Halcyon days and short nights
A few weeks ago, my young friend and gifted wildlife photographer Rory Selvey, invited me along to a well-hidden badger sett in the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds. We sat there together with his mum and grandmother in the fading light waiting for a badger to appear. We spoke to each other in hushed tones as we watched and waited for these beautiful creatures to appear. After about an hour, a badger poked its head above the tall nettles, sniffed the air and swiftly disappeared. That was it. The moment was all too brief and neither of us dared to press the shutter to capture the moment as we didn’t wish to alert the creature and spoil the moment for each other.
A couple of nights later I returned to the sett alone. Once again, I waited for an hour or so and the inevitable happened. A badger appeared, sniffed the air and promptly disappeared. This time I did click the shutter and got two reasonable exposures. I felt guilty that Rory wasn’t there too and I’d like to thank him for sharing the location with me. I decided to leave them in peace and have not returned. I do hope they have a long and happy life!
Back at the ranch, the local wildlife at Tophill Low appears to be flourishing. The common terns have made a temporary peace treaty with the black-headed gulls and are now sharing one of the floating rafts. The terns are always fun to photograph as they reel, spin and dive into the lake for a small fish before returning to the raft.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to spot a fox cub or two as they practice their hunting skills amongst the tall grass and nettles.
A pair of Roe deer I’ve been observing for a few months are both looking healthy, resplendent in their new summer coats.
The local raptors are busy as well and I have been lucky to get some clear photographs of Barn owl, kestrel and yesterday evening, a splendid male sparrowhawk.
I’ve also had fun watching the whitethroats and sedge warblers collecting food to feed their respective families.
Last but not least, several kingfishers are taking advantage of the warmer weather and delighting everyone with their colourful presence. Richard Hampshire (the local warden at Tophill Low) even constructed a humorous perch over at North Marsh which has become particularly popular venue for kingfishers and photographers alike.
I watched and photographed this beautiful male kingfisher attempting to dismantle Richard’s handiwork…
Well, that’s it for now. I’m off to the Norfolk Broads for a few days next weekend to capture some of their wildlife residents. Meanwhile, please watch this space for a very special posting on Wednesday 26 June!