In the last 30 years there has been a very noticeable increase in the number and variety of Herons and large wading birds in the U.K. It was as recently as 1994 when I saw my first Little Egrets at Titchwell RSPB in Norfolk. This species is now widespread and numerous across the Country. Then came Cattle Egret and in 1997 after spending the night waiting for my daughter to be born I twitched my first Great White Egret. The first Glossy Ibis I saw was in Devon in 2003. It was a nice surprise when one turned up at Bure Park Gt Yarmouth last week, so decided to go take a look today.
Unfortunately you could only view the bird looking into the sun, with the plumage being black/brown all the images look like silhouettes! So what is causing this northward expansion from southern Europe? Is it global warming or are the species naturally exploiting new areas. The weather has been decidedly chilly, just above freezing with the odd snow shower this week, but the Ibis looked at home and was finding plenty of food.
Historically Glossy Ibis were recorded in Norfolk in 1824, so perhaps they are not reliant on warmer climates. Maybe it was persecution that caused them to disappear. In recent years we have seen the return of Common Crane and Spoonbill to breed in the County. Whatever the reason it’s nice to see an exotic looking bird on the edge of a not so exotic looking town.
Lemmings are small rodents that usually live above the Arctic Circle spending most of the year living under snow and trying to avoid being eaten by just about everything else. They are known for being rather stupid, for instance jumping off cliffs! Apparently they also smell. So they don’t live in Norfolk U.K. Wrong. For 20 years one has been lurking around before migrating north to Manchester.
When not at uni in Manchester the lemming will accompany me on my butterfly and birdwatching trips, demanding to be photographed and fed.
16.1.18 The sun shone today! Silly statement as the sun shines everyday, somewhere, but it has been cold, grey, misty and wet for most of January in Norfolk. I don’t ‘do’ winter very well nowadays. Many many years ago my free time would have been spent fishing or birdwatching whatever the weather, it seems since I gave up boat building as a living after 40 years and now work part-time in a cosy supermarket I’ve gone soft! Whatever, I have been looking through some summer images of dragon & damselflies to lift my gloom and thought I would share some with you.
Hope you enjoyed these shots, a bit annoyed compression has reduced the sharpness. Roll on summer let’s be having some more!
It’s cold and very wet in north Norfolk,the summer past long gone. I had set myself a challenge to see butterfly species as a child I could only dream of, the Purple Emperor, Duke of Burgundy and Adonis Blue. Much planning allowed me to achieve these goals with relative ease, access to the internet to locate the best sites and a decent car to travel obscene amount of miles. The joy of success far outweighing the cost of petrol. I thought it would be nice to share these experiences, hence this blog site. Thank you all for taking time to look at my images in the portfolios on the HOME page.
One image I really liked was of one of our commonest butterflies the large white. A wet day, very similar to today, I spotted this bedraggled specimen in the garden sitting on a bindweed leaf, when I returned from work that evening she had crawled under the leaf for shelter. The next morning as the sun broke through the butterfly made it’s way back on top, spread her wings and soaked up the sun, I felt really happy she had survived!
As for 2018 there are still more species I would like to see. Unfortunately they are much further from home so even more travelling! Here’s hoping for pearl bordered fritillary, wood white and high brown fritillary, health, wealth and weather permitting! Will I be able to afford that macro lens? who knows.
For those who like my drag racing shots here is my favorite, not pin sharp but conveys the image of speed and power. The weather was poor for this years races, let’s hope for better in 2018.
The goldcrest is Britain’s smallest resident bird. I have often seen them in my garden but have never managed to capture an image before. Because of their tiny size they have to constantly feed, flitting through the foliage looking for insects they rarely stop moving. I saw this one and by ‘pishing’ managed to get it to investigate me for a few seconds so I could get a couple of shots. Had to use a high iso due to lighting and get a fast shutter speed.
One of the largest visitors to the garden is the jay. A very handsome member of the crow family. These are very wary birds, I noticed this one through the kitchen window on the lawn. It was probing around and pulling up moss, they have a habit of burying acorns maybe it was looking for it’s cache. I took this shot through the double glazing.
17.11.17 The first real frost of the autumn but it promised to be a sunny day with light wind. Nice to get out with the camera. Went to Felbrigg Hall NT to see if I could get some images of the birdlife. The park was beautiful with autumnal colour, I took the path to the lake, on a flooded meadow many teal were milling around just too distant for decent shots, shame as their colours really shone in the bright sun.
In a corner of the lake perched in a bush was a little egret. It had a nice sunny spot and spent it’s time preening. I had the smallest of gaps in the foliage to get an image.
On the lake were several pairs of gadwall. These are very smart ducks and at this time of the year in full breeding plumage. Noticed a wren in the reedbed and with a lot of patience got a shot of it in the open.
There is always a robin around to pose for photographs this was in the west garden. Saw a hawfinch but it was far too distant even for a record shot. There has been a few around the Hall this past week, part of a major irruption from the Continent.
15.10.17 Made the most of a lovely warm October Sunday. Drove around the coast stopping at a couple of places. It’s been a long time since I last visited Kelling Water Meadows, today it was very popular, lots of birders out scanning the pool for waders, a red necked phalarope has been present most of the week but not today.
A peregrine falcon flew over as we walked the lane sending the birds into a frenzy, they soon settled and I picked out a couple of juvenile curlew sandpipers in the near margins.
The birds that caught my eye were the stonechats. There was at least three and they were busy hunting insects in the meadows towards the shingle bank. By keeping still they would often come quite close allowing for some reasonable images.
I have been a huge fan of Drag Racing ever since my first visit to Santa Pod when I was 7-years-old. I love all Motor Sport but Drag Racing is still the one that most gets me jumping around enthusiastically like an excited little child. Despite America having the larger NHRA Championships, which I should add I continuously follow, I have always preferred European and British Drag Racing. This is mainly because I have grown up with it - the first official FIA European Championships were held in 1996 and I haven't missed a big event at Santa Pod since 1997. When an event is on I get to the track, plonk myself down somewhere along the spectator banking and would very happily sit without moving for the entire weekend watching the racing.