First of all to aid visitors of my website I am going to add another gallery to my photos section within the next few weeks. This gallery will be my latest photo additions to my website. The photos will be in this gallery for about a month, I'll post them at the beginning of the month, and then I will transfer them to their relevant galleries after that time. Doing this will save visitors having to view every gallery to see my latest uploaded photos, as long as they visit during the month.
My visits and recognisance of the river Tamar for Otters over the last few months has finally paid off. I have been informed by several people of sightings of at least two otters in a certain area. I have spoken to the land owner and have got the relevant permission to go on his land to photograph these wonderful animals. I will leave it a couple of weeks, due to my workload, and then I will be there on a regular basis, here's keeping my fingers crossed for the animals to still be there. If they are not then I'm sure I’ll find other wildlife in the area to photograph like Dippers, Kingfishers and grey wagtails.
I have also located Dippers in an area conducive to photography. Previously I have spotted and watched dippers in a lot of areas around where I live but the river banks are covered in trees with low lying branches. This tended to reduce light levels drastically and I need at least 1000th of a second to achieve what I want. As per all black / brown and white birds you have got to get the right light conditions to get the correct exposure. If it's too bright and sunny then the whites gets blown out and if you get the whites right, using exposure compensation, then you lose a lot of detail in the dark colours. Also if it is too bright you get a lot of burnt out patches on the water. A bright but cloudy day is perfect because it solves both these problems by bringing the contrast down to a reasonable level.
We have a wonderful new visitor to our area. I was out the other night walking my dog and a Barn owl flew over the hedge just in front of me. I immediately switched off my headlamp so that the owl can keep its night vision and watched it quarter the Field using the backlighting caused by the lights of Tavistock. (It can take nearly an hour for owls to get their night vision back for hunting) I knew we had resident Tawny owls, as I have seen and heard them on several occasions, but this addition is most welcome. I have since seen this owl regularly throughout the night but mostly very early mornings on my way to work. The only thing that has surprised me is that every time I have seen it, it has been raining and I had been led to believe that barn owls do not hunt when it's raining as it messes with their feathers and it makes hearing their prey harder. Then again with the weather as it has been if they did not hunt in the rain they would starve. I have a horrible feeling that it is going to be a bad year for barn owls with all this rain; I really hope I'm wrong.
I saw a really sad sight on Monday morning on my way to work. I drove through this village which has a 20 mph speed limit. The road is very narrow and at times you have to go very slowly, less than 10 mph, to squeeze between two vehicles, one parked on each side of the road. On one such time there was a squashed hedgehog! My immediate thought was how could this happen, if you have to go slow anyway can't you just stop and let the thing cross the road or was the person responsible in too much of a hurry or they couldn't care less about the animal! There seems to be less and less of these wonderful creatures and mindless road kill only adds to the tally. My second thought was, it's the middle of January, what on earth is a hedgehog doing up and about at this time of year as it should be hibernating. There seems to be some strange things happening this winter.
An exciting thing has happened to me and it is a dream come true. Apart from having other dreams come true like marrying my beautiful wife, owning a 500mm f4 lens and a Canon 1D X, www.canon.co.uk/and moving and living on Dartmoor in Devon, I am now the proud owner of 6 acres of land on the edge of Dartmoor. These 6 acres is comprised of 2 acres of paddock, 4 acres of broadleaf woodland and part of the river Tavy which includes the fishing rights. My ultimate aim for this land is to turn it into my own private nature reserve where I can photograph wildlife without someone coming up to me and asking “what am I doing?” This is the start of a long term project that, I hope, will be completed by the time I retire in three years’ time. When I say completed I'm talking about the basics. I know that this is a project with no end but I'd be happy with bringing the blue bells and other fauna and flora back that I know should be there. With this aim I have contacted the Woodland trust, www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ and the Devon Wildlife trust, www.devonwildlifetrust.org/ and asked for some advice. The Woodland trust replied that they cannot give me one to one advice but they sent me quite a few documents to read which will help with my aim. The Devon Wildlife trust is sending their representative out to meet me and discuss what I should, and can, do to encourage wildlife to the land. I have already seen numerous birds including:- Buzzard, Jay, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, Blue tit, Great tit, Goldfinch, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Crow, Nuthatch, Treecreaper and a Grey Wagtail. Animal wise there is a fox Earth on the edge of the paddock and apparently otters have been seen in the river. I am hoping to entice a lot more by planting “this” and taking out “that”. The “this” and “that” will be decided by the lady representative of the Devon Wildlife trust and what I read within the documents.
Finally, I thought I was very popular since joining Facebook, www.facebook.com/robin.stanbridge.1. I have lots of notifications and when I say lots it is well over a hundred every day. These notifications state that so and so has mentioned me in a comment. I immediately thought why are all these people, who I don't know, talking about me? Therefore I checked out all these notifications and it turned out that the people had posted photos of, and mentioned, Robin’s (the bird). Each time a person mentions “Robin” in a comment then Facebook thinks it should notify me! Therefore I am going to change my name to Jack. Please don't post on Facebook lots of photos of Jack Snipe!!!