Tag Archives: Wildlife; Nature

Wild Flowers & Stuff


Some of you may recall that I recently revisited my local wildlife stomping ground only to find that the local Council workers had moved in and chopped everything down,  and dredged up all the silt at the bottom of the water, that contained all the larvae, eggs and what not of the local insect life. I was most disappointed but, I know it will come back in time. Whilst I was there I was met by a really nice guy and his wife, his name is Rob and he is a volunteer who tends the wild patch. He basically, from what I can tell, keeps the place generally tidy by litter picking, and the odd bit of pruning here and there. Whatever he does, he does it very well and I and the local Flora & Fauna thank him. Anyway, we got chatting and before long I realised that this chap had a great in-depth knowledge of wildflowers. He asked me if I had seen the wild Orchid in the meadow, I told him I hadn’t and he started to explain where it was and how I should find it. The he suddenly said…Oh come on I’ll show you, he asked his wife if she minded and we left. We had to walk only about 500 yards or so to the meadow (thats the polite word for the couple of acres of scrubland, that is full of wildflowers).  Finally amongst a whole bunch of grass and stuff, there was this beautiful flower. It wasn’t what I had expected because I didn’t know that Orchids grew in this shape.  Rob  went on to explain that he hadn’t managed to identify it yet, that he thought he knew all the Orchids but he couldn’t name this one.  I thanked him for his time and I took a couple of pics.  Before he left he said oh by the way, on the other side of the road as you come in there is a another smaller stretch of wild area with a pond that hasn’t been disturbed for ages, you may find your Dragonflies and Damselflies there.

So that was quite a few weeks ago now and I really have been bogged down and haven’t had the opportunity to go there until Sunday past.  Imagine my joy to see simply loads of insect life abound, including some beautiful Dragonflies. I am hoping to get down there and spend a little longer next week, I shall keep you posted.

Un-named Wild Orchid
Un-named Wild Orchid

And then just one pic of a Southern Hawker Dragonfly from the other wild area.

Southern Hawker

Hi to my friends


Hi everyone, as you will be well aware, once again I am guilty of NOT posting to my blog on a regular basis. There are so many of you out there that I follow who are able to post every day! I only wish that I had the same…..whatever!

This time I have plenty of good reasons, but that is no excuse for not dropping the odd line now and then, and I am sorry for that.

Most of the time I have been attempting to get a website up and running. Somewhere, where clients and prospective clients could go and take a look at what it is I do. I have finished part of it and published, but I feel I should have waited a little longer and added more content before publishing. But what is done is done.  I would appreciate it if you took a look and I would welcome your feedback.  You can find it here http://www.magphotopix.co.uk .

I finished the photo shoot for Queenie May the young girl singer I told you about, and a shoot that I did last year for another album was for a singer named Robert Garney. That album is due out next week. And then last week I spent an evening shooting a heavy metal band named DeadManSugar. Talk about tough lighting conditions. I think the lighting crew had two scenarios, On or Off!!

It was very difficult for me, and a long time since I have shot any kind of concert or performance.

I had an enquiry from an old client who is a serial entrepreneur. In the past I have shot antique wristwatches for him, then he started a Sola Panel company and now his latest venture required my photo skills. He rang me to say that this was urgent and he needed me to shoot between 8 and 10 models for his new website and business.  As it happens, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule and I had to politely refuse, but I passed him on to a fellow photographer – who as it turned out was also too busy. Imagine my surprise, when he sent me an email to tell me that the site was up and running and he gave me the address. It is an ESCORT AGENCY! The actual photos of both male and female straight and gay, are actually very good. The photographer he found in the end does nothing else except shoot glamour pics, and I must say that the photos are really very tastefully done.  But when one starts to read the text on the site it soon becomes very clear what it is he is selling. When he rang me to ask my opinion I called him a Pimp! I said it in a half hearted kind of jokey way, but I meant it just the same.  Needless-to-say, he was not amused and proclaimed his businesslike enterprise as being very much a service industry.

I am pleased that I didn’t do the shoot. Firstly, I have no experience in that genre and the pressure would have been to much. And secondly, it’s not a side of photography that I personally would enjoy, give me the outdoors and nature & wildlife every time. And I will leave the glamour stuff to those who are good at it and enjoy their work.

My Local Stomping Ground

As many of you will know I have been away a lot this year shooting wildlife and nature from the comfort of our new Caravan, hence I hadn’t visited my local wildlife area for a number of weeks. Imagine my surprise when I visited last week and found that people had been down there and ‘tidied’ up!  Not only have they removed 90% of the reeds growing naturally in the water way, they have also poisoned all the Budleia which the butterflies absolutely adore. They have also, dredged the waterbed and dumped all the silt on the banks. Unfortunately, I didn’t see one Damselfly or one Dragonfly. No butterflies at all, whereas last year I took one photo of 7 butterflies on one bush!  As a fully paid up member of my local Wildlife Trust I immediately got on the phone to enquire who had wreaked this havoc on the local wildlife. Yes it looks very pretty down there now, all the nettles cut and carted away great for people to walk their dogs and drag their kids, but nowhere for the insect life and the Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers to build their nests.

The charming young lady I spoke to at the Trust was as alarmed as I was and said that she would investigate and come back to me with an explanation. Watch this space I guess.

Taken in November 2011
Photo Taken in November 2011
One stretch after cutting and dredging
The only sign of wildlife

 

Save our Song Birds


I know that I have mentioned the illegal trapping of songbirds in Cyprus before.  However, I have received today the following YouTube clip which really is barbaric. I have also included on my blog a place where you can sign a petition to stop this slaughter. If you wish you could also put the petition onto your blog and we could get even better coverage of this hideous practice and do some small thing to save some of our wildlife for the future.

Check out the YouTube clip here:  Slaughter in Cyprus

Natures Detectives


English: Pond at Magor Marsh Nature Reserve Mo...
Image via Wikipedia

I know that it has been over a month since my last post here and I feel pretty guilty. That almost sounds like the beginning of a Catholic confession! But I promise you dear reader, I do have some genuine reasons. One, I have been ‘enjoying’ bad health, two I am my wife’s main Carer and she will always come first and three, there was a surprise birthday party for me organised by my number 2 son Jozif. I hate surprise parties, but as this was a special one (Big 70) I kind of accepted the surprise, and I was pleased that I did.

Jozif is a DJ and Music Producer and he flew back from Tunisia – where he had a gig – especially for me. He also organised his two brothers, who in turn had to juggle their diaries to be there. We had the small dinner party at home, Jozif and Oliver stayed on for a couple of days, Ben the eldest had to leave because of baby duties. He made me the proud grandfather for the third time with the gorgeous Lilly-Mae recently. Next Oli had to leave to take care of business at EMI Records where he manages the design department, and then Jozif shot off to Madrid for his next gig!

So all in all, a pretty hectic time.

Today was a beautiful Winter’s morning the sun was strong, the sky was blue with some lovely fluffy white clouds and there was a fierce chill in the air. However, I had signed up for a morning’s seminar/workshop with the Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT), at the nearby Magor Marsh Nature Reserve. The reserve has been there for a while now and it is really making a name for itself, unfortunately I don’t get to go there as often as I would like.  This morning’s session was entitled Nature Detectives. It was delivered by a charming and very knowledgeable chap named Chris Hatch. Chris brought a few examples with him of things one is likely to find in the countryside and went into great detail to explain what they were and why they were important etc. The items included a large mollusc  which was a Swan Muscle, found in freshwater and in the reens  at Magor Marsh. Reens are small shallow field drains or ditches, but in Wales they are known as Reens.  He also showed us a the breast bone (Sternum) of a Pigeon which he had found beneath the nest of a Peregrin falcon and finally the skull of a badger.

After spending about 20 minutes in the classroom the small gathering followed Chris out onto the Reserve to see what signs we could spot. and where we should be looking for signs. We were lucky to be able to spot signs of both Otter and Fox. We walked on to the Hide where we spotted a number of Teal and a Crested Grebe, not a fantastic display I admit, but all the same some good explanations from Chris and also the signs of Badger just near the Hide.

Finally on the way back Chris pointed out some grassland that he said was the ideal habitat for Snipe, so while we stayed on the path Chris walked through the grassland to see if he could ‘walk up’ some Snipe.  Sure enough with two minutes of him walking onto the land up flew the recognisable zig-zag flight of a common snipe.

So an enjoyable two hours spent at Magor Marsh Wildlife Reserve in Monmouthshire.

The Nature Detectives follow Chris Hatch onto the Reserve

Magor Marsh Nature Reserve (Gwent Wildlife Trust)
Image via Wikipedia

Common Snipe
Flushed Common Snipe