News of another successful Client WILDlife Photography Experience hosted at Wildlife Photography Hides, Pond Hide near Bourne, Lincolnshire.
.... and also, a brilliant idea for an amazing Christmas present for a loved one, relation, friend or any other deserving festive recipient!
Every season brings something different at this fabulously well designed location, owned and run by wildlife champion and enthusiast, Tom Robinson.
As Autumn arrives in all its splendour, my Client was looking forward to this his second visit, having previously enjoyed a lively springtime experience earlier in the year.
We had missed seeing the local Otters last time, but with heavy rain and flooded murky local waterways making feeding tricky for the Otters, it was barely dark before we were scrambling to see this early arrival, tucking into the ponds welcome supplementary feeding opportunity.
These night time close up views are thrilling whether you are looking through the carefully located, water level glass of the wood-burner warmed hide, or excitedly through the viewfinder of your camera.
We also had visits from two different Grey Herons, both seeking a tasty midnight feast and whilst the Tawny Owls managed to steal their supper whilst we weren't looking, here's a few shots from a previous visit to illustrate what can be seen if you have eyes in the back of your head - ha ha!
The real beauty of Tom's Pond Hide is that a 24hr stint gives you both exciting and unique nocturnal wildlife views, but also the earliest of dawn starts to the daytime session.
The local dominant male Kingfisher often doubles up as an alarm call as he 'peeps' his mid-flight call over the quiet surface of the pond to land near the hide, seemingly demanding his breakfast.
This individual and his mate (see pic below from May this year), have successfully raised at least 2 broods this year, supported not least by the additional feeding provided for their (and therefore their observers) benefit.
The springtime colours (above) have been replaced now with the soft warm glow of Autumn (below). I love the natural setting that Tom has delivered, making photographing these incredible little birds a joy all year round.
It wasn't long into the morning before both my client's and my own camera shutters were firing away, as we attempted to capture the perfect moment in the Kingy's dive into the open pond for food, from a perch just in front of the hide and back up onto the perch, to dispatch and consume its meal.
Time and again this tireless little creature gave the excited photographers a chance to capture the action. With careful set up and a bit of shared experience we both came away with some cherished memories.
Many people I meet, say they've never seen a Kingfisher and ask "how close do you get?" when photographing them?
Occasionally VERY close I tell them ... and here's a short video from this visit taken with my iPhone, to illustrate the point!
If this wasn't enough (and it really was!), the end of the session held perhaps the perfect ending to a magical 24 hrs.
There are three 'aspects' from which to view wildlife at the pond hide. One over the pond, another to the rear to view Owls and other night time visitors and then a third perspective towards a hedge line and some feeders, for Woodpeckers, small woodland and 'garden' birds.
This buzz of feeding activity, can sometimes attract the attention of visiting Sparrowhawk predators, ambushing the feeding birds if they can, then landing on a patch of raised grass and perches, put there with just that scenario in mind, by Tom.
I love it when a plan comes together and having set up wildlife viewing points on my own land, I know how thrilling it is when your plans, patience and persistence pay off!
I was truly delighted for my Client then, when I spotted a beautiful male Sparrowhawk, perched behind the long grass bank and virtually glowing in the late afternoon light, just waiting for us to stumble around as quietly as we could to capture the moment.
What an amazing end to a super 24 hours of wildlife experience and .... here's a thought we had sitting in Tom's hide comfortable (for this is unusual in itself) surroundings ... wouldn't it be great if you could 'gift' this experience to someone special, perhaps at Christmas, as a Birthday present, or even as a 'perfect thank-you' to someone who is deserving of a treat?
In my opinion, whilst there are some other very good wildlife viewing set ups in the UK, Tom has created one of the most comfortable, professionally presented places to enjoy a close-up and personal encounter with great British wildlife.
So ... here's the best gift idea ever ... whether the person you have in mind is already a keen wildlife photography enthusiast, a relative beginner looking to learn how to take that corking 'professional' shot, or even an absolute beginner with no camera kit, but would love the have a go with my equipment, then this is the gift experience for them.
With Tom's support, I can offer either the full 24 hr wildlife photography experience or a shorter daytime session, (with my own support and coaching included), to make this gift as exciting as we found it to be this week.
I can also work on your favourite photo of the day in post production and deliver a beautiful print to hang proudly at your home to remind you of the day, (prices for this service are variable depending on size, framing options, finish required etc)
Of course, if the 'gift' is for you and you would like to book yourself in, then that's fine too!
Details can be found on the 'Book Online' page of my website; alternatively simply call me on 07778-998473 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you or your secret 'gift recipient' booked in anytime from now, through to 2020 and beyond!
Looking forward to hearing from you soon!