Photography Trip

Bit of a change for the Island today, with an early morning trip aimed at photographers.  Us photogs make such a lot of fuss about the "Golden Hour" immediately after dawn, that it seemed like such a good idea.  Even the "Meet on the quay at 05.30" didn't sound too bad until the alarm went off the necessary two hours before that on a Sunday morning!  Of course, as is traditional in the UK with such trips aimed at early mornings, the weather was a bit, well, yucky, to put it mildly!  Mist, rain and drizzle marked the day to be honest, but undeterred, we ventured downriver in the lifting gloom (aka sunrise).

It will come as no surprise that everyone was keen to see the Hares, so most of us headed down the island, although a few souls braved the northern end hoping to see the Barn Owl (they had no luck though it did put in an appearance later on).

As you might imagine, the Hares weren't overly happy with the weather either, but they still came out soggily to see us

and at least the rain showed how well their coarse outer hair sheds the rain

They started getting excited to see us Humans mooching around and showed off, chasing each other through the gorse.  This one came far too close to get a proper picture of - it ended up near my feet (myself and another photographer are reflected in the eye if you look closely!)

But they soon settled down again to posing nicely

They do roam all over the Island - they quite like running around on the Salt Marsh - where Mrs WJ saw this one

In the summer they sit in the Sea Lavender out here and it's.... Uh Oh, what's that?

It's one of those blasted party balloons.  They're the scourge of the Island - they're always landing here and littering the beaches.  Trouble is, it's over a channel full of mud.  What we need is an athletic volunteer.  Unfortunately, many of us exhibited previously unmentioned war wounds, so it was left to the young & energetic to fly to the rescue.

Large amounts of cash were instantly being wagered on the possible outcomes, but...

A safe landing.  Though points were deducted by the Hares for the landing (they're harsh judges!)

There are plenty of birds here of course, though not the best day for photographing them.  Herring Gulls are moving in

and some Canada Geese are already on eggs, though this pair were still at the courting stage

Little Goldcrest - and even a Firecrest - were around, though difficult to catch

And Reed Buntings kept popping up - or down I suppose in this case!

A Chiffchaff was also nice to see.  For a change it was chasing insects rather than wiggling its bottom performing the Chiffchaff dance

It struck me that I don't show many pictures of the island itself, so I did take advantage of the bleak weather to show a view towards the south (just to show how murky it was)

and looking the other way, these are the Warden's huts.  Very basic facilities, no running water, the only electricity is what is generated by the small turbine

The depression to the right is what's left of some gravel workings.  In the 1930s a company thought they could extract shingle from the island (which is about 3 inches above sealevel).  Needless to say, it failed quickly, leaving odd bits of evidence behind

Being an island of course, you need a boat to get here - this is the RSPB's October Storm

Whilst I was busy with shots of the scenery, Mrs WJ had been keeping an eye open for the hares again.  It may seem from these pictures that the hares are tame, but that's not the case at all - and you do need to have a decent eye for where to find them - can you spot this one?

Finally, time was getting on and we were starting to look forward to lunch mk2 (what can I say? Breakfast was at 4am, "lunch" at 10 - by 1pm we were ready for some more grub!).  The only thing was, having given us the run around all day, this one didn't want to get off the path and let us through!

Eventually we escaped, leaving the Hares and the birds in peace.  Until next time :-)


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  • Stunning set of photos as always WJ and a very enjoyable and fun read, those hares are magnificent, such beautiful eyes and ... yes, I can see the reflection in the one you mentioned and spotted the hidden hare !   Looks like you had a great day despite the gloomy conditions and it was nice to see the landscape shots too, thanks.  


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Very nice WJ, up before 4am thats not for me these days.


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  • In reply to James:

    Glad to see the Hares are waterproof, lovely markings and glad Mrs WJ caught the gangly legs:-)   Nice to see a Chiffchaff, I hear them but can never locate them.

    Lot to learn

  • In reply to James:

    James G said:

    Very nice WJ, up before 4am thats not for me these days.

    Not sure it's good for me either!  I really must make sure to take a day off afterwards, next time one is arranged.  I did NOT want to get out of bed this morning for work!

    HAZY said:

    ... and spotted the hidden hare !   

    Hmm, I'll try a harder one next time then - and offset it from centre.  Clearly I made it too easy :-)


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  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    Lovely photos, as always.  I agree those balloons are a pain in the backside!

    Our herring gulls are red listed birds.  Think about that the next time you hear some flaming idiot calling for a cull of them.

  • In reply to Clare:

    Amazing photos as usual! It looks like you all had a great day despite the early start and drizzle.