Tuesday 17th July 2018 – Fen Drayton Lakes
So the intrepid SIPC explorers congregated at the RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes car park (near to the guided bus way). Armed with bug spray, cameras(some bigger than others) and enthusiasm Mark led us off into the wilderness. Waist high in vegetation we encountered thistles, Cinnabar Moth caterpillars, a variety of bugs and wildfowl. The mood was light hearted given the arduous nature of this expedition –walking, chatting, taking the odd photo, more chatting, a little learning about white balance. As the sun descended it’s warming radiance lit up our intrepid team bathing them in fuzzy pink light. A brilliant evening with great company and a fantastic lead as ever.
Tuesday 10th July 2018 – Photo Challenge – St Ives
The good news, no one got arrested despite the odd SIPC member looking in bins or lurking in doorways. The locals did seem confused as camera sporting individuals wandered backwards and forwards looking for the 30 items on Ian’s list. Occasionally a bemused look from a passer-by warranted an explanation. There was a good level of sportsmanship as members passed each other in alley ways or on the town quay. Tim Norman’s 35mm film camera proved a stumbling block as we couldn’t wait in the pub for several days whist the film was developed so he reverted to more modern technology. There were also some interesting poses, from those members who had selected a longer lens, for item 27 an interesting selfie. A huge congratulation to Alice Kendrick and Tony Coles who successfully won the challenge and a round of applause to third placed Tim Norman and Andy Rowley.
Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th July 2018- St Ives Electric Boat Trip
The Meander craft was waiting for us, it’s sleek lines hinting at the possible speed this electric craft was capable off. Tentatively we boarded as we waited for our captain to arrive. The mood of the mariners was jovial as we gently bobbed in the slight swell.
This jolly bunch then enjoyed two whole hours of lazily sitting in the boat on some very comfortable seats and watched the world go by. We saw more energetic types rowing, and less energetic types lazing with a small fire to keep themselves warm (or cook their sausages, we weren’t sure which!).One heron was so lazy, it couldn’t be bothered to fly
Tuesday 26th June – Houghton Meadows Walk
Eight members joined the Houghton Meadows walk on a beautiful summer’s evening. The meadow at Houghton had recently been mown and there was the delicious smell of hay in the air. One member who is a keen football supporter forewent the evening’s match to join us.
Tuesday 19th June – Raptor Foundation
A baker’s dozen intrepid photographers took on the challenge at the Raptor Centre of photographing fast moving birds in an ever decreasing light level. Hoping the forecast sunny spells would lighten the birds enough to capture some good shots.
The evening started with a tour of the centre for those who had not visited before or wanted a refresher telling us about the various birds being kept there. Those that didn’t follow the tour could wander round freely and take photos of any of the birds, those in the aviaries or those that were out on the half moon rails – of which there were a good number (11 including Bald Eagle, Chillian Blue Buzzard Eagle, American Kestrel, Lanner Falcon, Peregrine Falcon to name a few).. This provided an excellent start to the evening with a chance to get some real up close shots of the birds – when they would deem to look in your direction!
After about an hour and most had sated their thirst for the static birds, the flying display commenced. Light levels were still reasonable for the evening but the light cloud still held back the sunny spells forecast.
Owls were the flavour of the evening with a Turkmanian Eagle owl leading the display, followed by a Harris Hawk, an African Spotted Eagle Owl, Topaz the Tawny Owl then made an appearance though was a little shy and we finished up with Minnie the Barn Owl – who was probably the easiest to capture of the set due to the light colouring.
To round the evening off, there was a final chance to catch 3 of the larger birds on a post where the background was far off and could be easily blurred. Captain Scarlet (Batleur Eagle) was first up with his striking beak colouring – turns yellow when annoyed! – with Guillermo (Chillian Blue Buzzard Eagle) taking second and Dollar the American Bald Eagle finishing the evening off.
This was a much enjoyed evening with everyone having the opportunity to grab some great shots of the birds.
Tuesday 12th June – Godmanchester Meadow Walk
En-route, we paused at a number of locations and Karen would give us a quick potted history of an architectural feature or a building or an event that had occurred there in the past. All very interesting and added to the enjoyment of the evening.
The walk itself took us, from our starting point at the Bridge Car park on the Godmanchester side of the river, over the foot bridge to Huntingdon – from where we could admire the architecture of the main road bridge – and then onto Castle Hill where the mound of the original motte & bailey castle stood. Once over there and a few photographs had been acquired, we proceeded down a small passage from where we could cross over the water and onto the largest meadow in England, with the far side being over 3/4 of a mile away.Thankfully a bit of wind kept most of the insects at bay, though this did make macro photography difficult as it also kept most of the flowers on the move. Sunny spells allowed us to see the meadow in some glory with the various meadow flowers reflecting the evening light.
Once over the meadow, a return via the path down the side of secondary small island took us past the Chinese bridge and finally back to the road where a short walk returned us to the car park, whilst those in need of refreshments went to the water hole at the Black Bull pub.
Tuesday 5th June – Wicken Fen Walk
Our little band of 5 intrepid photographers braved an evening of sunshine and warm weather to see what they could find at Wicken Fen. They were delighted at the re-appearance of two Hercules craft seen the previous year but further off this time so good sunset shots with their presence couldn’t be obtained. We were lucky enough to see the sudden appearance of three F15 craft in an overhead fly past and some good shots were obtained by those with long lenses.
The hides this year were unfortunately rather poor in observable birdlife, but a number were heard including Cuckoo, Cetti’s Warbler, Pheasant, Cricket Warbler.
It was a very pleasant evening rounded off by some close views of Muntjac deer as we neared the car park.
Tuesday 22nd May – Paxton Pits
A fair size group of intrepid SIPC explorers braved the flying insects to wander the wilds of Paxton Pits. There was chatter, excitement from Alice about a rather large caterpillar and some unusual poses from Anthony trying to get that perfect shot. Tony was again sporting a mix of new and old lens and camera body and a number of members had obviously been working out given the size of lens they were transporting around with them. Sadly, no Nightingales singing but one member almost got a picture of a Kingfisher. A thoroughly pleasant evening in good company.
Tuesday 29th May – Houghton Trout Stream Walk
We congregated around the clock tower in Houghton, discussing robot lawn mowers. The clock struck seven and we headed off after Mark towards the river, with many members discussing the direction the walk was going to take. The light levels were not ideal, but Peter had worn a red ensemble should anyone need a focus for their images. The bridge over rapids afforded great views of the torrent but was rather shaky for long exposures but the intrepid band persevered and flowing water was captured. A thoroughly pleasant evening walking and talking, although the alpacas may have been somewhat alarmed at Bryan’s duck call.
Saturday 19th May 2018 – Great Fen Nature Reserve Learning Adventure – lead Alice Kendrick
What a fabulous morning. Not only was the weather glorious, the scenery stunning , the company very pleasurable but Alice’s knowledge gave us an insight into the myriad of flora, insect life and birds that frequent the fen. We saw cuckoos, orchids, numerous bugs and heard stunning bird song all ably identified by our lead. Together with tips and suggestions for shooting the different species including use of a diffuser and reflector, we all came away happier and wiser. There was even a brief discussion around quantum physics in the car park whilst waiting for out last adventurer to return.
Tue21Aug20187:30 pmSt Ives
An evening to let your hair down and just enjoy a social chat. Venue will be the Golden Lion pub on Market Hill, next to the church. It offers a wide range of food for those that wish to partake as well as a comfortable and relatively quiet environment so we can be sure to be heard whilst chatting.
Note the slightly later start time and that whilst we commonly finish at 21:00 due to light levels, I don't see this being a restricting factor for our social !
Hope to see you all there. Cemeras optional !
Meet at the bottom of the car park (entrance to the park) for a prompt 7:00pm start. Wander through woodland, round lakes and over meadows.
Main Lead : Hayley Howett
If anyone would like to take secondary lead for this event, please let me know at email@example.com with your name.