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Craig Jones in the Peak District

 

The flowering heather is now coming to an end in the stunning Peak District.


Once a year for around 4-5 weeks parts of the moorlands are turned into a stunning pink carpet of beauty. It's one of the most beautiful sites to see in the British countryside. Over the last month I've visited several sites I've known since my early to late teens in the Peak District and they are still as beautiful as I remember them back then.


Among these stunning landscapes lives a bird that is a true specialist of this landscape, the Red Grouse. A bird I simply love to see and be around, photographing it going about its life in one of the most testing and changing environments here in the UK. When trying to get close to these birds you must read the signs, listen to their calls and this will help you locate and understand what they are doing. The pitch and tempo of their calls indicates when they've seen you and if they are stressed at your presence. The faster the call and higher in pitch means they are about to move or take off and are not happy that your there. I try if I can never to get to this point with any creature.


So when I first hear their calls I go to ground and watch and listen. Once they are happy they then carry on feeding on the heather and "talk" to each other with their calls it’s at this point I then slowly start stalking the Red Grouse. The ground is often laded with a lot of water and moisture and so my hands and feet get wet as both of these are my main point of contact with the ground as I move forward. Placing my hands down to slowly crawl forward I'm often hands deep in the peat bogs that make up a lot this moorland habitat and the same goes for my boots and feet.


Using Sealskinz waterproof socks and my trusted Ultra-Grip Waterproof Gloves give me one less thing to worry about and that is wet feet and hands while moving forward to photograph them iconic moorland birds. Always watch and respect nature and read the signs to see if the animals isn't happy at your sudden appearance in their world, use your skills to cover that ground offering the least amount of stress to these birds and with a bit of luck, care and thought you will be able to see just why these birds are so beautiful. Your gear, clothing and field craft is very important and the clothing I use from Sealskinz helps me so much I can't explain. Wet hands, wet feet sap your energy and make things very unpleasant and difficult. So by  just making some simple choices in what you wear will pay dividends once you’re in the field and allow you to work for longer in that environment.

 

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