The Camargue

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The Camargue is a large wetland area situated in the south of france in the bouches de rhone area.Its a wetland delta where the river rhone meets the sea.at Arles the petit rhone splits from the rhone and also meets the sea ,therefore making a huge delta wetland, in fact the largest in europe and is home to a huge diversity of wildlife which include mammals and birds among the mammals wild horses are the most famous ,and can be viewed with ease from many places _DSC3402   These white horses are amongst the oldest species on our planet.in fact estimated at being approx 2000 years old ,they have certain feature which differ from modern breeds of horse one being wider hoofs so as to better cope with the wet marshland terrain_DSC3451

More than 350 species of resident and migratory birds are found also including the only breeding colony of flamingos in europe .thousands of flamingos are truly a magnificent sight to see _DSC2957 one of the best places to guarantee seeing them and getting quite close is park ornithologique. the camargue is also home to owls among them the european eagle owl which is resident in the wild _DSC3305

the vast area of open space natural food sources make it possible for the many species to survive alongside eachother. this was my first trip to the camargue and already fixed up next years trip , so many more birds too see and photograph .can really recommend to all who love wildlife and photography

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Rspb Titchwell Trip

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Few weeks ago while i was on holiday in north norfolk ,i visited rspb titchwell . Situated on the north coast of norfolk near thornham and holkham beach .its a large reserve with a very diverse habitat .stretching  from a wooded area at the entrance you can take two different trails one goes out to the beach and the other sort of follows the  coast but runs along scrapes. we decided to walk out to the beach as it was a hot and humid day and the cooler breeze from the sea would be most welcome .it takes about half an hour to reach the beach there are hides along the way and a few very large wetland scrapes actually a lot where many waders can be seen like the bar tailed godwit (above ) black tailed godwits avocets  redshanks ,sandpipers, and curlews. these are only what we saw in the scrapes but many many species can be viewed here varying on the time of year of your visit.on arrival at the beach ,terns can be seen common terns little terns and sandwich terns ,as well as oystercatchers ,turnstones _DSC1758_DSC1812

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on the walk back gives you a second go at maybe spotting a more unusual bird , which is always possible .there is at the entrance a shop and cafe selling food and refreshments ,which is most welcome and you will need after the long walk !! certainly can recomend rspb titchwell very highly and is a must if you are a keen birder/photographer_DSC1710

Norfolk

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Although its been just over a week we returned from norfolk,i thought i would just post ,to say how beautiful that county is and you are really missing a special place if you have not ventured there. of cause if you like wildlife birds in particular its  fabulous  and your in for a treat as theres always something to see. but the wildlife doesnt begin and end with birds theres hares lots of them ,just take a drive out into the countyside and stop and watch a wheat field especially after the wheats been cut they are easy to spot then .i was amazed just how many there were ,later learning that north norfolk is a hot spot for hare s .theres also a lot to do for all ages young and old good beaches ,plenty of cafes ect  steam railways .but we stumble upon a gem . at west runton is a shire horse sanctuarywith 1500 horses and donkeys its great for kids and adults and is not expensive there is a museum of old farm machinery used by the shire horses which gives an insight to a time gone by _DSC1947

set in beautiful countryside not far from the sea as well so beach could be worked into the day as well._DSC2077

.then there are the seals which can be seen on blakeney point .there are boat trips that take people out to see them _DSC2752

hundreds of seals and different species can be seen at very close quarters.they are there all year round.and is quite a nice trip to do on a sunny summers day. moving on to bird watching ,there are three big reserves on the north coast rspb have two and the wildlife trust one .many many species can been seen at them all especially in migration time as many birds stop of there on there long journeys _DSC2258

Well i hope you will be inspired by norfolk as much as i am ,and will have found this post of mine of interest.by for now Simon

Wild Wild Horses couldnt keep me away

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As the old rolling stones song goes wild wild horses couldn’t keep me away.at the end of may while out at my nearest RSPB ,i stopped to read a notice it said have you seen our wild ponies which we have here to help establish heathland after clearing areas of forest in the forming of the reserves habitat for attracting more species of birds and help build populations there are quite a few already and the reserve is getting better every year thanks to all the hard work of the rspb .well back to the ponies, intrigued as we just booked to go to the camargue in south of france to try and stress try and photograph the wild white horses there (more on that later in the year if i am successful!!!!) so the ponies being here worth trying to find and with camera in hand stepped out to try and photograph them and also practice photographing horses something which is new to me .well it wasnt long before i came across them and how wonderful they looked too! on talking to a few people who keep an eye on them there i found out they are a rare breed of pony in the UK Exmoor ponies which are in decline in uk .i approached  them carefully as not to get too near as wild horses need space and its very wise to do that and give them that space as they can be unpredictable.there are signs instructing you what to not do !.they are beautiful though about 13-14 hands so bit smaller than horses_DSC8778

There are only 84 of these ponies in the whole country .the weather just now as i wright this is very hot here 32c ! which is very unusual for uk .not comfortable for any animals. i could see the heat and flies were making them a bit edgy so kept my distance having a telephoto lens helps as that is not a problem more that they are quite inquisitive and at some points came close to me to investigate .you must not under any circumstances feed them. or walk dogs near them as they are wild and will behave very differently to stabled horses .as my camera allows i will post follow up articles .hope you like the photographs and e mail me if your intrested in buying a print as all are for sale ._DSC9482-Edit_DSC0848-2

Foxes life

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As we are now into summer here over the last few months much has happened in the foxes world .in early april we saw new cubs being born and by may they were emarging from there dens into the daylight of this big old world for the very first time_DSC6331

under the care of there parents young cubs venture further from the dens, facing many dangers and hazards ,some of cause fall fowl and do not survive ,and its a time at the fox project of which i am a fairly new rescuer sees many cubs orphans for many different reasons being brought in to help them survive. the fox project and the work they do for our foxes is just amazing and i cant praise them enough for all that they do ,so many hard working caring lovely people,who got he extra mile to help foxes.i feel very privileged to play my very small part .Now being well into june. the cubs are growing and are a lot more wary of us humans _DSC0350

at the slightest of movement or presence for humans or other animals they gone in a flash. i managed to get a quick picture of this little guy whos clued up very quickly to the surrounding world he has entered . over the next few months the cubs will continue to grow and be parented .little sylvie is  looking great after her bad start to the year .she has not had cubs this year so hope next year we may see her have cubs depending on finding a partner male in the autumn,although she already has a few admirers !_DSC0537

the weather over the last couple of weeks has been really hot in to the 30 s here which is very unusual .so i leave water out for here and you should do the same if you love foxes and they come into the garden.

so as this summer opens out and natures young join the rest of the animals do enjoy the marvels that nature shows you

Red Kites in the Chilterns

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It is spring time in uk at present and as we had never been to the chilterns we decided to visit,so judy booked a room at a small inn in the village of ibstone in oxfordshire.our reason was to photograph the red kites which were reintroduced to england back in 1975,with huge success . in fact you can see kites from the m40 as they can often be seen catching the thermals .having arrived on 13 may ,we went to  a high spot along the ridge which makes up the chiltern hills ,from which you can see kites very closely .

Photographing red kites

The equipment you need to photograph the kites is preferably a dslr, with a lens  zoom or telephoto of 300mm -500mm in length .good shots are achievable with a 300mm lens as the birds fly very close to the ground ,in fact they often can be seen close up in most of the towns and villages in the area . Setting your camera to continuous auto focus so the camera can stay infocus of the bird is a good idea .this is found on all dslrs  check in your camera manual as to how to do this if your unsure. set your aperture to  as large f4 -f5.6 are great .next set the frames per second to a high enough setting 5 is good . and thats the settings all you need is birds and your set to go so its quite easy to find red kites being a very large bird but chris s cafe in stokenchurch is a good place to head to if you want to have a drink and seat while the kites come down to feed at the outside of the cafe .if like me your more adventurous and want to have pictures on eye level head high into the hills where they also come very close but the backgrounds for pictures is a bit better _DSC8281  the photo above was taken like this with forested sides to the hills this gives a nice background to the shots. having had a great day we head to our overnight accommodation.i cant recommend the Fox inn in ibstone highly enough nice rooms good restaurant,and freindly staff ,and a bar !. next morning after a fantastic breakfast we headed out again for more of the same we were not disappointed finding red kites to photograph is not difficult at all .after a couple hours and full memory cards we call it a day and head home visiting a national trust on the way home .all ain all a fantastic trip and certainly a must if you are a bird watcher or wildlife photography is you thing or both .much info can be found on the internet with just a google search .so i leave you with a few more shots from a memorable weekend

 

Rspb Pullborough brooks

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It was a very warm april day when i set out early on a sunday morning to meet my old friend tony at rspb pulborough brooks in west sussex .i set of from tonbridge at five past seven ,and arrived at twenty past eight ,not bad it was a beautiful morning and a lovely journey down through southern englands gorgeous countryside springs well under way and  all is being made new . i pulled into the entrance and followed the well sign posted directions to the car park which is a good size .immediately you can see the entrance building with shop and restaurant when you c an get a drink and a meal. soon Tony arrived and after a catch up chat we headed of out into the large nature reserve , imedialy we noticed the large amount of warblers that were now arriving ,in particular Chiffchaffs , and blackcaps .i was a few days early for nightingales , but never mind  next time as pullborough is a hot spot for them._DSC5774

The blackcaps were a very pleasant suprise ,as was the emergance of an adder !.the reserve is set out so you can do a large circuit from the entrance in a circle which brings you back to the entrance building where incidentally there are fantastic views out acroos the wetland area .there are also many hides along the paths that give good views of birds  at the waters edge.by miday i was getting quite tired and my legs were aching a bit ,think my age is being to show a bit now ,so i said fairwell to tony,and headed home .it was a great day and meeting up with tony was really special .i will return to this beautiful place and can recommend it to anyone who loves wildlife and beautiful countryside