YouTube channel - RSPB Parkgate and Burton Mere

I woke at 5.15am, filled my flask and set off to pick up my very good friend, John, for a trip to the Dee Estuary and RSPB Parkgate and Burton Mere. These are both wonderful places to see birds, not too far away from home and easily accessible.

As we arrived at Burton Mere we found it closed as we were too early so we decided to carry on up to Parkgate. Out of the two locations, I prefer Parkgate, for me it has a more natural feel, less reserve and each time we have been there we have not been disappointed.

This time was no exception, in fact it exceeded all my expectations as I saw two new birds, a Great White Egret and a male Hen Harrier. Add to this, Little Egret, Marsh Harrier, Kestral, Stonechat, Pink Footed Geese and some wonderful flocks of Lapwings.

Later we drove down to Burton Mere where we were treated to more sightings of a Marsh Harrier and distant views of Peregrine and Merlin. We also spent a few minutes listening to a Cettis warbler in the reeds but as usual, no sight of the bird. I believe in total we saw around 49 species during the day and you can’t complain at that.

There is a Youtube vlog of the trip and you can view it here. If you enjoy it please give me a like and subscribe.

YouTube channel. Down the Cut Part 2

A couple of weeks later I set off down the canal to see if I could have more luck than last time where I struggled to find any birds at all. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, lots of birds singing in preparation for Spring and the breeding season.

Full of excited anticipation I set off round an area designated as a Nature reserve, but although there was plenty of activity, nothing was showing enough to photograph and the longer I walked round, the more disheartened I got. After about two hours and no photo’s I sat on a bench to record a short piece for the vlog and wondering if a middle aged bloke walking round a field was really compelling viewing for my few subscribers.

I was about to give up and go home when a passing gentleman informed me that there was a little Grebe further along the canal. This was fantastic news. I have seen them before on the canal but not for a long while and for me, the Little Grebe is one of my favourite canal birds, along with the heron and Kingfisher. After a couple of hundred yards I spotted the little bird on the far side as usual tucked in to the far bank. He immediately dived as I approached so I took up a position as close as I could, ready to capture some images and video. True to form, the Grebe, clearly laughing to itself underwater, surfaced further away, prompting me to move, and so it went on. Where ever I moved to try and anticipate its surfacing position, he cleverly appeared even further away. With some perseverance I did manage to get some images and video so I decided to leave the bird in peace.

Heading home I spent a few minutes watching and photographing some Mallards seemingly in some sort of courtship display which involved splashing around in the water a lot but actually made for some compelling video and photo’s

Satisfied I walked home, another wonderful few hours spent out in nature and with my best friends, the animals

Anyway here is a link to my latest Vlog, hope you enjoy and please subscribe. Thanks.

Youtube Channel. Down the Cut Part 1

I had been looking forward to my trip to the local canal, The Staffs and Worcester which is about a 10 minute walk from my house so when Sunday came and the weather was good, I set off full of enthusiasm. Two hours later and hardly a bird in sight I was getting weary and beginning to think that this had been a wasted trip. Both the canal and a local fishing lake were almost devoid of birdlife and the wind started to pick up and after two hours I finally decided to go home. In the end I did manage to get a couple of nice images of a friendly Robin and decided that I would try and get back down during the week to finish off the video.

Friday came with a lovely sunny afternoon so I left work and managed to walk home, get changed and get down the canal in about half an hour. I managed to get a couple of images and enough to finish the video so I went home fairly happy.

I think it is important to create good content for people if you are going to put videos out there on Youtube but also I want to be realistic and show that not every trip results in magnificent birds.

I had also been struggling with sharpness of my images, something that I need to practice and try different settings and methods but I am confident that the more I do the better things will get. Photography, like most things in life, required patience and practice so every trip I take I am gaining vital experience and knowledge.

This applies to making and editing the video, something In have not done before and I am really enjoying it. I am using Apple’s iMovie programme which, while fairly basic, does all I want for now but I think I will progress onto Adobe at some stage, I already use Lightroom and Photoshop and they all work in similar ways,

I had always decided to do a couple of trips along the canal so I left looking forward to the next trip the following weekend.

Anyway here is a link to my latest Vlog, hope you enjoy and please subscribe. Thanks.

Youtube Channel. Local Wildlife Episode 3

After a failed attempt the previous Sunday, I got up early and set off on the arduous 5 minute drive to my location where I parked up and began my walk. I hadn’t gone 500 yards when I saw a magnificent dark Buzzard sitting in a tree. I scrambled for my camera but by the time I had messed about he had long gone. Lesson 1, get camera ready before you set off….

A short distance later I heard the distinctive drumming of a Greater Spotted Woodpecker up ahead. I stopped, trying to pin point where it was but as I located it’s general direction I realised I was walking on a gravel path. However I managed to move my quite large body fairly silently along the path where I eventually saw the bird, high up in a tree. I managed to get some shaky video and an image that was ok but not fantastic. I continued my walk, seeing several species of birds but I was not able to photograph them to any great success, due to a combination of the overcast weather, the far distance the birds were away and the fact that I was laden down with equipment.

Anyway after a pleasant 4 or so hours I was almost back at the car when I saw a flock of Starlings and Fieldfares feeding in a field. Almost immediately I saw that there was a strange bird amongst them, similar to the Starlings but very pale. At first, and from a distance, i thought it might have been a green Woodpecker, however having looked again and done some research I think it may well have been a Juvenile Roseate Starling. I can’t be 100% sure but In think it demonstrates that anything can turn up anywhere at any time, which is what keeps me going and makes each trip out into nature exciting.

I am just starting up on the Youtube journey but I am learning all the time and I realise that walking round carrying my Vlogging set up in one hand, camera in the other and bag on my back, makes it very difficult to react quickly to animals suddenly appearing as they rarely stick around for long. I think I need to walk less and try remaining in one place to get better results. Wildlife photography is all about patients and stealth, attributes which I need to work on if I want to improve.

Anyway here is a link to my latest Vlog, hope you enjoy and please subscribe. Thanks.

Youtube channel. Local Wildlife Episode 2

Last Sunday In took an early stroll around the two lakes on the estate where I live. The larger one is right next to the shopping centre and there is always people around, yet it continues to support a large amount of birds, largely due to the central island where a lot of them nest. The usual fare is made up of quite common birds such as Mallards, Tufted duck, Mute Swan, Black Headed Gull and Canada Geese but I also saw Little Grebe and I have seen other species over the years I have lived here. The beauty about a place like this, indeed anywhere really, is that you never now what will turn up and as I walked around a lady stopped me to tell me she had seen a Water Rail the previous week.

The smaller lake is situated towards the edge if the estate and is a fishing lake, although it is not really fished much. There wasn’t anything here that I had already seen on the large lake but one thing that did resonate with me was the litter. I was taking some video of a Coot when I saw that it appeared to be trying to peck at a submerged plastic bag and as I walked round I saw other such items in the water.

We have seen so much in the media recently about plastic in our oceans but we shouldn’t forget that it is everywhere and wildlife is suffering as a result, be it a Whale or Dolphin with a struggling with discarded fishing gear or a humble Coot trying to eat a plastic bag we need to be more responsible. It really saddens me and as I get older it bothers me more and more.

While this is sad, nature is beautiful and wildlife abounds so we should enjoy and protect it. I am trying to do my little bit by uploading these videos to share the beauty in Nature that is all around us but missed on a daily basis by so many people.

Here is a link to my second Youtube video

Youtube channel. Local Wildlife Episode 1

Well I finally got round to my first video blog, Vlog, video whatever you want to call it and I learnt a lot along the way. It is something have been meaning to do for some time now, I am an avid Youtube watcher, following several photographers both Wildlife and Landscape.

My set up if fairly simple, it consists of an iphone 8 and a Zhiyun smooth Q gimbal. I have recently added a Zoom H1n recorder paired with a Rode video mic which gives much better sound quality. I quickly realised one day that the phone recording is no good in the wind and indoors it sounds really echoey.

I am using imovie to edit them, fairly basic but for what I need at the moment it’s fine, and free which is a big bonus but I think if this continues I will eventually move over to Premier Pro. I already use Lightroom and Photoshop and they all work in similar ways.

I am also shooting some video on my DSLR, I have the Canon 5d Mk4 and this has been another learning curve, I’ve only recently got into video and it is a whole new ball game but with the help of Youtube I think you can learn pretty much anything.

For a musical accompaniment to the vlog, I am using Epidemic sound, a great resource with tons of great music.

All in all I think I have found something that I am really excited about, something that allows me to get out in nature and share my experiences with whoever wants to take a look.

Here is the first Vlog…. Local Wildlife Episode 1