Birds of the Wayoh, Turton and Edgworth Reservoirs

Barn Owl with a kill
Tonight's LOS presentation in the Derby Room at Leigh Library was given by John Barlow and was entitled 'Birds of the Wayoh, Turton and Edgworth Reservoirs'.  John had come in at very short notice to replace the original speaker and we are very grateful that he made it as apparently he was nearly struck by lighting earlier in the day.  We're so glad he wasn't for all our sakes!

John has been a birder since he was eight years old and as he is now in his 40's, he has amassed a great wealth of experience in the field.  Indeed in this area alone he and fellow local bird photographer Clifford Heyes have recorded no less than 132 species from 1980 until today.

A classic Nuthatch shot
When he was young, John used to draw the birds he saw, and he eventually progressed to taking photographs on a Polaroid camera which was found to be very unsatisfactory, but it was the best he could do at the time.

John only bought his first digital DSLR camera in 2010 and so he is very reluctant to call himself a bird photographer yet. However the sheer quality of his photographs belies this and we think he does himself a great disservice.

Kestrel hunting Sand Martins
The talk was a good mixture of information, humour and stunning photographs and the time passed very quickly indeed.  John showed us photos of the two main types of hide that he uses to get close to his subjects one of which features bullet-proof camouflage material - he's obviously taking no chances!

He also told us a funny story about the time a Whinchat kept perching on his head whilst he was wearing a camouflaged drape and so he couldn't actually get a photograph of it!

John clearly spends a long time setting up his shoots and will often visit a site many times to get a good photograph. He is very lucky to live close the reservoirs in the Wayoh area, and so he's able to get out there fairly often.

One of John's interests is shooting birds with man-made objects (often rubbish or other discarded items) or in human environments.

This is something that many photographers would try their best not to do, but John manages to get some quirky images in doing so and it is rapidly becoming one of his 'hallmark' styles.

Here's a humorous photo of a Little Owl on an electricity pylon - he clearly can't read!

The photographs featured here are all from John's website John Barlow Photography where all the images shown at tonight's presentation can be seen again. In addition, greetings cards and charity calendars featuring his photographs can be previewed and bought.

The presentation was finished off with a traditional sunset image: a fantastic photo of Darwen Tower.

A great presentation by a nice chap with stunning photographs - what more could you want for an evening out?

Martyn Jones

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