Birds of Dark Peak

The bird pictured above is Red Grouse. We heard them first. I took my kids to climb Stanage Edge from Upper Burbage before the snow came. We kept hearing those croaking sounds and I really thought they were made by frogs! It is nesting season and the male grouse  has really bright red spots on both sides of the head. While its colour blends exceptionally well with dry heather the eyebrows really stand out. From time to time they burst into a short flight and when one did quite close to us we knew then these were no frogs, but birds we have never seen or heard before.

This gentleman was dueling another gentleman, 5m from the road. This is a car window shot! Luckily they did not escape and my camera with the telephoto lens on was lying next to my seat, switched on (I always keep it on) and without the lens cap. Wikipedia says the Common Pheasant is of Asian origin and was introduced worlwide as a game bird.


Boundary Wall

1/15 s at F/8, ISO 400, focal length: 84mm, 
Photographed with Canon EOS 7D, EF70-200 f4L tripod mounted



1/320 s at F/4,6, ISO 400, focal length: 200mm, 2013:03:23 18:53, Peak District National Park,
Photographed with Canon EOS 7D, EF70-200 f4L, handheld

Finally we have internet access so I will post more regularily. After a few weeks of ocasionally fair weather that smelled like spring, we were brought back to winter with heavy snowfall (heavy for this part of the world). We had 16 cm of snow overnight here, and higher parts of Sheffield surely got more. As no one here uses winter tyres, that brought the city to a halt. Feeling lucky (winter tyres) and adventurous I drove to Upper Burbage Bridge in Peak District hoping to photograph grazing sheep. Just past the border of the park, where the snowplough turns back I spotted a couple of range rovers parked (no winter tyres there) and sped on. I was followed by a LR Defender and thought they might help if need be. It was very windy up there, the road was swept clean ... untill I noticed that all snow accumulated close to the bridge parking where I was heading. It was a matter of maintaining enough speed :).
I spent some time photographing the snow and sheep, but was getting anxious about the prospect of getting back home as it was getting late.
First attempt to drive through the driftsnow was futile. I managed to back up using my own ruts and reversed a big stretch to gain more speed. This time it worked, though with wheels skidding all time. On the way back I found fantastic snow formations behing the stone boundary walls that abound here. I will post it here tomorrow.
Forgive me the motorist theme of this post but that is always part of the story - getting to locations. You can't take such pictures from the comfort of your living room.


The Journey

National Railway Museum, York. Royal trains collection