July 28, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

July has been very busy for my photography. Out of the 31 days in July I have used the camera on 27 of those days! I think I'm making up for lost time when were in 'full lockdown'!! A few more wildlife places are opening up now but pre-booking is essential at zoos and reserves that charge for entry. It can be a bit of a pain but it helps keep the numbers of people visiting in check.

This month I've visited the British wildlife centre (5 times!), Slimbridge wetland centre (twice) and my local haunts of Farmoor reservoir, RSPB Otmoor and Tring reservoirs on numerous occasions. I also made a 2 day visit to the fantastic RSPB reserve of Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast and a couple of reserves in my native Lancashire. So on the whole very busy!

At the start of the month I made a visit to the British wildlife centre (BWC). It re-opened on the 4th for members only. It was great seeing all the keepers again but some of the animals were a bit elusive. With three months of 'lockdown' the animals had got used to no visitors so when the first visitors arrived the animals that did show looked a little startled. Things now are slowly getting back to normal which can only be expected.

Least weasel (Mustela nivalis)Least weasel (Mustela nivalis)Least weasel (Mustela nivalis)
British wildlife centre, Surrey.

A Least weasel wondering who all the people are! BWC

Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia) & kittensScottish wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia) & kittensScottish wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia) & kittens
British wildlife centre, Surrey.
Scottish wildcat with kittens at the British wildlife centre.

Usually when I plan on visiting the BWC I call in at Bushy park at sunrise to see whats about. At the moment there are a few deer fawns and plenty of juvenile green woodpeckers. With the recent spell of hot weather the deer can sometimes be seen cooling down in the small lakes there.

Juvenile green woodpecker (Picus viridis)Juvenile green woodpecker (Picus viridis)Juvenile green woodpecker (Picus viridis)
Bushy park, London.
Juvenile green woodpecker searching for ants in Bushy park.

Red deer fawnRed deer fawnRed deer fawn
Bushy park, London.

Red deer fawn. Bushy park.

Tring reservoirs have been great this Summer with plenty of juvenile birds. The common terns have had their young and will shortly be heading back to the Southern hemisphere. The young great crested grebes are very active now with their parents being kept busy catching fish for them. 

Great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus)Great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus)Great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus)
Yarrow Valley Park, Chorley, Lancashire.
Great crested grebe with a large fish for breakfast

Juvenile common tern (Sterna hirundo)Juvenile common tern (Sterna hirundo)Juvenile common tern (Sterna hirundo)
Marsworth reservoir, Tring, Herts.
Juvenile common tern 

My highlight of July was a two day visit to Bempton Cliffs on the stunning Yorkshire coast. It is sited between Filey and Flamborough and in Spring & Summer plays host to over 250,000 seabirds. Gannets, gulls, razorbills, guillemots and everybodies favourite the puffins! Definitely worth putting on your bucket list!

Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica)Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica)Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica)
RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire.
Puffins on Bempton Cliffs.

Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire.

My favourite shot from Bempton Cliffs. A Kittiwake with some backlighting which shows off its wing feathers against the cliffs.

It's not just wildlife I've been photographing this month but aircraft. The RAF base at Brize Norton is not too far away and is good for watching military aircraft. The planes are large and get quite close so no big lenses are needed. I like the aircraft with propellors so a steady hand and slow shutter speed are required to get 'prop blur'. I use a shutter speed of around 1/125th of a second which is usually about right. Some photographers will go lower but I'm not that steady and my cameras are heavy. That's my excuse anyway!!

RAF Airbus A400M Atlas ZM402RAF Airbus A400M Atlas ZM402RAF Airbus A400M Atlas ZM402
RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.
Airbus A400M 'Atlas' taken using a slow shutter speed of 1/125sec to show movement in the props. Brize Norton

I made a couple of visits to the wetland centre at Slimbridge. Summer is a good time to see the wading birds and there were plenty about and will come very close to the hides.

Spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus)Spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus)Spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus)
WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.
Spotted redshank. A bird I seldom see. Slimbridge wetland centre, Gloucestershire.

Juvenile coots (Fulica atra)Juvenile coots (Fulica atra)Juvenile coots (Fulica atra)
Farmoor res., Oxon.
Juvenile coots. I think one isn't potty trained yet!

Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii)Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii)Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii)
RSPB Otmoor, Oxfordshire.
A bush cricket at RSPB Otmoor.

Summer is a great time to visit RSPB Otmoor for the insects. I usually get bitten by more than I manage to photograph! The bush cricket (above) I photographed is only about an inch long in real life but a dedicated macro (close up) lens is essential to get detailed shots like this. 

As I'm writing this I can hear the 'screeching' swifts outside which are feeding up ready for their long journey back to Africa. The last few days have felt a bit Autumnal. As I was walking round Bushy park I noticed some of the leaves on the trees were starting to change colour and some had already fallen. 

As for next month I will be making my first visit to Santa Pod Raceway. Hurray! They have been given the go ahead to host some motorsport (drag racing) events but with the latest government guidelines in place. I'm looking forward to this and there is some good weather forecast!

Now 'lockdown' is easing I am starting my 1-2-1 photography tuition again. I find this very rewarding teaching people of all abilities new photography skills. Not only from setting the camera up but to also editing the final image. You can use my CONTACT page for details and availability.

Thank you all for reading my latest blog and thank you all for your support and kind comments over this difficult period we are all experiencing. It makes it all worth the while. I find nature is a great healer in times like this. Even just sitting out in the garden or going for a short local walk. Nature is all around us.

Please continue to upload your photographs to my Photo's Page. There are some great photographs being posted.

Many more of my images can be viewed on my flickr page and Instagram.






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