This is the year penguins will fly.

Blacktoft Sands – RSPB Nature Reserve.

Blacktoft Sands is a nature reserve run by the RSPB near my home town. I am up north visiting my mum and so Ash and I thought we would go for a visit.

I haven’t been there for years, not since I was a child with my sister and my grandpa, but I have some very fond memories there. One of my favourites been the time we saw a rare Bittern! Unfortunately my grandpa had just popped off to the loo and missed out, he wasn’t too happy. I hope to see one again someday so I can take some photographs but unfortunately they are extremely endangered.

Today was very cold and bitter, plus my car is in for repair so we had to get one of the very few buses there (i dont know how people get around without a car anywhere outside of london).

We got there and were greeted by a nice guy who somehow talked us into RSPB membership, not that hard as it is something i’ve been considering for a while. I even got a good book for free!

The first hide we went to had a good view of lots of ducks and a couple of coots. There seemed to be a Marsh Harrier flying about in the distance as well. We soon decided to move onto the next hide though, to find something new. As much as I like ducks, they’re not exactly uncommon.

Some ducks flying overhead.

We did manage to see some of the marsh harriers a bit closer up. They were hunting and were a delight to watch dance and weave above the reeds, hunting for small creatures to feast upon. Marsh Harriers are actually quite rare and were once endangered in the UK, there was apparently only 1 breeding female in the country in 1971! However now their numbers are on the increase, and this is more than evident at blacktoft sands where we saw at least 5 in the short time we were there!

Unfortunately we didn’t see many other animals in our short time there, although there were meant to be good sightings of the birds of prey coming in to roost later on. We most definitely want to go back again, maybe when i have my car back so that we can stay for a bit longer. I feel I need an even zoomier (technical word i know) lens to really take the photographs i want to be taking. But alas money probably wont allow so i’ll have to make do for now. I still managed to get a few nice photographs and now hope to be visiting lots of RSPB reserve during the next year so I can take lots of photographs.

Until then, here are a few photographs from my mums garden I took the other day. She has some lovely birds visiting including some stunning blue tits and several tree sparrows, who’s numbers are also currently in trouble in the UK. It’s a shame my photography skills aren’t quite up to par yet as these creatures are too quick for me to capture well and I’m having trouble with focusing, as well as still getting to grips with manual shooting, but i shall keep practicing. If only I had a garden at my house!

Probably my best photo of the blue tit and yet the camera focussed on the branch in front! Next time I think I may have to focus manually as the branches just confuse my camera.

One actually in focus and he’s showing his bum to me. 😦

A pair of blue tits in one of our bushes

Tree Sparrows – My shutter speed was set too fast and so the photo came out too dark which is why it’s looking grainy after brightening it. Definitely need to remember to keep an eye on the meter.

Probably my best picture of the day and it’s of a pigeon…

Better luck next time i guess!

Claire x

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