A Happy Ending …. continued

Earlier I wrote about a little Ferret that I had found on the Ridgeway and was collected by a rescue center. Click here for the previous blog post http://wp.me/p4eAig-6E.

The story had a happy ending and his new owners very kindly dropped me a line having seen the blog post and sent me a few images. He has a new name – Pip and he now has four friends to play with. Here are some of the images that his new family sent me.

Ferret4 Ferret3 Ferret2 Ferret He looks very settled and well-loved to me.  A good result.

 

A Happy Ending

In March last year, I had just set off for a walk along the Ridgeway with a friend and her two black labs when with great camera excitement I noticed something moving in the undergrowth. It was a Ferret!  A second look confirmed it and Dylan was already investigating.Wedding_0420I was a little surprised to see him and also how calm he was around the dogs, but by this time all four dogs had gone over to say hello. We watched him for a while and after some discussion with my friend I decided that he was obviously tame and if left would no doubt get eaten or run over as we were not far from the main road.

He was quite happy exploring the area while the discussions took place. A few more photos were taken! I couldn’t resist! He looked so sweet and harmless.Wedding_0422How do you catch a Ferret? They have big teeth and don’t let go if they get hold!

My friend was on crutches so she would not be able to participate in the catch! However, like a knight in shining armour came a neighbour on his mountain bike and stopped to see what we were doing.  I explained that the plan was to capture the Ferret and put in one of my dog cages. So off I trotted back to the car, got the dog cage, and the fun began!  I won’t bore you with the detail but the brave knight got behind the Ferret, picked him up (Gloves on) and hurled him (gently of course) into the dog cage! BRAVO!

I took him back to the car, and left him in there while we walked the dogs. I gave him a towel I had in the back to snuggle into.  It wasn’t until we were half way round that I started to panic, … what if he escaped and I had visions of him shredding the car in his desperation to escape!!!

I was rather relieved to find him asleep when I returned. So home he came and I moved him and the cage into the shed, he was rather smelly so there was no way he was coming into the house and it was evident from the little black dots now moving all around the towel that he was infested with fleas too… what a delight and what to do with this little fella…

Wedding_0421After a little search on the internet I came across STA Ferret Rescue and sent them an email. I got a very quick response and they said they would not be able to collect him until the morning… Phew!  Little Ferret was happy in the shed and had enjoyed the chicken breast I had given him for supper!

The next morning he seemed happy enough,  was waiting at the front of the dog cage for breakfast and had some more chicken before he was collected at lunchtime.

Wedding_0423I checked up on him later that day and Claire confirmed he had arrived safely she said that the Poor little boy was covered in ticks as well as fleas, but he was very patient and let her take them off without objecting. He was quite nervous and gripped onto her like a little koala, and she had got the feeling he’s been kept in a very small cage as he pooed in the nest box and eating area which apparently is not normal for a ferret, as they are very clean animals, and tend to “do their business” as far away as possible from those areas. He was named Pip as in Pipsqueak because he was so small.

She said he was a sweet boy,  was eating well and would now have the chance to find a lovely home.  He had also been booked in to be castrated and would they would try to mix him with a friend. – All in all a very lucky boy!

I came across his photographs a couple of days ago and wrote to ask if he had been rehomed!  Of course he had. Click on this link to see him all cleaned up. He was rehomed in April 2014.  http://www.starescue.org.uk/pip/4583734592I am glad he got the chance to have a good life.

Thank you for reading this post.

Nominated for The Societies’ Photographer of the Year 2014

This week I got great news that one of my Nature images, that gained a Gold Award with the Societies in July this year has been shortlisted for The Societies’ Photographer of the Year 2014. The Societies is Europe’s largest all-welcome association for the serious photographer.

I am thrilled to have been shortlisted for the award this year. We are blessed in and around Letcombe Regis to have wonderful  countryside and an abundance of wildlife. My nominated image of the Hare won a Gold Award in the Societies Monthly competition earlier in the year and was taken in Letcombe Regis early one morning in June this year.

I will be competing for the prestigious award of “Nature Photographer of the Year” and The Societies’ “Photographer of the Year,” with the winner being revealed at The Societies’ 2015 Convention Awards Dinner held on 17 January 2015 in London.

Please check out  www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk.

Busy Bee

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I have not written a blog for a while as I have been a busy bee. Working on various portrait sessions and other jobs over Easter and trying to entertain the kids, which was made easier by the lovely weather we had.

I have also started a new Continued Development Programme, which I will blog about at a later date but needless to say that has brought about additional workload too over the past few weeks and I have already attended my first 1:1 session in Leamington Spa

The colours around at present are lovely. All the yellow rape, the daffs, tulips, bluebells etc. I have decided that this will be a yellow blip as this is the predominant colour at present. The image above was taken with my long lens, and believe me, focusing on a bee with a 100-400 lens is not easy, however I have not yet plucked up the courage to get close enough to these super big buzzies with my Macro lens and the day I post a close up of a wasp will the day the flags should be put out!

Yellow Hammer

Even some of the wildlife are yellow in colour at present. I took this image of a Male, Yellow Hammer yesterday.

The Macro lens has been out and I have been brave enough to get near some of the smaller buzzies of the world. As long as they are nectar gathering they don’t seem to be bothered by me and that’s the way I like it!

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I prefer the more beautiful butterflies, but they are very active at present and getting them sat still and getting close is almost impossible. I did manage it earlier in the week but its not a yellow one, so you will have to see that one at another time.  This image again was taken with a long lens as its the only way to get them when they have landed at present. The camouflage is very good.

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Last for this blog is my new friend the Oil Beetle, these are apparently endangered and I am lucky enough to have a couple in the garden that pose occasionally for me. They are quite big, about 2 inches long. They are fascinating creatures. Follow the link if you are interested in reading about them. http://www.buglife.org.uk/campaigns-and-our-work/oil-beetles.

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www.meltaylorphotograpy.co.uk

 

UP Close

Today I started my photographic journey in the world of Macro photography. I went to the Photography Show at Birmingham some weeks ago and treated myself to a Macro lens. I have been wanting one for ages and it an area of photography I have always fancied doing as a hobby and with it comes new skills to learn.

The lens is also great for portraits and getting details shots for my baby photography and Weddings.

This is my first attempt with the lens. A tiny Millipede I found today in the woods. What amazed me was all the other smaller insects I could see on some of the photographs that I didn’t notice when I was shooting with the naked eye. Maybe I should wear my glasses next time!

Important Note to self.. take a mat to kneel on as the stingers are rather strong at this time of year and a light source in case the sun disappears behind the clouds as it did today!

Image

Red Kites

Birds of Prey are a real passion of mine and I am lucky to live in an area where there are plenty of Red Kites and Buzzards so get the opportunity to photograph them on a regular basis.  All the images in the post were taken in or around Letcombe Regis, Wantage, Oxfordshire.

The red kite disappeared from England and Scotland at the end of the nineteenth century.

Red Kite

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In 1989, the Nature Conservancy Council (now known in England as ‘Natural England’) and the RSPB launched a project to reintroduce the red kite back into England and Scotland.
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Chicks were brought over from Spain under strict regulations and reintroduced into the Chilterns. The first successful breeding in the UK was noted in 1992 and since then numbers have increased to approximately 400-500 breeding pairs.

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Kites are still actively monitored

Red Kite

Red Kites can often be seen being chased by crows. This image gained a Silver Award with the SWPP.

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Some Red Kite Chicks were fitted with wing tags and ringed they contain a unique identification number and colour coding which identifies where the chick was released and when. If I see a tagged bird I report it and often get sent the details back. This bird White/Blue 69 was one of a brood of three nestlings tagged at Park Wood near Oundle, Northants in June 2010.  It had also been recorded in a pre roost gathering at Fermyn Hall Park 7th October 2010.

Tagged Red Kite

The kite will adapt its diet according to local conditions – it is an opportunistic feeder and a scavenger – feeding mainly on carrion.  They can often be spotted in fields hunting. Here are two kites in a stubble field searching for Carrion.

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Kites are often seen chasing each other and flying in unison. This often takes place between pairs bonding, although sometimes there seems to be no particular reason for this, except for ‘play’ which may improve flying skills.

Red Kites Playing

The wing span of the Red Kite is between 5-5.5 Ft

Red Kite

Thank you for reading my post. http://www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk.

Little Egret

The little egret is a type of small heron with a body length of 56-61cm. It has white feathers with fluffy white plumes on its crest, on its chest and on its back above the tail feathers. The bill and legs are black, although its feet are bright yellow.

IMG_9578Little Egret with a catch!

It first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996. Its colonization followed naturally from a range expansion intro western and northern France in previous decades. It is now at home on numerous south coast sites, both as a breeding species and as a winter visitor. It is included on the Amber List as rare breeding species.

They feed by walking through the water and catching prey such as fish and crustaceans.

I am lucky that each winter we are graced with the presence of one or two Little Egrets in Letcombe. I often spot them in the Nature Reserve and at the Deer farm which has a water hole. They also spend some time on the cress beds at Letcombe Bassett.

These are shy birds and therefore difficult to get close to and photograph. I have sat for hours waiting to get shots of them fishing. Here are some of my favourite images of them.

Little Egret in flight

In flight

Little Egret

Little Egret LandingLanding at the Cress beds at Letcombe Bassett

IMG_6761Having a bath!

IMG_8112BWIn the mud at the Deer Farm

Little Egret FishingMid catch – look inside the beak!

Short-eared Owl

There are not many days that I do not take my camera out with me whilst walking the dogs and I am constantly on the look out for wildlife. One particular walk I do has given me the opportunity to photograph Short-eared Owls.

Short eared Owl

Short-eared owls are medium-sized owls with mottled brown bodies and have pale under-wings and stunning yellow eyes. They are commonly seen hunting during the day. In winter, there is an influx of continental birds (from Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland) to northern, eastern, and parts of central southern England, especially around the coast. They are an Amber List species.

Short Eared Owl Flight

Unlike many other owls, short-eared owls can frequently be seen hunting in broad daylight as well as in the early evening. They are skilled predators with keen vision even in low light and hearing accurate enough to pinpoint a small mammal in the undergrowth.

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Short-eared Owls hunt mainly at night and during the morning and late afternoon. They fly over open areas, a few feet above ground, and pounce when prey is found. In thick vegetation they will hover over prey, often for extended periods when facing into the wind, before pouncing. They occasionally hunt from a perch or while standing on the ground. Short-eared Owls eat mainly small mammals, but sometimes take birds. Meadow voles  are the primary prey and these can be seen caught in the images below.  Deer mice, shrews, ground squirrels, pocket gophers, pocket mice, moles, rats, bats, rabbits, and muskrats are also taken.

Short Eared Owl

Shorte Eared Owl Hunting

The images below were all taken in December, January or February I have not seen the birds in other months. The images were taken either early morning or just before sunrise. Sadly I have not seen any of these Owls this winter. This may be due to the wet weather we have been having in the UK.  They are amazing birds to watch and I feel honoured to have been able to capture them in the wild.

Shorte Eared Owl