Sunday, 13 May 2018

No dancing, no Puffins and an invisible Deer hunter.

The haze of another beautiful morning still lingered at Dancing Ledge this morning but the clouds were starting to clear and little by little blue was replacing the white. Spotlights of sunshine roamed along the cliffs illuminating the quarries and giving a subtle hint of what the rest of the day would bring, all was quiet except for the birds and all seemed calm. This is a good time to be out and about but it was Sika, with her hawk eyes, that spotted the Roe Deer far below towards the cliff edge. She stiffened, ears straight up and eyes fixed at a point that I had yet to see, she reminded me that there is a good reason to keep a Lurcher on a lead up here! The doe, looking beautiful but just a little scruffy in her pre-summer coat, suddenly burst from her refuge before stopping, still quite a distance away, to give us the once over. She looked at us for a while but we were not the immediate threat, something else had forced her to break cover, something that we had not seen and whatever it was was still there and so she ran on. Then suddenly she was off, out of sight and all was calm again with still no answer to what caused her to run, it could have been anything of course but there is a big part of me that really needs to know these things. Now it was our turn and we had to leave Dancing Ledge and the ever expanding patches of sunlight, the incredible view that will include Puffins very soon and the invisible deer hunter, it was time to move on.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

That's More Like It!

This morning’s early wander was bathed in a warm Sun that has been missing quite a bit lately and before the wind picked up all was calm, quiet and very spring-like. Of course, regardless of the lack of sunshine signs of Spring have been popping up everywhere, it just takes a little bit of blue sky to put a smile on our faces and stop us grumbling for long enough to notice them.
It is not just the arrival of the Swallow and the Wheatear that signals the season but all along the cliff path insects are busy with the blossom, blossom brightens every hedgerow and every hedgerow is full of birds singing and eating insects. The age old circle of life goes on whether the Sun is shining or not.
That said, our world looks so much better when the Sun shines and suddenly everyone smiles more.

Monday, 23 April 2018

The Golden Hour

Any photographer will tell of The Golden Hour: that time just after sunrise and just before sunset when the light is softer than at other times of day, making for a very pleasing effect on a photograph. Anyone that enjoys walking at these times will tell you of a very different golden hour, when animals and birds either welcome the morning or settle for the night, this is a transitional time too and is perhaps more obvious in the evening when there seems to be more of a mixture of our day and night creatures.
As a photographer I prefer the morning, the whole day awaits and the possibilities are endless but as a wanderer I prefer the evening when Foxes, Badgers, Sika and Roe reclaim the countryside and their footprints finally outnumber ours.  
People have been watching the sunrise and sunset for thousands of years but we arrived late to this party, other creatures value this time as well and they have been doing so for an awful lot longer. Look and you will find creatures just watching and waiting, with each one having their own thoughts on what the day or the night will bring, for some it is a matter of life and death.
So golden or not, this really is a very special time.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Walking in the Footsteps of Giants

Just a few metres from the Priest’s Way is a patch of land that was cleared for quarrying just a few years ago. This clearance takes away the grass and the topsoil as well as any rough rock, exposing the valuable stone underneath. As it happened this small piece of the Isle of Purbeck turned out to be far more valuable than first thought as it contained the fossil remains of a dinosaur trackway that was first made about 145 million years ago by a herd of giant Sauropods.
It is truly a wonderful find and well worth a visit, which is exactly what I did with a lovely group of people as part of my roll as a Jurassic Coast Ambassador. We started at The Square & Compass, one of Purbeck’s more famous pubs, and spent a fine time exploring the trackway and discussing what went on all those years ago.
I have another walk here for the Jurassic Coast Trust on next Saturday, the 28th, starting at noon and I am looking forward to it being just as popular as the last one.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Birds of a Feather

There is nothing like a bit of Sun to bring out the birds and with the Sun comes more opportunities to get out and about. Walks along the cliff paths can bring sightings of many migrant birds on their way to breeding areas and there is always the chance of something a little special.
Aside from that, Spring is of course a time for nest building and that brings a whole new element to bird photography and finding nest sites is very special, especially if a photograph is possible.
Over the last few days I have wandered more and seen more than I have for quite a while and that is solely due to the weather, these are just a few of the birds that I have spent time with. 

The Dunnock, a personal favourite that supplies a wonderful soundtrack to a walk

The Jackdaw: gangs of these striking birds tumble along the cliffs

The Blackcap: another vocal talent, but always difficult to get close to.

The Chaffinch: a popular local, always ready to pose.

The Long Tailed Tit: great fun to watch as gangs of these tiny birds trip through the trees.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker: a nest site to watch and to watch and to watch.

The Red Kite: common further north but a rarety on the Isle of Purbeck

The Pheasant: another vocal local and this one was not at all scared of heights

The Yellowhammer: time spent with this beautiful bird is never wasted.

No dancing, no Puffins and an invisible Deer hunter.

The haze of another beautiful morning still lingered at Dancing Ledge this morning but the clouds were starting to clear and little by litt...