Weardale - not much to show...

Posted on 26 March 2019, 18:30

...But I’m happy with what I got.

Mark Mowbray is on leave this week, and I’m in my second week of early retirement. Obviously, we were going to be heading off somewhere, so we decided on Pow Hill Nature Reserve for Red squirrels, then the Weardale moors for Grouse and waders.

Mission accomplished.

I did – as usual – find myself wondering just what kind of ignorant, self-absorbed fuckwit you have to be to wilfully let your dog run off the leash right through part of a nature reserve specifically dedicated to allowing people and wild Red squirrels interact at close quarters – I still don’t know the answer, but we had two of the fuckers around while we were there – but once I’d scattered them and their four-legged turd generators, the squirrels briefly obliged:

Red squirrel, Pow Hill

Red squirrel, Pow Hill

Red squirrel, Pow Hill

Now then: on the way down, I happened to mention to Mark that one of my “Bucket List” shots was one of male pheasants scrapping.

Well, while I was hunkered down with the squirrels, a commotion behind me resulted in this:

Fighting Pheasants, Pow Hill

Shame that I lost the tip of one bird’s wing (they were pretty close) but I’m really pleased with the “painterly” look here (obviously not an accident – I processed it to look like this); and the slow (1/320) shutter speed makes for plenty of movement blur, which adds to the sense of action.

There were other things about – Crossbills in the tree tops which were just out of reach for me, but Mark got a cracking male; and ubiquitous – and typically obliging – Chaffinch all over the place:

Chaffinch, Pow Hill

Onto the moors, and again things went largely to plan in terms of target species – Curlew and Golden Plovers about in decent numbers (and all too far off to get onto – I was really missing the “crop factor” reach advantage that my 7D Mk II provides over my 1D x); and a few obliging Red grouse:

Red grouse, Weardale

Red grouse, Weardale

No Black grouse unfortunately, but I did get a great view of a Hen harrier overhead as we were passing through Blanchland on the way home which – as a birder as well as a bird photographer – was a cracking way to round off the day.

All with the Canon 1D x and 500mm f/4 Mk II + 1.4x, handheld. Full Exif in all images.

What do you think?

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