I had decided to visit Hoo Farm which is a small zoo located in Telford. They do have a number of captive birds and animals and they play an important role in conservation. I have visited the zoo on two occasions mainly to photograph wild badgers from a hide located within the zoo. There is a badger sett within the zoo where a group of badgers reside forming an underground network. Every Saturday the zoo organizes a badger watch from within the hide from 5pm to 8pm. There is also other wildlife to be seen as well like foxes however on both occasions, the foxes did not appear. The first visit was good as I got some good sightings of the badger and was the first time I had ever seen a badger.
Blakeney Point is a nature reserve in Blakeney village in the county of Norfolk. During the summer, many common seals assemble at Blakeney Point to give birth to seal pups. I had planned this trip a few months back and decided to visit in July. At the Blakeney Point, there are not only common seals but also Grey Seals and various seabirds such as Sandwich Terns and Oyster Catchers.
Leh, Ladakh is one of the most scenic and photogenic places in India. Leh was the ancient capital of Ladakh and now in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Leh has a lot heritage sites and monasteries and is mainly dominated by Buddhism. The best time to visit Leh would be between April to September. I have myself visited Leh 4 times. It is not only a place where people go for treks and expeditions but also a great place for sightseeing and interacting with locals. One word of advice when visiting Leh is to rest on the day of arrival since Leh is 3500m above sea level. One can get high altitude sickness so it is best to acclimatize slowly at this altitude.
North Berwick is a small town just 40 miles off Edinburgh and is definitely not as crowded as Edinburgh which is a good thing. Just off North Berwick are a few small islands such as Bass Rock and the Isle of May.
Isle of May is home to rabbits, puffins, guillemots, fulmars, eider ducks, oyster catchers, gulls and a few other birds. Sometimes you may spots seals basking on the rocks. Bass Rock island is home to gannets, the entire landscape of Bass Rock is colonized by gannets, over a million. There is the Scottish Seabird Centre which looks after the welfare of these birds mainly through the support of volunteers and they also organize boat trips to these islands.
Edinburgh in Scotland is a nice city with so much going on but with so many tourists, it gets very crowded. It is a good place to visit but if one wants to avoid the crowds, then the best time is in winter. It is a mix between traditional and modern architecture.
However there is lots to do for all age groups from kids to adults. This trip was mainly a family visit and was long train journey from Birmingham to Edinburgh. We stayed at self catering accommodation at Corstorphine which is a suburb of Edinburgh. Self-catering is a good option if one does not like to eat out all the time. Here it feels like you are at home even when on vacation. On some days we used to get a taxi but also there is good and reliable public transport which saves alot of money.
I had visited Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur last December of 2017. It is not very far from Noida, a 4 hours drive. However it took me over 6 hours to reach the guesthouse where I had arranged to stay due to some traffic congestion. I arrived just after 10pm where the owner was nice enough to provide dinner after settling in my room. I had stayed at Kiran Guest House for the next 4 nights.
Spring is a good time to photograph wildlife and nature and is a time when new life emerges. The Spring season can be full of surprises and this will provide good opportunities for the nature and wildlife photographer.
It is during one of these days I was out to capture some local wildlife at Sandwell Park in West Bromwich that I encountered Mallard duckling chicks. It was a great experience watching them at a close distance without scaring them away. Here is a selection of images I shot on that day.
After Mera Peak trek and climb, I still had a few days in Nepal so had decided to visit Chitwan National Park in Sauraha district. I wanted my trip to be different compared to what regular tourists do when they visit Chitwan National Park. I was wanting to arrange a walking safari within Chitwan. Rajan Khatri from Visit Himalaya Treks was very helpful in organizing this trip. I was set to stay in Chitwan for 3 nights.
After trekking and climbing for a number of years, I wanted to do something more challenging and opted to climb Mera Peak a 6476m peak in the Himalayas. However it is a non technical climb, it does require determination and endurance as one would be climbing in extreme cold temperatures upto -15C and at high altitude. I had organized a solo trek and climb to Mera Peak starting and ending at Phaplu.