.

The plant is actually called Heartleaf Oxeye and it flowers for a couple of weeks during the summer.

Rothchild's Sunflower.

Heartleaf Oxeye is a perennial herb that is part of the Daisy family. It grows to a height of 60-200cm and flowers in July and August. It certainly adds a burst of colour to the nature reserve.

Starting To Open.

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