Roll on Spring/Summer, when stags are in velvet, bees are abundant and the sound of skylarks singing warms the heart…Rosemary Barnes, 15 February 2021
“So I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a lovely sunrise plus some hinds on the hill. As I had finally got around to buying a tripod, which arrived yesterday, I thought great, I’ll photograph those. Something made me look right and yippee! The stags had decided to pay me a visit! They hung around for an hour despite me letting my dogs out and we then watched them nonchalantly jump into our bracken bank before sauntering off into our woods. It’s not often you get to photograph deer whilst still in pj’s ( it was a bit nippy!) from outside the kitchen!”
By Pauline Richards
“This male lesser redpoll was outside my window just after 6am this morning, on the ornamental cherry tree. His colour patches matched the leaves! I’d like to think there is a female too, and they’re breeding around here somewhere!”
Fi Keene shared this story in our “We Love Exmoor” photo group – everybody is welcome to join this group on Facebook!
“A very close encounter with this healthy fox which is a resident where I go and take stag photos. I was held up a few metres from a pheasant so not to disturb it (they make a racket) and this fox came out of nowhere to catch it. It missed it by 1 metre but saw me and just stared at me. It walked off and didn’t much care I was stood there.”
The 2018 Photo Competition ran on our FB group back in May/June for four weeks. We had meant to turn the top 13 images into a calendar again, but simply ran out of hours in the day to get this organised. However, we now have a new project called “A Year on Exmoor”. More details will be revealed soon, just as the winners of the competition. The standard of entries have yet again been amazing and, in our eyes, every single one deserves to be a winner!
In tribute to Johnny Kingdom, the BBC are repeating three episodes of his wildlife programme. Here is the link to Episode 1, in case you missed it. The other two episodes are shown tonight and tomorrow night on BBC4.
Johnny Kingdom, gravedigger-turned-amateur filmmaker spends a year recording the bird life in and around his home on his beloved Exmoor.
Johnny has spent three years creating a wildlife habitat on his 52-acre patch of land on the edge of Exmoor. He’s been busy nailing nest boxes on tree trunks, planting a wildflower meadow, dredging his pond, putting up remote cameras and wiring them up to a viewing station in his cabin on the land – all the time hoping against hope that not only will he attract new wildlife but also that he will be able to film it.
This year he is turning his attention to the bird life, hoping to follow some of the species he finds near his home and on his land, across the seasons. We see the transitions from the lovely autumn mists of the oak wood, through the sparkling snow-clad landscape of a north Devon winter, into spring’s woodland carpet of bluebells and finally the golden glow of early summer. The bulk of the series is from Johnny’s own camera. Don’t expect the Natural History Unit – instead expect passion, enthusiasm, humour and an exuberant love of the landscape and its wildlife.
The series begins at the end of autumn, with Johnny clearing out bird boxes and sorting out his new remote cameras in preparation for the winter. There are two birds in particular that he wants to film – the great spotted woodpecker and the wren. But the harsh winter looks as if it could spell trouble for the wrens and it will be spring before Johnny knows how well they have fared.
He has better luck with the woodpecker and eventually finds their roost. Meanwhile, at home, he struggles to get shots of a mistle thrush as his wife Julie and his neighbours disturb this shy bird as it feasts on a rowan tree.
Here is the link to Episode 1 which was shown yesterday on BBC4 in case you missed it. The next two episodes can be watched tonight and tomorrow.
(Photo of Johnny Kingdom taken from his Facebook page)