Sand eel feast

These portrait shots were taken back in June on the island of Skomer.

It was a beautiful day to visit the island with a view to photograph the Puffins,and as usual i was not disappointed.

We always get on the first boat as at this time of year  certain areas of the island becomes a media scrum when it comes to the Puffins.The islands staff do a great job of keeping tourists away from the burrows.

I took these portrait shots as the Puffins were feeding on Sand eels,their favorite food.My camera gear consisted of a Canon 7d mk 2, 100-400mm Canon lens with a polarising filter.Eventhough you could get relatively close to the Puffins set up of my camera was quite tricky.There was no cover, so over exposure was a constant thorn in my side.

Puffin numbers are falling due to low sand eel numbers.Climate change is a big factor.When will the world wake up to this serious issue.

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The Castle Bay Pup

This Seal pup was our second discovery on our Autumn trip to the beautiful coastline of Pembrokeshire Wales.

My partner and i were on a coastal walk around St Annes Head when we came across this plump Seal pup.We never noticed it at first as it was hidden behind a series of rocks during low tide.

Mum had beached this pup,and as you will see it was well fed.I grabbed my camera from the car and shot a few images at about ten metres away being mindful of not disturbing it.

When we got back to the car we notified the Seal rescue team,just to let them know of the location and condition of this pup.

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The Autumn Pup

On our Autumn trip to the beautiful coastal county of Pembrokeshire Wales we happened to spot several seal pups. These images were taken during low tide at Mill Haven cove near to where we were staying.

My partner and i usually walk down there to sit and watch the crashing waves but on this particular day we were shocked to see this seal pup lying high up the beach during low tide.We gave the pup the once over to make sure there was no external injuries,but the pup seemed fine.My partner spotted the pups mother in the bay so we quietly retreated further up the beach and this is where i started photographing this healthy plump seal pup.

We spent the next three days every evening during low tide checking everything was ok and making sure it was not disturbed from dog walkers.

Photographing this seal pup was tricky as the weather was bad and the light poor.but never the less it was a pleasure.

We called the seal rescue team to let them know of the pups location and status.

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The Talbenny valley Badgers

These series of images i photographed over a one week period during the month of June.

With kind permission of  Upper Broadmoor farm i was given the opportunity to set up a hide ten feet away from an active Badger set.

The hardest point was whether these Badgers would, except my hide being so close,and whether i would have enough light in my camera to photograph them,i arrived at the location at six pm,scattered peanuts around the set and settled in my hide in the hope they would appear before the sun went down.

I set my Canon 7d mk2 to the highest light optimiser setting and used an ISO parameter of no more than 1250 as any higher my images would gather too much noise.

The sow first appeared at 8pm and within five minutes four younger Badgers appeared.At first the sound of my shutter sent them back down the set,but as time passed the Badgers were more interested in the peanuts than the sound of my shutter.

I spent every evening with them and watching their interaction was amazing,an incredible experience and one i will never forget.

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The Stranded Seal pup

September is always a good time to see Seals as it is pupping season,usually on rocky outcrops where humans cant reach.Sometimes however sadly some seal pups either get stranded or abandoned.

My partner and i were on holiday in Pembrokeshire,a place called Dinas cross where we were planning to do several coast path walks.Due to the high winds we planned to on this particular day visit Pwllgwaellod beach.

Once there we headed towards the surf to watch the crashing waves when my partner noticed this well fed Seal pup fairly high up the beach.I ran to the car to grab my camera and quickly took these images while my partner ran to seek help.

I was so happy when my partner came back with a local man named Langley who has dealt with these situations before and knowledge was far greater than mine.Langleys wife called the Seal Rescue team and kindly brought us out a welcomed mug of coffee.

The Seal rescue team advised us to keep dogs away and keep an eye out for the adult as sometimes they beach their pups in rough weather and come back for them later.Most dog owners were really good but on occasions we really had to work hard to keep ignorant dog owners away to the point where this pup made a dash for the surf and found itself in rough swell.All we could do was cross fingers and hope it made it.

The next day we found ourselves back on the beach and once again this Seal pup appeared trying to escape the high tide to no avail,being swept out with the tide.All we could do was hope the adult Seal would appear.Once again we patrolled the beach with Langley trying to keep dogs off the beach.

Langleys daughter in law Sarah who runs the Old sailors Restaurant came out with coffee and put a sign on the beach trying to keep dogs off the beach which worked.

Sarah called the Seal rescue team and one hour later they were on the beach.Eventhough we lost sight of the Seal pup in the swell suddenly after over twelve hours the adult seal was spotted and we could all relax and hope that the Pup made it as it was not seen again.

A big thankyou to Langley and his wife,also Sarah of the Old Sailors without their knowledge help and kindness the situation could have been alot worse.

If you are a dog walker on holiday please if you come across a stranded seal pup be responsible and keep your dogs away and call the Seal Rescue team

If your ever down on Pwllgwaellod beach pop into the Old Sailors and say hello,the food is great and what lovely people.

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The Heron

These images were taken on a visit to a nature reserve in Pembrokeshire Wales called Westfield pill.

I was given a tip off from a local man that there had been regular sightings of otters by dog walkers,so i went to check it out but to no avail.On the way back to the car i noticed a Heron stalking the bank and quickly shot these images.Take note one of the images taken i thought was this Heron snatching a frog but on closer inspection realised that this was part of a plastic bag.Discarding plastic causes high numbers of fatalities in all aspects of wildlife.So when i see discarded poo bags from dog walkers it makes my blood boil,we have all got a responsibility to take care of our wildlife.

I used my old camera set up which consisted of a Canon 7d with a Sigma 120-500mm lens.My focal length was set at 450mm due to the distance of the Heron.ISO-1250. Spot metered.

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Wild Wales

These images were taken at two different locations in Wales.

The Buzzard was taken near Dale Pembrokeshire,and the Red Kites were taken in the Black mountains.

I shall begin with the Buzzard images in which we had just pulled into a car park close to an estuary off the main Dale road when i spotted a Buzzard sat upon an old brick ruin about 70 metres away.

Notoriously difficult to get close to i grabbed my Canon 7d which had an i.s 400mm lens attached and quietly as i could dodging traffic on the road approached this ruin.

I got to within 40 metres of the bird when it took flight resulting in a few rapid frames from my camera.

As the background was dark i had to use a fairly high ISO,and that is why the images were slightly graining.Also against me was the distance i was shooting,a great challenge though.

The Red Kites were taken at a feeding station in the Black mountains,a quite beautiful place even though overcast and showery,again had to use a fairly high ISO setting but that is what i love about wildlife photography,never easy always a challenge.

Just to see these magnificent birds in the wild was a real treat,and now in particular the Buzzard are a common sight in the skies over the U.K.

The Red Kites are becoming a success story as they once were persecuted by mankind to the point of extinction.But now they have made an incredible comeback due to the hard work and dedication of conservationists.

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The Swallow, Hirundo Rustica

This series of images was taken back in June at Martins Haven Pembrokeshire.

The story behind this was that i was totally unprepared heading down to the dock to catch the boat taking us to Skomer island to photograph the puffins when i needed to go to the public toilets,there i will spare you the details when i noticed swallows sat upon the roof of these buildings,but as i entered i noticed in the eves a swallows nest.

As i could not take my camera in there,unless i was going to spend a few hours behind bars i decided to grab a few frames outside and even though i was getting odd looks from the general public it did not deter me from taking a few cheeky photos.I had also noticed that the swallows were grabbing nest material and then swooping down.

It was such a beautiful day and i hope i captured their electric blue and rustic plumage.This was a real treat for me.

Swallows are a fairly common sight around the U.K.during the summer months before they migrate to Africa in the Autumn.

They have a wonderful fluent and graceful action in flight and catch insects on the wing.

Swallows nest between April and August usually having 2-3 broods,4-6 eggs throughout this time.

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The Talbenny Fox

During cubbing season i spent the most incredible and emotional week with my favorite species the British Red Fox.I was staying in a holiday cottage where my fiancee spent most of her holidays as a child and fell in love with this beautiful part of Pembrokeshire,Talbenny.The adjacent land belonged to a local farmer Russell and his wife Debbie. The valley they own was high in bracken with clearings the cows had grazed, with a stream running at the bottom,just the right place a fox would rear its young cubs.All i needed was permission to investigate. Russell and Debbie could not have been more obliging  and just warned me there was a small herd of cows down there.My first evening i  investigated  the area,found a den;found somewhere i could build a natural hide downwind.The next evening i thew out a few cocktail sausages near my hide in some scrub,set my camera up with an iso of 1600 on a fairly long focal length and waited.It was around 7pm when i first encountered the vixen on her own,very wary at first but still enjoyed eating the sausages i threw out.The second night i was introduced to three beautiful cubs.In the subsequent evenings i had gained their trust.By the end of the week mother and cubs were within six feet of me,and on my final night put my camera down and marveled  at these incredible,beautiful animals that grace our countryside.This for me goes down as the most uplifting,unforgettable animal interactions in my life.A huge thankyou to Russell and Debbie,without them i would never had this story to tell you. I will never forget the Talbenny fox.

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