First Visit To Lackford Lakes.

Camera Silhoueete  I was lucky enough to win a category in the Suffolk Wildlife trust’s annual photographic competition. Not only did I win a bottle of Presecco but the winning photo’s were displayed at the Lackford lakes visitor centre. I hadn’t been to this nature reserve before so I thought this was an ideal opportunity to visit Lackford Lakes, get some much needed exercise after the excesses of Christmas and see my photo on display.
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Winners and runners up photo’s on display (some great photo’s)

My photograph was winner in the ‘Hidden Suffolk’ category. It’s called ‘Protective Mother’ and shows a Nursery Web spider protecting her egg sac.

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My winning photograph of a Nursery Web spider

Lackford Lakes is a great reserve to visit, there are several well placed hides dotted around the lakes.

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One of the hides at Lackford Lakes

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A Little Egret catches the last of the sun

It only took a hour to drive to Lackford lakes from my home so I’ll definately be going back later in the year.

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A Day At Warnham Nature Reserve.

Seagull silhoueeteI visited my dad for the weekend, he likes to get out and about and do a bit of wildlife watching so we decided to visit the Warnham nature reserve which is located near Horsham in Sussex. It was a sunny but cold day, ideal for getting a bit of fresh air.

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Welcome to the Warnham local nature reserve

We started the day by having a cup of coffee and talking to the friendly volunteers who work in the cafe and on the reserve.

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Entrance to the reserve is through the visitor centre

The reserve is centred around a large lake which is a great habitat for various birds including Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Kingfishers and other water loving birds.

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The lake at Warnham – the weather was cold and sunny

There are several hides dotted around the reserve which are great places to see the wildlife.

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One of the hides on the water’s edge

There were a lot Seagulls on the lake, we also saw a Grey Heron, Commorants, Tufted ducks and the usual Mallard ducks.

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Lesser Spotted Woodpecker & Grey Heron

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Well placed hides get you close to the wildlife

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There were a lot of Seagulls on the lake

The reserve has come up with a good idea to keep the grass down in one of their meadows – sheep!  A small flock of hardy sheep are shared around with other local locations to act as grass cutters.

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Hebridean sheep keep the grass well trimmed

After an enjoyable few hours  we headed back to the visitor centre to warm ourselves up with another cup of coffee before heading home.

For more information about the Warnham nature reserve, click on the link below:-

Warnham

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Autumn Colours.

Falling Leaves Autumn can be a cold damp season but on sunny days there can be a burst of colour when the sun highlights the golden colour of the autumn leaves.

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Autumn at Woodwalton Fen

Autumn is a great time to get out and about with your camera. You don’t always have to photograph landscapes, leafs can make great photographs at this time of year as well.Costa Rica
An autumn fern can make a great photographic subject

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It’s a colourful time of year!

The setting sun will add a golden glow to any photograph, especially landscapes. The sun sets early this time of year so check the time of sunset in your area. Get in position about an hour before the sun goes down and watch the changing light as the sun disappears.

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Woodwalton Fen at sunset

At this time of year there can be some amazing sunsets. Don’t leave until the sun has fully set. The photo below was taken after sunset but the sun is still lighting up clouds with a red glow.

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Sunset at Woodwalton Fen on a cold Autumn evening

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Glorious Sunsets.

Sun Silhoueete On the west side of my local nature reserve there is a small bank. It’s a great place to observe wildlife particulary Barn Owls, Chinese Water Deer and in the winter Short Eared Owls. Being located on the west side of the reserve it’s also a great place to see the sun set.

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A panorama photograph taken from the west of  side Woodwalton Fen

The sun sets at a different location throughout the year. If you want to find out where the sun is going to set you can use a sun compass, there’s probably an app that does the same thing but I prefer the handheld compass  – I’m probably a bit old fashioned.

Sunset Compass
Line up the North arrow to find where the sun will set at your current position

Sun Compass Rear
The rear of the compass can give an idication of the height of the sun in the sky

The compass can be useful if you want to get a photograph of a sunset where the sun is setting in a specific point in the sky, although if you look at the compass you may have to wait a few months depending on the time of year.

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Get Out On A Showery Day.

Rain Silhouette 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 is easy to pack, you can use it  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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