I have always been passionate about wildlife and conservation and when not photographing people I can often be found out in the countryside and on nature reserves. Though we have of course lost species, we are lucky to still have such a diversity of birds, butterflies and insects in the British countryside. Many species are still under threat, but it is heartening to have met so many like minded people when out and about photographing the natural world.

You can contact me on 07866 316577 or via e-mail at info@mauricephotos.co.uk


Some wildlife links:
Michael Flowers birdwatching classes and walks
Yorkshire Butterfly Conservation
Yorkshire Dragonflies
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Yorkshire Nature Triangle
Yorkshire Mammal Group
East Yorkshire Birding Forum
Tophill Low Nature Reserve
Yorkshire Red Kites
North Cave Wetlands Nature Reserve
The Wild Bird Cafe - North Cave Wetlands
Paull Holme Strays sightings
Potteric Carr Nature Reserve
Hull Valley Wildlife Group
Spurn Bird Observatory
Mike Robinson Bird Photos
Vince Cowell Photography
Steve Mulligan Bird Photography
David Ware - Wolds Birding
Paul Ashton East Yorkshire Wildlife
Wold Ranger
Beetle Boy's Bio Blog
Rory Selvey (age 13) Wildlife Photography
Kill the Badger Cull
The Brown Hairstreak Blog
Africa Gomez Bugblog
Zilch - eliminating litter
Keep Britain Tidy

Next Photo Event dates to be announced...

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Wharram Quarry - testing my "new" Canon PowerShot G9 compact



The PowerShot G9 is quite an old camera nowadays (Canon are currently producing the G15), but solidly built and still very capable. Despite being a Nikon SLR user I have been fancying a G9 for a while and a late bid on ebay secured me one for a very good price.  You have all the manual exposure control of an SLR in a small package plus you can also shoot RAW files.  The macro capability is really useful, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm!  The focus does hunt quite a lot and you can focus sort of manually but it takes an age to do it so you are best wait for the autofocus to get there in the end. I shot at 80 iso today, mainly in RAW. Jpeg is usually fine but you end up having to twiddle with the exposure compensation or adjust your manual exposure for very light subjects so RAW makes life easier. Once you get up to 400 iso the images do get quite noisy and I'm not sure the image stabilization is doing much. However, the camera is quirky and you can work it hard making it do what you want it to do in the end. You miss shots you would have caught with an SLR, but it is after all a compact. I skipped between manual and aperture priority, usually with the camera dialled down to its minimum f8. At the wide end you also have a maximum f2.8, which is nice!

I paid a visit to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's splendid Wharram Quarry reserve today. I usually visit in May to see the Dingy Skippers but I have never seen it looking as glorious as it did today.  Completely carpeted with wild flowers and orchids, as soon as you walk through the gate butterflies are flying everywhere: Marbled White, Small Heath, Common Blue, Small and Large Skipper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. Jam-packed full of butterflies everywhere you looked and all very active in the heat too. Just like Brockadale, this place really lifts the spirits.

Bee orchid from RAW file nowt wrong with that

Bee Orchid

Taken as a jpeg, highlights washed out in background, could have rescued if a RAW file

also a jpeg, but it has done a better job here

Small Heath from a RAW file

Female Common Blue from RAW file

Not quite had time to lock focus with this mating pair. Camera would have got there in the end but they didn't stick around!

WQ_0478Pyramidal Orchid from RAW file

Common spotted orchid from jpeg

WQ_0434After you have seen this, overmown verges by the side of the road are even more depressing

Robin's pincushion from RAW

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Brockadale - excellent Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserve

Is Bill Oddie right, do Banded Demos remind you of fairies?

Brockadale near Pontefract is a little tricky to find, but well worth it when you do. The main part of the reserve is hillside and meadow carpeted with wild flowers and orchids. Standing in the middle of the wild flower meadowland, you could almost have stepped back in time to a greener and wilder England. We need more of this good stuff! These flowery slopes have never been ploughed though. This is my favourite kind of reserve and it reminds me of some of the hidden away chalk and wild flower reserves I have visited down in Hampshire and Wiltshire - last vestiges of some of our rarest butterflies. There are no hides here just paths winding through steep-sided meadow and woodland down to the River Went which bisects the reserve at the bottom of the magnesian limestone rock valley.  I spent quite a lot of time by the slow flowing river "going to town" photographically on the Banded Demoiselle population. I have never seen so many males in one place before, though females seemed to be outnumbered by around fifteen to one making the males' display flights even more competitive. Males were constantly involved in aerial dogfights and should a bronze green female appear she was pursued by, well everyone! There were good numbers of Marbled White and Dark Green Fritillary butterflies, plus Common Blues, Brimstone, Brown Argus, day flying Burnet and Chimney Sweeper moths. Orange Tips were still flying too, but then it has been a funny year.  Bird wise the usual warblers were present plus I had good views and hearings of Jay, a rarity here in East Yorkshire. Yellowhammers were calling for a little bit of bread and no cheese all around the reserve too.  I saw stoats along the stream and heard various plops into the water, Water Vole? There was also one very loud splash so unless they have crocodiles I can't explain it!  Dog walking is permitted (on leads during the breeding season) so the occasional dog poop left by "responsible" owners is the only slight negative. Ask any dog owner and they will all tell you how "responsible" they are! I only found one abandoned bagged up poop - a type of madness I will never understand - so, all in all, not a major problem at Brockadale.

To sum up, Brockadale is the perfect reserve for a complete immersion in natural nature as natural as you are going to get it and just off junction 33 of the M62. If you need to recharge your green batteries, this is the place. There is currently a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust appeal to purchase a piece of land to join up and further improve Brockadale, details can be found on the website here.

 Tricky to show what it is like, best have a visit for yourself

male large red damselfly

male banded demoiselle

male banded demoiselle

Roger, Roger.....Bogey at 12 o'clock 

more male banded demoiselles

a horse 

five spot burnet moth

male banded demoiselles

male banded demoiselle

is it art, is it out of focus? :)

you guessed it!

brown argus

and finally a bumble bee

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Green Beetles


These little beetles by Pocklington Canal. My first thought was that they might be Tansy but they are more likely Mint or Green Dock Leaf beetles. If I don't know and you don't know and you don't know and I don't know? Banded Demoiselles showing well but not close enough to photograph.







Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Orange Tip Retrospective


Looks like the Orange Tip's slightly later than usual flight season is over. Once again the speedy males have defeated me. I have been trying for several years to get a nice, close wings open shot of an Orange Tip but they always evade me. I was just setting up a shot on a pristine male early one evening, settled on a leaf at head height, when a Brimstone bumbled past and the Orange Tip launched itself upwards for an aerial tussle. There is always next year!