Thursday, 25 September 2014


My dad's friend has kindly lent me one of his lenses which allows you to zoom incredibly close to items, such as flowers and insects. 

The use of bellows allows you to focus on very small objects. Because the item moves in and out of focus very easily, the items I'm taking photos of will have to either be plants or dead organisms  (dead flies, butterflies etc.) I obviously won't be killing any living species to photograph, but I will use already dead organisms.
The photos which I have got so far are either very detailed and have a clear composition, or a very abstract photo.

I have not had enough time to experiment with the camera fully yet. But when I get the time I will upload the results! 
I'm excited to see the results!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Squirrel cashing and a new patch species!

It's that time of year when Squirrels start to collect nuts for the winter, and cash them underground. 

Whilst in the garden I spotted two very red squirrels running back and fourth from a tree. They spent the next few hours completely clearing a tree of its nuts! I was surprised about how red this 'grey' squirrel looked, and I even contemplated if it was a red squirrel. However, after asking around on twitter, everyone clarified it was just a grey, with a few red patches (maybe caused by distant cross-breeding?) I managed to get a few nice shots of them whilst they were at work! 

The squirrel then ran behind our house, and jumped in a old apple tree. I ran upstairs and leaned out the window to get closer. Not only did I get a nice shot (the one I've converted to B&W), but I also discovered that the apple tree was full of birds! At one point I saw blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, goldfinches and chaffinches in the tree all at once! I also saw a new species of bird, which I have never seen on my patch before…

If anyone knows what it is please contact me!

The apple tree, which I have previously completely ignored, is in my next door neighbour's garden. But you can get a brilliant view of it from a window in our house. Whilst bird watching there, I spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Just to the left of the woodpecker, you can see a female chaffinch! You have to look very closely. 

Long-tailet tits are also a very common species to our garden, which is great. The photo below has been edited on photoshop to create a silhouette. If you look carefully, you can see a long-tailed tit in the middle, with its tail sticking out to the left. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Muntjac deer caught on camera!

If you keep an eye on my 'ProStalk Trail Camera' page you will know that for the past month the camera has been in a deciduous woodland, which is a near my house. I left it there whilst I was away on holiday, and I have just gone to collect it. I had no clue what species I would find, and I was only expecting hares and pheasants really! So it was am amazing surprise when I looked at the footage and saw Foxes and Muntjac deer!

Here is a view of the wood from the exterior. It had a dense canopy, and a very thick understory, perfect for deer.  

I placed the camera very close to the ground, in a moderately clear area. I created some camouflage to decrease the chances of it getting stolen, or disturbing any animals.

Muntjac deer were introduced from China in the early 20th Century, and have bred and spread since then. There were two deer present in the video, either the doe and kid, or the doe and buck.

They are quite small deer, reaching only 52 cm at the shoulder. They have an average life span of around 16 years, and unlike all other deer in the UK, they do not have a designated rutting season, allowing them to mate all year round.

Foxes are another species that I love to see! They are omnivores and live between 2 and 4 years. They may be seen as a pest, but I personally think they are a joy to have!

Spot the fox!
 Like cats, their big, bushy tails aid balance. But it can also be used to keep it warm and communicate with other foxes. 

I will upload some more of the footage onto youtube soon!

Monday, 1 September 2014

C2C: Billy's Charity Challenge

We have conquered the coast to coast challenge, and managed to raise £500 for charity (Brinsley Animal Rescue and BornFree) Thank you to everyone who has donated!

Within the first half hour of setting off from Whitehaven, we had a puncture! However, we were carrying all the necessary equipment with us, and we had a puncture kit and a spare inner tube. Within 5 minutes we were back on the bike! This wasn't the only problem we had...

The tracks and paths which we were cycling along were well signposted, and they passed through some stunning areas such as the woodland below! After we went through the wood below, we entered the most amazing silver birch wood!

 As we were on a tandem bike and I was on the back, I had the opportunity to take photos and videos as we were cycling. I had never been to the lake district before, and I was surprised by the stunning views of the mountains and lakes. 

The photo below was taken whilst we were on a giant wooden bridge crossing the river. We spent 30 minuted crossing the meanders of this river. It was one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole trip!

We were now moving into the north pennines, and the tops of the mountains were covered in a bright pink kind of heather. Many types of heather can be found in the lake district including bell heather, crowberry and bearberry.

The signposts were almost perfect the whole way. However, it was harder to navigate on the roads. As you can see below, we had a map which helped us on the more complex areas.

We were really lucky with the weather! The only time it rained was as we were heading towards Penrith. This clouds (shown in the picture below) were heading our way, and we soon were surrounded by them. There was some magnificent rainbows though!

Until now, we hadn't had any "Killer Hills" but just as we thought this, we approached HARTSIDE SUMMIT! A 1903 feet mountain which was extremely hard to climb on a tandem. I think the only thing that kept us going was that we knew there was a cafe at the top! Eventually, after around an hour, we reached the summit, and had a flapjack and a hot chocolate.

The views from the summit!

We were now well over half way, and entering County Durham!

Here are some close up shots of the pink heather! Its amazing how such little flowers can completely transform the landscape.

109 miles down, 27 to go! 

Nearly there! We were approaching Sunderland. We passed under the stadium of light, as we cycled parallel to the River Wear.

And we arrived in Sunderland! We dipped out wheel in the North Sea, and had a well deserved sit down! 

If you would still like to donate, please visit this link: CLICK HERE

Species I saw along the way:
  • Redstart
  • Buzzard
  • Hare
  • Rabbit
  • Deer (too far away to identify)
  • Red Grouse
  • Pheasant 
  • Lapwing
  • Kestrel
  • Carrion Crow
  • Swan and Canada Geese
  • Common Gull
  • Pigeon and Collard dove
  • Goldfinch
  • Sand Martin
  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Starling
  • Magpie
  • Moorhen
  • Pied Wagtail
I probably would have seen more, but I was concentrating on cycling!