What has been particularly frustrating for me is, having located what seems to be a reasonably good location for Mountain Hares, I have just not been able to get back there. If the weather is poor where I live then you can guarantee it will be doubly dire in the hills.
So given the general lack of action I thought I would delve into my hand drive and catch up with some processing of images that I never got around to sorting out last year. The folder marked 'Wirral Purple Sandpipers' looked a good place to start on the backlog and so this what this post is about.
I am fortunate to have some Purple Sandpipers present during the winter months about 2 minutes from my home. The photography is undertaken at high tide when the birds sit out and roost on the sea defence rocks and groynes over the high water period. So it is easy when some free time coincides with a high tide and half decent light to pop down the road for a quick half an hour session. Having said that these rock areas are not as reliable for photography as they use to be after a large inaccessible floating pontoon for boating was installed on the local marine lake and where large numbers of waders, including the Purple Sandpipers, now frequently sit for their high tide roost. However, there are benefits for the birds, which is important, as they now have a peaceful place to rest and preserve their precious energy reserves in the winter away from careless dog walkers and kite surfers. Of course being so local it is no big deal if the birds are not present on a particular visit as you know will encounter them at some point on a future one.
A wing stretch
I would really urge photographers to try and learn the good photography locations for their local wildlife. Being local allows you to undertake frequent visits, even if they are brief sessions, which helps develop a good understanding of the behaviour of a particular animal or bird species and how different photo opportunities present themselves with the changing seasons. It also allows you to concentrate your efforts towards certain species which brings its own rewards and benefits and is with time often reflected in the resultant images. The more time you spend with a particular species the more likely you are to capture a special moment or light conditions.
Anyway I digress, back to the Purple Sandpipers. These are a bird I love to photograph. There is something visually very appealing about these birds, the white edged feathers, the very slight purple shimmer to the in the right light, the orange beak and feet all packaged up in a slightly dumpy looking wader. They also share a similar trait to Turnstones in that they are not particularly bothered by the presence of a photographer, especially if you approach them slowly and carefully and sit with them quietly. I consider myself very fortunate to have these birds so close to home and it being relatively easily to spend some time with them during the winter months.