Monday 27th October 2014
On Monday 27th October I woke up at 1.30am as we were going to set off early to travel up to Lancashire which is roughly 5 hours 20 minutes drive from my home. The reason for leaving early was so that I could get to RSPB Leighton Moss Nature Reserve for first light in hope to photograph the wildlife in the early morning golden sun. Unfortunately upon arriving at about 7am the weather was not as I hoped for, all overcast and light rain. The weather wasn't going to put me off so I got all my equipment together and headed off into the reserve. As we entered the reserve through the side gate, we were greeted by a jolly and very helpful lady called Annabel who worked there. She told us what wildlife had been spotted recently and which hides to see certain animals.
The first hide we went to was called Public hide and this is where Bittern, Water Rail and Otter had recently been sighted. After sitting in the hide for about 20 minutes, I was looking through my spotting scope when all of a sudden an Otter popped its head up out of the water and began to swim across the lake and dive back under the water every so often, the only problem was that the otter was too far across the lake for photographs and film even with my 500mm lens. We continued to sit in the hide for about 30 minutes to see if the Otter would come closer or the Water Rail or Bittern would appear. Everything was quiet when this loud pig like noise sounded, I knew it was the call of a Water Rail, but we only managed brief glimpses of the bird as it dashed across the reed beds.
We left the hide and headed off to the other hides on the reserve, unfortunately the weather wasn't great and not much wildlife was out in the strong wind and rain so we headed back to the visitor centre as I needed to meet a lady called Deby to talk about the plan for Tuesday and what time I needed to arrive and what I would be doing. On meeting her, she informed me that she had arranged everything for Tuesday. I also spoke to Brett Westwood who was going to be interviewing me on the Autumnwatch Extra red button show. The time was about 3.30pm so we left and headed off to the hotel where we were going to be staying for the night. ving we booked in and then headed up to our room. The first thing we did was to make a cup of coffee as we were really thirsty. We then all had a sleep as we were very tired after getting up early and travelling a long distance.
Once we woke up, we found a local Chinese in the leaflet so we decided to go there for dinner.....the food was lovely. After dinner we drove back to the hotel and decided to go to sleep as we were tired out and needed to be up early the next day for breakfast.
Tuesday 28th October 2014
We woke up at 6.30am, got dressed and started to get everything packed up ready to leave. At about 7am we headed off down to the restaurant to have breakfast. I had sausages, bacon, egg, toast and a mug of coffee and my parents had the same. The food was again lovely and I would certainly recommend the hotel to friends and family. Once we finished our breakfast we went back up to our room and watched the Autumnwatch live webcams on red button where Richard Taylor Jones was doing his morning show. Richard is one of my favourite cameramen and I like the style of his work.
At about 10am we left the hotel to travel back to Leighton Moss Nature Reserve to spend the day with the team before doing my live interview on the red button in the early evening. During the day I spent time with presenter Lindsey Chapman and cameraman Jez where we filmed some behind the scenes footage about what goes on - they were both helpful and gave me some good tips. The weather was very wet so we had to dodge the showers throughout the day.
At about 4 pm I headed down to Lillians hide and waited until my mum and dad returned from shopping. Once they arrived, both myself and my dad were then called into the studio to commence our interview. The interview took place with Brett - he played my video first which showed the red deer rut at Richmond Park and then asked me very good questions and I began to overcome my nerves and started to relax more. To see the interview in all its glory - visit youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91ymdXcnPQw&list=UUyPlSCehhpcGIpDrizoxoNg. Later in the evening we were invited to stay and watch Autumnwatch featuring Chris Packhan, Michaele Strachan and Martin Hughs-Games.
At 9 p.m. we were standing in the Unsprung studio where Nick Baker was doing his live show - Brett was one of his guests. If you look closely you can see me appearing in the audience.
Rather than stay in a hotel for the night, we decided to travel towards Norfolk so that we could get an early start the next day filming and taking photographs of the seals. When we were nearly there, we stopped to have forty winks - unfortunately none of us got much sleep due to the traffic and the church bell constantly chiming at every hour.
Wednesday 29th October 2014
Morning soon arrived and we traveled for about an hour and a half until we reached our destination and parked the car. We slowly walked up the hill until we came to the beach. The sea was crashing and the tide was in - seals could be seen bobbing in the water, but none were on the beach itself. Whilst photographing some Turnstones, this man came towards me and told me that there was a large group of seals further along.
I quickly grabbed my equipment and headed off leaving my mum and dad behind - the walk seemed to take ages, then all of a sudden there they were. Hurriedly I set up my camera and tripod and started filming - there was a group of at least twenty plus adults and two pups. I managed to take lots of shots and also video footage and the pictures can be seen below.
An end to a fantastic trip - please tune in again next month for another blog.
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