At 6.00am on both Saturday 8th and Tuesday 11th April, Nature Group Members gathered in the centre of Upavon, Wiltshire to meet up with Robert Harvey and Alan Benson, who were our guides for a morning of wildlife photography on Salisbury Plain. Fortunately the weather was very good on both mornings. (Barn Owl by John Mullin ARPS; Female Kestrel by Bruce Kendrick ARPS)
The use of Salisbury Plain as a military training area has protected much of it from development and intensive agriculture. The result is that the Plain is now the largest area of unimproved chalk grassland in north-west Europe and home to many rare and iconic species including the Great Bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird. After an absence of over 150 years, Bustards are now living freely on the Plain once more, thanks to a reintroduction programme by volunteers (including Alan Benson). (Great Bustard in Flight by Jill Dyson Orme LRPS; Great Bustard Lek by Bruce Kendrick ARPS)
On both Mornings Robert and Alan provided the transport and, guided by Alan, the groups visited sites to photograph Barn Owls, Kestrels, Stone Curlews and Great Bustards. Many other farmland birds were also photographed including Corn Buntings, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Stonechats, Swallows and Wheatears. We were also treated to a Hen Harrier fly past on Saturday morning and Great Bustards in flight on Tuesday morning.
Overall two very successful mornings thanks largely to Robert and Alan for their guidance and enthusiasm.
For more events to attend go to Nature (rps.org)
(Corn Bunting by Graham Fone; Corn Bunting by Jill Dyson Orme LRPS)
Hen Harrier by Sarah Kelman ARPS; Swallow by Jon Mullin ARPS;
Skylark by Greg Lovett ARPS; Great Bustard in Flight by Roger Clark ARPS
Stonechat by Sarah Kelman ARPS; Wheatear by Duncan Locke ARPS
Kestrel Taking Off by Duncan Locke ARPS