Posts tagged sunset
Part Two -
The farm was our base and where we called “home” for our week on Skomer and it was from here that we’d go to work and set about exploring every day.
Living with the other volunteers and sharing the jobs on the rota as well as the living space with them definitely made us more considerate of people and resources that we usually take for granted (e.g. endless supplies of food, water, gas, electricity, etc). We were privileged to see a more rustic island lifestyle when we were invited over to Skomer’s ‘sister’ island, Skokholm, for a day. (Skokholm blog to follow.)
The Farm accommodation
In the evenings after dinner we’d go for a walk to see the sunset, which was made all the more magical by the fact that we practically had the island to ourselves.
Sunset from Garland Stone
These times would present perfect photo opportunities as the thousands of resident rabbits would start to come out and hop around more obviously.
The endless blanket of red campion flowers broken up by patches of bracken and lichen-covered rocks would be beautifully lit up by the sun. One evening we decided to walk north towards Garland Stone to watch the sunset and were delighted to spot the short-eared owl out hunting .
Red campion at sunset
We loved the tranquillity of Skomer and the variety of wildlife we saw. Quite quickly we found that we were familiar with where some of our favourite birds and animals would hang out.
Little owl at the wall
We’d always see the pair of little owls on the wall near South Field for example, and we’d often see grey seals, diving gannets and porpoise when we looked out to sea at Pigstone Bay and Skomer Head. Likewise, you’d often find the warden and assistant wardens together after all the work was done beer in hand and all us volunteers catching up in a similar fashion, having a laugh in the communal kitchen.
Grey seal getting a good look at us
Aside from the friends we made, the one clear highlight to our trip was seeing the island completely transformed at night. Our days were typically spent hearing the constant “cawh” of gulls with competition from several shrieking Oystercatcher families but a few hours after sunset a new, indescribable bird call surrounded us and got louder and more frenzied as the darkness fell.
Manx shearwater night flights and calls
The call was made by the Manx shearwater, to whom Skomer is home to nearly half of the world’s population (150,000 pairs) breeding in rabbit holes. Their remarkable story really makes you appreciate all the effort their night calls encapsulate. They are known to migrate to the South Atlantic after fledging, staying there for five years before returning to breed back at the same burrow they are born in.
During the early evening we’d see thousands of them gracefully cutting through the air over the water, but come nightfall as they’d flock to the burrows to breed/ feed their chick, we’d see just how ungainly and vulnerable they are on land as they lolloped around trying to find their nest out of sight of preying gulls. (The unlucky ones can be seen as “angel wings” dotted all over the island in the daytime.)
Skipping over all the toads that come out at night on the paths and ducking out of the way of shearwaters flying above us and dropping out of verges in the darkness is a strange and kind of jumpy experience. We’d definitely advise keeping your eyes peeled for the luminescent dots of glow worms along the path edges when you first go out at night rather than as it gets darker and the shearwater’s start to take hold.
Toad out at night
We loved our time on Skomer as volunteers for the week. It was an adventure of a life-time that gave us some amazing sights and sounds to remember, not to mention meeting some fantastic people to share it all with. All in all, it really was puffin marvellous!
RSPB Minsmere is a nature reserve in Saxmundham where visitors can see the huge range of birds that pass along the Suffolk coast. You may have heard of Minsmere from BBC Spring watch / autumn watch program, the presenters are often visiting the reserve. We thought we would give the place a visit last November (2011). The weather was off and on, still very mild for this time of year so we booked a hotel near Minsmere and set off on the 3 hour drive from our house.
We set off late so only got to Minsmere about an 2 hours before sunset, we parked up and went straight to the visitors centre. Map in hand we walked to one of the hides and sat down, within 5mins we saw a Hen Harrier
Hen Harrier – Once predating free-range fowl, earning its present name, its effect on the number of grouse available to shoot is the cause of modern conflict and threatens its survival in some parts of the UK, particularly on the driven grouse moors of England and Scotland.
If you click the photo you might just be able to see the Hen Harrier.
Starling Murmuration – During autumn, dark clouds begin to form in the sky above fields, woodlands and reedbeds. But these are no ordinary clouds. They are one of the UK’s most incredible wildlife spectacles.
As it started to get darker we began to see the starling roost begin, quite a big gathering of starlings to watch flying around the sky in tight formation. Once the starling action had calmed down we set off to the pub.
We got up nice and early in the morning for first light, it was well worth rolling out of bed at 6:30. Beautiful clear skies to photography.
For All the landscape photos I used a Nikon 7000 with Sigma 10-20mm lens, sitting on a bean bag.
Over the few hours we spent at Minsmere we spotted more Hen & Marsh harriers, water rails, red deer (see below), starling roost any many more different birds.
Red deer spotted in the morning crossing the marsh land.
Minsmere is an amazing place to visit, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the amount of wildlife and habitats it offers. To find out more take a look here http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/m/minsmere/ you can also Follow Ian on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RSPBMinsmere
We plan to visit Minsmere again in September 2012 – Keep you posted.
Late October 2011 we visited the Peak District, we invited my mum and sister along for the trip. My sister Charlotte is getting into photography so I thought she would enjoy a mini photo trip. We drove up to Padley Gorge first, beautiful place. Padley Gorge is one of the finest remaining examples of the oak/birch woodland once characteristic of the edges and valley sides of the Dark Peak. The woodland mainly consists of sessile oak and birch with alder along the stream side and holly and rowan scattered throughout the remainder of the wood. I would recommend you get there early as it gets busy.
I tried a few long exposures but the light wasn’t great at 12:30 in the afternoon. After a nice walk around the gorge we went for a pub lunch and killed some time before a walk up Curbar Gap for the sunset.
Sunset at Curbar Gap
We watched the sunset then it was back in the car to try and find our accommodation for the night.
In the morning we had breakfast then travelled down the road to Bakewell to do some photography near the river.
I captured this shot and processed it to make it look old, matching the old village bridge.
After some more photos it was off to sample the famous Bakewell tart (they like to call it bakewell pudding)
Very nice weekend, not a great deal of photos to show for it, but a good time for all of us.
Below are some of the Sunrise and Sunset photos taken from my trip to south India.
Photo below Taken on backwaters of Kerala.
Marmalade Skies is available as a limited edition print, please visit Matt Debouge Photography
Photos Below taken at Fort Cochin
Photos below taken in Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari
To see more photos check Matt Debouge Flickr account