More wagtails

The  River Dordogne at Beaulieu is quite similar in a way to the River Ure at Redmire Force. Fast flowing, shallow water over a variety of stones and rocks.

Here too, wagtails are in abundance, no doubt attracted by the insects hovering over the water. Today I’ve seen yellow, grey and pied wagtails. They seem to go around in small groups, so there are usually a small number together. This one’s a pied wagtail.pied_wagtailbeaulieu

As it happened, along came a Dipper, happily dipping into and out of the water  – very difficult to catch a photograph other than with tail sticking up out of the water. This was the best I managed. dipper_beaulieu


Catching movement

Modern travel zooms are really easy to carry with you, yet still have the capability to zoom in on birds from a reasonable distance. My Panasonic TZ80 has most of the capability of the hefty SLR system with largish 300mm lens that I used to lug around decades ago.

But they do have their limitations, and photographing hunting birds is one of them – always on the move, never staying still for long. It’s tempting to destroy the blurry shots that come out, but some are actually quite attractive, like these consecutive shots of wagtails taking off, using the TZ80’s rather slow ‘burst mode’ and standard auto exposure.

You really get the impression of movement. Here are consecutive shots of a pied wagtail taking off and then in flight.

And here’s a grey wagtail taking off and turning in the process.

The other thing about travel zooms is the complicated array of buttons and menu options – different ways of taking the photograph. I guess I could have used ‘creative video mode’ or ‘4K mode’, either of which could have probably given more and sharper frames, but that’s for another day – and the blurring does have its own attraction!

Redmire Force

The Wensleydale Railway runs between Northallerton and Redmire through green and pleasant Wensleydale in Yorkshire. Redmire is only a small village, but our tourist information indicated that there were waterfalls here, so we decided to seek them out. Not an easy task. There are no signs, so we had to resort to asking friendly locals where we could find them.

You go through the attractive village and down a countryside track for about half a mile, and suddenly find yourself in this beautiful and peaceful green oasis. The River Ure tumbles down through rocks and low falls into calm stretches banked by trees and sheep-mown grass.

redmire_falls_2Over the fields you can see in the distance Bolton Castle, indeed this riverside and footpath is a part of the Bolton estate.

Just one family was there on a Sunday morning, enjoying a paddle and play around the waterside. Walk along the path up by the falls themselves and you are on your own to enjoy the ambience, bathed in greenery and the sound of running water.

Caught one
Pied wagtail

Pied and grey wagtails flit between the rocks, feeding on insects accompanied by quick swooping movements. By contrast, black-headed gulls follow long gliding paths and sweep up their prey.

Of course, the river here is nowhere near as spectacular as at the more famous nearby Aysgarth Falls that attract the crowds, but the falls at Redmire are just as special in their own way. Relative inaccessibility contributes to their charm.

Tourist notes: The Wensleydale Railway is being extended to Aysgarth, at which point Redmire will probably have even less visitors. The Bolton Arms in Redmire does an excellent lunch.