Tuesday, 22 October 2013


I recently came back from a trip to the Cairngorms. We were only there 3 day, which wasn't ideal but I did learn a lot from the short visit. My main aim was Mountain Hare but due to the weather conditions I didn't get to spend as much time as I had hoped on them.

I spent one day going after Red Grouse which in previous visits resulted in seeing the rear end of them flying off. This time I used my car as a hide and drove up to them. Here are some fellow photographers trying it out. Don't think my car is really big enough for all of us but it worked.

Photographing Red Grouse using a car as a hide.

This was a much more effective way then attempting to stalk them, which I tried before. The car journey resulted in the following image.

Red Grouse Portrait

Red Grouse in the heather

Red Grouse in its environment


Red Grouse keeping an eye out

Red Grouse

Mountain Hare were much harder then I thought they were going to be and took me a number of hours before perfecting a way to get closer to them. I found it much easier in January when there was plenty of snow. Some hares are more tolerant then other and after seeing about 30 different hares, I found a few which stayed around for a bit. I am hoping to go back and spend a solid week on them and get better pictures. But for now here are a few that I managed to get.

Silhouette on the horizon of a mountain hare. Normal view I got.

Mountain hare tucked down in a scrape

Mountain hares sitting in the peat

Mountain hare grazing on the grass

 I also visited a Speyside dusk watch in hope of seeing a Pine Marten. Sadly it didn't turn up but did get some amazing views of badgers and deer under the spotlights. Due to the power of spotlights you had to shoot at 6400iso to get anything near sharp but it was an experience I wont forget. I can only hope that the government comes to their senses soon, listens to everyone and stop the ridiculous badger cull!

Badger under the lights

  • Try stalking Red Grouse but if your having no joy, try finding some along a road and drive up to them.
  • Be persistent with mountain hare, you will find one or two that wont run straight away.
  • Patience with mountain hare is key, the slower your approach the better and the more behavior you will see.
  • Use the landscape to your advantage if possible. Mounds, ditches and rocks are a photographs best friend when stalking wildlife, mountain hare especially.
Website: www.wildlife-photos.co.uk
Twitter: www.twitter.com/#!/Josh_Jaggard
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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Barn Owl, Purple Sandpiper and A Labrador

Today I went out to photograph a Purple Sandpiper, Great Crested Grebe and find a few more potential locations around Norfolk. I didn't find time in the end to photograph the Grebes due to my early morning encounter with a Barn Owl.

While out looking at potiental sites for photographing Marsh Harriers, I realised there was a Barn Owl hunting over the next field. So I took cover under a tractor, on the side of the field and watched the owl for about 20 minutes. I soon began to see its routine and behaviour: hunting up and down the reeds in the middle, then resting at the end of the field for a couple of minutes. I used this detail to get a closer encounter. When the owl was resting, I slowly moved and tucked myself into the reeds. After waiting a while the owl suddenly took off again and start heading along the reeds. This happened on a couple of occasions and allowed me to get these shots.

Josh Jaggard, Barn Owl
Barn Owl hunting

Josh Jaggard, Barn Owl
Barn Owl flying straight towards me

Josh Jaggard, Barn Owl
Barn Owl searching for food

Josh Jaggard, Barn Owl
Looked straight at me when my camera went off

Josh Jaggard, Barn Owl
Soaring Barn Owl

While this was all happening I suddenly caught sight of a Short Eared Owl in the next field hunting, but I couldn't leave because it would have scared the Barn Owl. This would mean it could be more cautious in the future, so I sat and watched.

After this unexpected encounter I went off to look for the Purple Sandpiper. I had seen it a week prior on a birding trip with Norfolk Birding. It didn't take long to find it again, hiding amongst a group of Turnstones. I positioned myself along the coastline and waited for the birds to come to me. The first time I did this, a Golden Labrador decided to jump on my back and scared off all the birds which was extremely annoying. Nevertheless I waited an hour and they returned and managed to get a few shots:

Josh Jaggard, Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper eating
Josh Jaggard, Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper portrait

Josh Jaggard, Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper

Josh Jaggard, Purple Sandpiper
Purple Sandpiper hiding

Josh Jaggard, Turnstone
Purple Sandpiper preening

Josh Jaggard, Turnstone
Turnstone eating

Josh Jaggard, Turnstone
Keeping an eye on me

Josh Jaggard, Turnstone
So overall not a bad day at all, shame I didn't get the Grebes, there'll be a next time. Don't forget to like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter
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  • Always take time to study the bird or animal's behaviour. It will pay off in the long run.
  • Check large groups of Waders because some of the time there will be a rarer species among them.
  • With Waders, watch their route along the shore and position yourself further along.  Have patience and they will come to you.
  • Always go on scouting days because locations change regularly.
Hope you enjoyed the blog,  more images to come soon.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Black-bellied Dipper

Website: www.wildlife-photos.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JoshJaggardPhotography

Today I went to photograph the Black-bellied Dipper which had been spotted again in Thetford. It was around for a month before Christmas then disappeared for awhile. It didn't take me long to find it, you cant miss the white throat dipping up and down in the water. It spent most of the day sitting on the bank and occasionally went into the water to feed. They are great little birds and not normally found in Norfolk.

This dipper is different to our resident white-throated dipper that we get in the UK. Its a subspecies which instead of having a brown chestnut belly, it has a black belly thus the name Black-bellied dipper. It is one of the continental species that breed in the north of Scandinavia and migrates south to escape the cold winters. The UK is sometimes lucky to get a few visitors each year. Norfolk is an unusual area for it to come, as we don't have any type of dipper in the county but I wont complain.

Here are a few shots from today and before Christmas.

Black-bellied Dipper looking up

Black-bellied Dipper portrait

Black-bellied Dipper

Black-bellied Dipper autumn colours

Black-bellied Dipper reflection

It was a good shoot and met some nice birders and photographers but it was ruined by a few. Two photographers turned up and had no respect for this bird. Their only aim was to get as close as possible and they didn't have any field-craft or care about the dipper. They spent 20 minutes continually getting too close and scaring the dipper further and further up the stream. This resulted in the stream ending and the dipper having to fly off down the main river where it had nowhere to land due to the height of the river.

  • Keep an eye out on local birding sites for unusual visitors.
  • Fieldcraft is essential to get close without disturbing. Today I studied the dipper, to see its favorite spots. Then when it flew elsewhere, I positioned myself appropriately and the dipper return after 5-10min. I was in good range and didn't need to move, meaning I didn't disturb it.
  • Still water makes for good reflections. So if you get a windy day, return on a calmer day and you can get some completely different shots.

Hope you enjoyed the blog, hopefully more images to come. Keep an eye on my facebook page for more: