Our Wild    Life

Nature photography by John Langley ARPS & Tracy Langley ARPS

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Diary 2016


December

On a lake in Snowdonia we found plenty of birds to photograph :-

Herring gull



Black headed gull



A female goosander flew in and kept a close eye on what we were up to








A family of mute swans swam closer, chilled out for a while then flew off









November

In 2014 we missed visiting the “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” poppy installation at the Tower of London, so when we heard that a portion of that display was going on tour around the UK we headed for our nearest venue. To mark the centenary of the First World War the Weeping Window sculpture was hosted in Caernarfon Castle. The sight of several thousand hand made ceramic poppies cascading from a high window to the ground below was amazing. The sheer number of poppies marking British and Commonwealth deaths in the war was a very moving and thought-provoking sight.







October

Earlier this year, in March, we visited the Isle of Mull to try some otter spotting. We couldn’t find as many otters as we usually do on this beautiful island so we returned to have another go this month.

Click on the image below to go to the Mull gallery.




Testing out a new lens, we came up with a different angle on the local Lewis Carroll sculptures :-



September

Last winter we enjoyed our time with the mountain hares so much that we planned to visit them again, this time in the summer. We spent a couple of weeks with these lovely characters.

Click on the image below to go to the Summer Mountain Hare gallery.



We were pleased to hear that John has been highly commended for his mountain hare image in the British Wildlife Photography Awards  The image has been chosen to be included in the BWPA 2017 calendar.



July

Seabird colonies are always lively places with plenty of birds to photograph so we headed up to the Farne Islands for a few days of frenzied camera work.

Click on the image below for a puffin bonanza :-



June

We’ve been photographing butterflies for many years now and when we looked through our archives recently we realised that we have seen almost all of the butterfly species in Britain. We felt a challenge coming on, so planned a trip to try to see the last 3 remaining species on our list.

Click on the image below to see if we succeeded :-



May

For several years we’ve wanted to see one of Britain’s rarest flowers. However we always seemed to be elsewhere during peak flowering time. The Lady’s Slipper orchid was declared extinct in Britain in 1917 but a single plant was found in Yorkshire in 1930. Thanks to several conservation bodies and projects working together the plant was protected and other plants have been re-introduced to several areas. Many of the areas are kept secret to protect the plants from plant collectors, but there are a few where the public are encouraged to see these beautiful plants. We spent a week up in Cumbria looking for orchids. At the start of our week the Lady’s Slipper orchids were still in bud but by the end of the week they were just starting to open up. We also found other orchids and interesting flowers & butterflies.


Lady’s slipper orchids growing by limestone pavement in woodlands




Early purple orchids


Birds Eye primrose


Green hairstreak butterfly


March

On the isle of Mull we had some lovely calm and warm days, but the otters played hard to get. Theories abounded about why many people weren’t seeing as many otters as usual. We had about 20 otter sightings in our 2 weeks, probably half the usual number, and often they were quite brief views rather than watching them fishing out at sea for hours on end. One idea was that the otters were predating the population explosion of frogs in the drainage ditches along the roadsides, so they weren’t out in the sea fishing as much. The poor frogs were having a hard time, as we also saw herons catching them.




On previous visits we’ve seen lots of otters on Mull but never found any otter footprints. On this trip we managed to find lots of footprints on one sandy beach but, despite a few long vigils, we didn’t manage to see the otter they belonged to.




We found an otter that we have followed many times before. She likes to squirm about in the seaweed. When we got closer we could see that she had a very recent injury to her nose.






We don’t know what caused the injury. Often it can be territorial fights with other otters, or the sharp pincers of crabs. However, it hadn’t put her off trying to catch crabs - we saw her bring a couple onto the shore to grapple with.




She was fishing well and very mobile, but a few days later we saw her limping around the shore, unable to put any weight on her back left leg. She must have been in another battle. We informed the local otter group who came out to take a look and were very informative about otter habits. They were happy no intervention was needed as long as she was able to fish. We watched her from a distance for the next few days, pleased to see that she was still fishing and hopeful that she will make a full recovery.  


February

We kept an eye on the weather forecast, looking for more snow on the Scottish hills. Just before we were due to travel to Mull a cold snap was forecast so we took the opportunity, whilst headed north, to spend another week with the charismatic hares.


Click on the image to see the extended gallery :-




January

We spent a couple of weeks in the north of Scotland. We were in search of mountain hares.


Click on the image to see the gallery :-





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