All Things Bright and Beautiful....

02nd August 2011
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Well that’s what the hymn says anyway and Saturday certainly was bright and beautiful.

As the crow flies I probably only live a mile away from “The Eyes” but I tend not to walk there these days, as I take too much stuff with me. So I loaded up the car and after a short drive I soon reached the first locked gate at Latchford Lock. From there it probably another mile driving along the bumpy unmade road alongside the Manchester Ship Canal. There’s always the chance of seeing something on this short drive, rabbit, fox, birds so with the camera primed and ready for action, off I set. Unfortunately I reached the parking area at the reserve entrance without seeing anything other than a couple of Great Crested Grebes and they were on the other side of the canal so too far away for a good photograph.

I quickly unloaded my gear and walked around to the footbridge over the bund that separates the reserve from the rest of “The Eyes”. Opening the gate I’m always filled with anticipation and the hope that I may see/photograph something unusual or scarce. I walked across the footbridge and couldn’t see anything on the bund a poor start as there’s usually something on the water. Up the bank and along the footpath to the first screen and hide and I couldn’t see anything on the water other than a solitary Coot and some gulls flying in the distance, not a good omen. No point in staying there then although there is always a good chance of seeing Water Rail from the hide.

Onto the meadows and still no birds and pretty silent apart from a Pheasant calling. I thought the colours of the flowers on the vegetation looked nice and there were plenty of butterflies to be seen flitting from flower to flower. Out came the other camera and I got really low down to try and exaggerate the size of the vegetation. I think I did that quite well and the purple flowers look good against the blue sky.

I took a few other photographs including the Thistles and some of the Butterflies.

The next thing that caught my eye was the number of insects flying around so I got the 100mm macro lens out to see if I could get any of these I had some success and captured one or two in flight, they aren’t super sharp but not bad. Trying to identify them is quite a challenge with various bees, wasps and hover fly to choose from. Apparently there are 270 or so types of hover fly recorded in the British Isles so photographing them might be a whole new challenge. Anyway I think I have managed to identify what I did photograph but I’m not confident and if any experts read this let me know if I identified them correctly.

On to the Rotary Hide that overlooks the north pool but nothing came close enough to photograph in the time that I was there. Next stop the John Morgan Hide, there is always something to be seen from this hide either on the scrape, the water, the feeding station or just flying over. Gadwall, Coots, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Tufted Duck were the birds of the day. Then a solitary Common Snipe appeared from nowhere and just about within shooting distance. The photos required heavy cropping but they don’t look too bad so I’ve uploaded some of them to the latest photo gallery. I also took some photos of a Peacock Butterfly with the 500mm lens that aren’t bad. I then had to leave the tranquillity of “The Eyes” and move back into the real world. Visiting Woolston Eyes most of the time is like having your own private nature reserve and you may only see a handful of people, if that many.


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