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Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Lee Valley

The Lee Valley is just a 40 minute drive from my house, but until this year, I've not really spent any time there.

Public hides don't really do it for me, and in my experience rarely produce what they promise. When I fist started, the dissappointment of sitting in the promisingly named 'Kingfisher' or 'Bittern' hide, and then seeing nothing more that a few mallards and some weeds put me off.

Well, this past couple of weekends, I've had another go and visited Lee Valley and its hides.

Last weekend I spent a few hours in a hide with Calum hoping to see Bittern. We did see one, but he was flying away from us. Then, this lovely fox arrived to explore the frost covered reed bed. It turned out to be one of a m/f pair that spent quite a while exporing the reed bed.

This weekend we spent a couple of hours in the Bittern Hide and sure enough, after 30 minutes, this super Bittern took a stroll right in front of the hide.

Lee Valley is said to contain 10% of the UK's wintering Bittern population.

I'm not sure about the statistic, but I've been to Lee Valley 3 times in 7 days, and seen a Bittern on each visit - that's pretty good odds I think..........

First post 2011

Welcome to 2011 if you are a regular follower or new visitor to my blog.

It's been a busy November and December for me, but unfortunately, not behind the camera. Work has been very busy, and the Xmas social season is always complete madness. I avoided quite a bit of it, but still managed to be out as much as usual.

The weather was the first thing most people were talking about - lots of snow, ice and persistant sub-zero temperatures. Looking out of the window today, I think I perhaps ought to have made more of the conditions......but then I was without a 4x4 for the first time in 10 years, so I struggled to get out and about - sharing the wifes A4 cab was not ideal !

I've remedied that now with a great little Shogun Pinin that has been converted into a van - a 4x4 van, that takes all my kit

So, what have I got planned for this year ?

I've travelled in the UK quite a bit in the last couple of years, so I'll probably stay closer to home and make the best use of the wildlife that inhabits my local patch.

Badgers remain the No 1 project and Calum and I will be back at the set again - what this space.

We will also see if we can find the fox den and try to capture the cubs that we frequently saw in the fields adjacent to the badgers location.

We've found a few Little Owls this year, so we will see if photograph them as well.

I know a spot where Grebe's can be seen courting - I tried for them last year, but will see if I can succeed this time !

As for trips, I'll hopefully visit Shetland again. Another week watching and photographing Otters, Puffins, Gannetts and everything else that Shetland has to offer will be great.

I visit Norfolk every year, and this year will be no exception.

Where else will I go ? I'm not sure, but keep popping back, and you'll find out.......

All the best for 2011 and happy snapping.