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The end of the year...
Well, that's 2013 virtually done and dusted and 2014 is coming is view. It's been quite a good year and hopefully the next one will be as good or even better!
I would like to thank everyone who has followed the first blog (or just occasionally looked at it) and also those that have followed the twitter feed & retweeted some of our stuff.
Looking forward to starting the new year blog but for now I will leave you with the rising winter moon over York. [click to enlarge]

Winter moon over York

Winter moon over York. I have been waiting weeks for the moon to rise at night and have a clear sky.

Winter moon over York

Amazing to think that the chinese moon rover is in the right eye of 'The Man in the Moon'.

Early morning walk...
Well, last day of November and technically last day of autumn so I thought a walk to Wheldrake Ings would be in order. I do like this place and they are slowly renovating and improving it so it will be even better when all done.
I have passed this windmill quite a few times but today I thought I would try something new as the sun had only just risen and was directly in my eyes so I attempted a silhoutte version of it and I kind of like the result... [click to enlarge]

Windmill at Wheldrake Ings

Silhouette of the Wheldrake Ings windmill.

Windmill at Wheldrake Ings

Turned round 180 degrees with the sun behind me.

Heron Landing at Wheldrake Ings

You have probably guessed by now like I do like herons, so here's another performing a quite ungraceful landing.

Trip to Fairburn Ings...
One of the coldest yet brightest and clearest days of November so far and a trip out to Fairburn Ings again to see what migrating birds have turned up so far.
Fairburn always has a lot to offer and with such a lovely day it always looks so good too.

Black headed gull landing

Black headed gull making a landing with the afternoon sun on it's back.

Heron fishing

Heron stalking the fish in the river.

November already...
Not wanting to use the old cliche, but, where has the year gone?! It's November already which means bonfire night and of course only about 7 weeks until Christmas!
Last night though, was all about the Kaboom York firework display which conveniently happens at the back of my house and for the last two years has been spectacular. Here are a few shots from last night and more can be found in the portfolio here
Don't forget, you can now click the images in the blog to enlarge them.

Fireworks at Kaboom, York

Fireworks at Kaboom, York.

Fireworks at Kaboom, York

Fireworks at Kaboom, York.

Fireworks at Kaboom, York

Fireworks at Kaboom, York.

Fireworks at Kaboom, York

Fireworks at Kaboom, York.

Feel free to drop me an email with your comments or you can tweet us @imagesinprint if that's easier.

A visit to Lotherton Hall...
With a break in the autumn rain we thought a trip to Lotherton Hall was in order to see the bird area they have there as well as having a little walk round the grounds.
If you have never been, I suggest taking a trip and having a look. As well as a bird area, they have a deer park, play area, huge grounds to walk around and of course the hall itself that you can take a walk round.
There were a whole range of birds from flamingos, owls, Kookaburras and condors as well as plenty other rare and spectacular looking birds. Well worth a visit.

Recently we have had a few emails asking if the pictures can be enlarged on the blog like those in the portfolio so for this post (and onwards) we will be doing just that. Click to enlarge the images.

Bald Ibis

Nesting Bald Ibis'.

Flamingo

Flamingo.

Flamingo Flamingo

What you staring at?!.

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane.

Grey Crowned Crane

Feel free to drop me an email with your comments or you can tweet us @imagesinprint if that's easier.

The start of Autumn...
Autumn seems to have well and truly taken hold with a big drop in the temperature. Almost seems like we went through an invisible barrier from warm to cold it happened that quickly!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning as we have had a cracking summer, it just would have been a little nicer to have been eased into it!
Over the last couple of weeks we have played with the way our images are presented. Here are some of our favourites we have done so far, we hope you like them...

York in winter

York in winter.

York floods

York in full flood.

greece

Taken in Greece one summer.

black and white photography

Black and white image with reflection.

Crow attacking march harrier

A Marsh Harrier being hassled by a crow.

Crow attacking march harrier

The Harrier eventually gave up and bugged out!

Marsh Harrier

A favourite Marsh Harrier image of ours.

Shelduck

We called him Sheldon...erm, the Shelduck.

Kitten

A favourite of my kitten which really isn't this size anymore!

Feel free to drop me an email with your comments or you can tweet us @imagesinprint if that's easier.

Summer break and late summer visit...
Well after our summer break to Mexico (pictures can be found here we are back and have taken a trip to Blacktoft Sands again where we were rewarded with a superb bird of prey display. I don't think I have ever seen 4 different birds of prey within an hour in the wild.

Kestrel

A kestrel hovering for food. First time I have got a decent shot of one hovering.

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier flying by, it only did one pass, normally they hang around for a little longer.

Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk. Saw this sat in the tree scouting the area and then took off after a bird and flew straight overhead. I have half a dozen really blurry shots of the chase but it was just too fast.

So what was the fourth bird of prey? Well it was a Peregrine Falcon! I have one photo which I haven't put up as it isnt the best I have ever taken. After the sparrowhawk returned from it's first trip it went after another bird and out of nowhere the peregrine took chase too. I didn't see the actual outcome (for the little bird) and neither returned so I assume one got a good feed!

A summer spell...
Whoa, what a cracking weekend, more sun than you can shake a stick at and a brilliant afternoon at Adel Dam nature reserve just outside Leeds.
It's right next to Golden Acre Park so it has a good mixture for everyone all set in stunning grounds. The nature reserve is part of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and it's well looked after but done so it doesn't look too man made. All in all a great place to visit for an afternoon walk.

Great Spotted woodpecker Great Spotted woodpecker

A couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers made a show. Normally they are quite hidden in the trees and tend to fly away when I get the camera out but these were more than happy to feed and sit for a photo.

Jay

Haven't seen a Jay in while but there were loads flying around in the main park area.

Great Tit cleaning Old train track

Not so shy and elusive today...
I wasn't quite sure whether to make the trip to Blacktoft Sands today or not, what with the weather being mainly rainy but I really am pleased that I did.
The warden said there had been sightings of a bittern earlier in the day so I might get to see one. So I spent 45 minutes tucked up in the Xerox hide and guess what...

Bittern

So now I have seen the elusive Bittern. I didn't hear its distinctive call but seeing one flying is even better! Ok, it's not the best shot in the world but it took me by surprise and I was lucky to get this half decent one. Next time Mrs Bittern, next time...

Heron being mobbed

All he wanted to do was grab some fish to eat but those pesky Black Headed Gulls weren't having any of it. They constantly mobbed it until it finally gave up and left.

Heron being mobbed

Poor thing...

Heron

I know I have a few Heron shots but there is something about them I like. I think it's a mixture of looking quite intimidating with that beak and being so stealthy in the water I like, plus it's a nice bird to look at.

Heron nesting

I think this is where they ended up after being mobbed.

Marsh Harrier

After all the Bittern excitement this stunning Marsh Harrier flew into view. My camera went into overdrive and ended up taking nearly 200 shots in total as they swirled effortlessly around.

Marsh Harrier

Such a gorgeous bird and the closest I have ever seen one come. I suppose they have to when out looking for food for the young ones.

Marsh Harrier

Each feather seems to have a specific purpose and you could really get a sense of that in some of the photos and watching them through the binoculars.

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier scanning the tree line and diving to try to catch its prey.

Marsh Harrier

Completely effortless gliding which I would have thought would have been made slightly more difficult with the strong wind.

Marsh Harrier

It just swooped, dived and glided by, almost as if it were showing itself off for me.

Marsh Harrier

Got it! That'll be one less squawky black headed gull then and a tasty snack for the Harrier and it's chicks.

Sedge Warbler

To end the day I saw this Sedge Warbler who seemed a little desperate for some attention, mind you, today it had to contend with Bitterns and Marsh Harriers showing off.

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Quick trip to Fairburn Ings
Hadn't been to Fairburn Ings for a while so thought I would go for a visit. It's amazing how fast everything grows and much the Ings actually dries with a bit of sun and warmth.
There was still plenty there though although I didn't always get them in front of my lens - the nuthatch and green woodpecker that were two I missed out on! Sometimes it's just a bit of pot luck as to what you get to see and I have probably been fairly lucky so far.

It was mainly spuggies on the feeders until this Greenfinch showed up. They really stand out when the sun shines on them, bright plumage always looks good in print.

This Willow Warbler was still nest building as it was making its way from plant to plant collecting material. I am not entirely certain if it was so engrossed in what it was doing or just wasnt bothered as it carried on whilst I stood and took photos. Either way, got some great pics.

Sun and showers...
What a mixed bag of weather over the weekend, thunder, lightening, rain, hail and sun all in the space of 2 days. Still, I managed to get out and about to Bank Island (Wheldrake) and Staveley Nature Reserve.
Not having been to Staveley before I wasnt sure what to expect but it was a really nice place which was well laid out however the maps on the reserve need a little updating as they don't include the new area which was slightly confusing.

First time in years I have seen Egrets. This pair were wandering around at Bank Island (near Wheldrake).

Comorant spotted perching at Staveley probably waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim by. These birds are actually quite prehistoric looking close up, I think it's the beak and eyes that look like they mean business.

I was corrected in my last post as I thought it was a Carrion Crow but in actual fact it was a Rook. So this Jackdaw could turn out to be something completely different too although I am pretty sure I am correct on this one... (spotted at Stavely)

Knaresborough Bed Race.
What a fantastic day the Knaresborough Bed Race is, especially when the sun is shining which it was again this year. The crowd was huge (rumoured to be the biggest yet) and it is such a great atmosphere through the parade route and at Conyngham Hall field where the race starts and finishes.
We managed to take over 350 photos during the day and have selected a few for the blog. As we were working with Stray FM we will also be uploading a load to their website gallery which is here

From castle top where the teams gather and judging takes place, you get a spectacular view of the river and viaduct.

These guys are The Bed Hot Chili Peppers and had to be one of my favourite beds, loved it.

The Young Ones - brilliant bed on the pirate theme.

Flangetastic - so bright and cheerful.

Proctor & Gamble Team 1 - a very patriotic bed which we thought should be included.

Welly Wheelettes - as promised to Mutton Jeff via twitter (@JeffWhiley1)

The Knaresborough Rugby club - great bunch of lads and up for a posed photo.

The best dressed bed for 2013 - a good choice we felt.

The band setting off on the parade.

Darth Maul put in a close up appearance!

The Stray FM car in the middle of the parade handing out sweets and goodies to the kids (and some of the bigger kids too).

At the Worlds End! Approching Conyngham Hall field after the parade.

Beautiful day for sitting around having a glass or two with live music for company. Superbly relaxing.

Live music courtesy of The Directors. A fantastic live band who really know how to get the party started!

North Cave Wetlands.
And still the sun shines on us so what better than exploring another of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's sites, this time North Cave Wetlands. A really lovely place and well worth a visit. There are a number of different hides offering something new at each place which always makes visiting places like this so good.
From nesting Black Headed Gulls making the usual racket to the serenity of the main lake where the ducks swim quietly by, there is a place for everyone. Even those with a ponchant for machinery would be satisified as they are currently developing (for the good) the site to the north eventually making it an enormous place of habitat.

The calm main lake from the south hide. Lovely just to look out and let the feeling of relaxation drift over you.

Haven't got many photo's of Rooks so I thought I would include this fellow perched regally above me on the main lane.

I never cease getting tired of taking photo's of chaffinches. Such a beautiful bird and normally hang around for a little bit for some snaps.

This Shelduck is real. When I got back and took a look at it, it did look slightly waxwork, but I can assure you if it was made of wax, it fooled me. Amazing colouration.

Got a decent one at last! Lapwings aren't the easiest to photograph in the air (which is a shame as they look really good when flying) so I managed to get a few snaps whilst it was feeding.

Tufted duck although it's tuft is only just visible. I wish I could have got closer as there golden eyes set against the dark head would make an excellent shot.

Species seen: Baby rabbits, Tufted duck, Black swan, Berwick Swan, Pink Footed Goose, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Avocets, Oyster Catcher, Black Headed Gull, Tern, Herring Gull, Tree Sparrow, Shelduck, Lapwing, Shoveller and Coot.

Officially summer.
Well it's officially summer so we thought a trip out to somewhere new today would be in order. That somewhere was Potteric Carr (part of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust) and found just outside Doncaster.
What a fabulous place! Really relaxing and absolutely huge, about 500 acres huge. There are around 7 miles of walks (should you be up to that) and loads of hides scattered round the place. There is a huge variety of habitat too including brush, marsh, woodland so plenty to see and look for.

First up was this hairy fellow which I believe is a drinker moth caterpillar. It's one of those where you dont really know if you can pick it up without something untoward happening to your skin. Needless to say, it was left well alone.

This black headed gull was not going to be defeated by the ludicrously large twig it was trying to retrieve for it's nest. It eventually got it back but not without a struggle.

It wasn't for this nest, this little lady was all done and dusted and sat on hers.

Another Heron I know but this one was huge and certainly knew how to fish. It caught one the size of a small whale which didn't take too long to eat either.

What's going on?
Ok what's going on? Another sunny bank holiday, that's two in a row. We are never so lucky so I thought I would take the opportunity to spend a little more time with my camera.
Fairburn Ings was the destination.

I took this little flower but I have no idea what it is? I did try searching on the internet and the closest I came was a Hawthorn type flower but it wasn't actually in the Hawthorn so I am a little stumped. If anyone could tweet or email what it is I would be most grateful.

This heron was stood for ages trying to catch fish, however after a while it appeared to give up and start eating frogs instead! I guess they were much easier to catch and probably made quite a nice snack.

I never seem to be able to time a swan beating it's wings when preening until today. I shot quite a few but I thought this one shows not only the size and power but also how graceful they manage to do it.

At last, some sun...
After the return of what felt like winter after the first May bank holiday, it was nice to get out and about in the window of opportunity when the sun shone and there was not a cloud in the sky.
Where to go?! Dales? Nature reserve? Nope, got to the the Moors, or to be more precise Hawnby, for this trip.
First stop was to get the famous White Horse at Sutton Bank but I loved the Oil seed rape in the foreground.

I took some closer shots of the white horse to be honest it does look at little wonky close up so long shots show it off better.

Hawnby Estate was full of Red Grouse. I got quite close to him as he was buried in the grass thinking I hadnt seen him. Not sure there will be so many after the glorious twelfth!

I loved this. It looks like a large mound but it was actually quite a hill. I had to wait as there were some ramblers on it and, no offence, I didnt really want them in the shot.

Bank holiday and a trip to Askham Bog!
It's not often I publicise a trip to the bog, however this one I thought I would. Askham Bog which is part of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is a lovely little hideaway just down the road from me making it the perfect little getaway for a couple of hours.
It has a great array of wildlife and flora meaning there is probably something for most to enjoy if the peacefulness isnt enough.

This Willow Warbler hung around for a while chattering away to itself (or possibly a mate).

Aswell as plenty of birds, these Yellow Water Buttercups (I think) caught my eye - beautiful in the sunshine (which incidently was great on a Bank holiday weekend!)

Species seen: Willow Warbler, chaffinch, orange tip butterfly, Peacock butterfly, Wren, Waterboatman, Great, Blue & Little Tits.

Yay, a Kingfisher at last!
I am actually not sure if I saw a kingfisher when I was young, however I certainly have now! What a sight, the colours were absolutely amazing and especially when the sun caught his feathers. I had to sacrifice ISO for shutter speed but thems the breaks as they say.
There was an abundance of birds today, some I haven't seen for years like the Bullfinch and some more common like the robin although you don't often see them challenging greenfinches for food.

Not only did it come and pose for a little while, it also was quite happy fishing. I made an attempt to get an 'action' shot but they move so fast the images weren't the best!

Everyone loves a Robin so I thought he was worthy of inclusion in the blog.

It's not just about the birds, also saw these Daffodils walking through the wood which looked so striking in the sun.
Species seen: Kingfisher, Reed Bunting, Siskin, Red legged partridge, Pheasant, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch.

Another outing to Blacktoft Sands
Wow, what a great day. So peaceful and relaxing aswell as capturing some fantastic birds. There was quite a buzz going on when I got there and it appears it was all about the Grasshopper Warbler. Now, I am not going to claim I know all about this bird and that's why I went, oh no. To be perfectly honest I hadnt even heard of it until it was pointed out to me!
Even so, heard of it or not, you can't fail to recognise it's song, exactly like a grasshopper and I mean exactly! Plus I got some great shot of it, which appeared to erk some of those that had sat there since crazy o'clock this morning.

The above is the Grasshopper Warbler. It's strange song definitely makes up for it being 'brown'.

Species seen: Gadwall, Shoveler, Avocet, Shelduck, Marsh Harriers, Tufted Duck, Grasshopper Warbler, Little Greeb.

Are we getting a summer?
Just been thinking about the last few years and wondering if we were going to get a decent summer this year. Sure, we've had warm days here and there but wouldn't it be nice to have a prolonged spell of fantastic summer weather!

We are looking forward to the next few months as everywhere always looks so much brighter and happier when the sun shines!
We are also hoping to get out and about over the summer at various events as well as the many nature/bird reserves in our county.

Blacktoft Sands
I hadn't actually been here before but what a great place just outside Goole. It's at the mouth of the estuary where the rivers meet so there is a great diversity of birds including the amazing Marsh Harrier! They are breeding at this time of year so they dominate the skies with their mating dances, spectacular to watch.
It was so peaceful too apart from the island of gulls outside one of the hides, what a bloody racket!

Species seen: Greylag goose, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Redshank, Shelduck, Swan.

Bempton Cliffs
Haven't been to Bempton Cliffs for years so I thought it would be great to go for a visit. Loved it!
There is so much to see, especially at this time of year as the migrating seabirds are returning and all the species are nesting whether it be on the cliffs themselves or in the surrounding fields. There is something to see everywhere.
Gannets are a bit of a favourite, partly because of the colouring but mainly because they dominate the sky with their presence albeit in an elegant way.

We also managed to catch a pair of Kittiwakes having a mid-air squabble. Not quite sure what over but best guess food or a female!

Species seen: Kittiwake, Gannet, Fulmar, Razorbill, Guillemot, Shag.

Wheldrake Ings
Wheldrake Ings is a local favourite as it's close by as well as lovely and peaceful. It's easy to grap a few hours relaxing in the hides watching the wildlife go by.
There is quite a lot to be seen and the scenery is forever changing so great for a multitude of photos.

I have never managed to get a decent shot of either a heron or a hare until now so I thought I would share these with you.

Species seen: Heron, Hare, Blue/Great/Long Tail Tit, Shoveller, Mallard, Drake, Lapwing, Oyster catcher, Greylag and Canada Geese, Cows (that got waaay too close).

Fairburn Ings
I love Fairburn Ings as it has so much to offer ranging from small species on the feeding stations to larger water birds on the Ings themselves.
It's not that local but it's well within spur of the moment decision distance so it's really good for a few hours away from the hustle and bustle.

Species seen: Berwick Swan, Mallard, Drake, Blue/Long Tail/Great Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Chaffinch, Canada Geese, Pheasant, Shelduck.

Sunset
If you live in Yorkshire, you will know that it has been fairly miserable since September 2012 so it's great when the sky clear for a few nights and you can witness some superb sunsets.
This was actually taken from my back room (lazy I know) but I wasn't expecting it to be some colourful and bright.

That said, the overcast skies do produce some brilliant results. This lonely tree under a heavy sky for instance.