Buzzed By A Buzzard.

Buzzard Silhoueete I went for a quick visit to Woodwalton Fen in the hope of seeing a Bittern. The resident Bittern has been quite elusive lately with no sightings being logged for quite a few weeks.
Still, I thought I’d sit in the Gordon’s Mere hide for a while hoping the Bittern would make an appearance. I noticed a Barn Owl in the distance patrolling the reeds looking for a meal.

Barn owl flight sequence 2
Barn Owl flight sequence

Unfortunately the Bittern didn’t put in an appearance but I was treated to a close fly past by a Buzzard.

Buzzard
Buzzard

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Book Launch.

Book Sillouette A new book has been launched detailing the history of the the Great Fen (my local nature reserve). The author contacted me and asked if he could use some of my images in the book – I agreed, so some of my photographs will be in print.

Great Fen Book
The front cover is one of my photographs

Not only are there some of my photo’s in the book but the publisher chose one of my images for the front cover as well.

I had a nice email from the author:-

Hi Guy,
The book is now published – and the front cover looks great! Can you let me have your address so that publisher can send your copy.
Thanks for all your contributions, which are scattered around the book and add considerably to its final look.

All the best

Alan

I received a free copy of the book along with a note from the author:-
To Guy,
With grateful thanks for your wonderful photographs and dedication to bringing the wonders of the Great Fen to the wider world.
Best Wishes
Alan.

 

A copy of this beautifully produced hardback book can be purchased by clicking here.

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Review Of The Year (2019).

Clock sillouette Review Of 2019

Thanks
First of all thanks to those of you who have taken the time to read my blog posts and a special thanks to those who have left comments and ‘likes’ throughout 2019 – much appreciated.

Another year has gone by already and the days are slowly getting longer – it won’t be too long before Spring arrives, my favourite time of the year.

So what were the highlights of last year? Well, I had two photographs shortlisted in the British Wildlife Photographic awards. A Chinese Water Deer and a Grass Snake shown below.

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Two photo’s shorlisted in the 2019 British Wildlife Photographic Awards

I had a great holiday in India last year. While I was at the Ranthambore national park I took a photo of a Tiger which was shortlisted in the Bornfree Foundation photographic competition.

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Wild Bengal Tiger photo shortlisted in the Bornfree Foundation photographic competition
Bornfree Foundation

My photo of the Grass Snake did well in 2019 year, it also won one of the categories in the Suffolk Widlife Trust’s  annual photographic competition.

Grass Snake 2
This photo of a Grass Snake at Woodwalton did well in 2019

 

Trip To India
The highlight of the year was a trip to India which included a few days at the Ranthambore national park. The national park is home to wild Bengal Tigers. As with any wild animal you can’t guarantee they will make an appearance, but during trips into the park I saw Tigers on five occasions including one very close encounter. I count myself lucky that I got so close to these big cats.

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Bengal Tiger at Ranthambore

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A wild Bengal Tiger takes a rest

The national park is home to lots of wildlife, including monkeys, deer and crocodiles.

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A Langur with her baby

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Wild Crocodile – Ranthambore National Park

No trip to India is complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal.

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The Taj Mahal at sunrise

 

Local Wildlife
I saw my first Long-eared Owl in 2019 and got a nice photograph as well.

Long-eared owl
A fly past by a Long-eared Owl

I found a location at the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve where Water Voles would leave the water to feed. I’ve photographed Water Voles before but never when they’ve been completely out of the water – another first for me in 2019!

Water Vole
A Water Vole at the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve

In 2019 I managed to photo two elusive butterflies together.

Butterflies
A Purple Hairstreak and a Purple Emporer

Badger
It’s not often you see Badgers out in the day but I was lucky enough to see one while walking the coastal path on the Llyn peninsula in North Wales. This is only the second time I’ve seen a Badger out during daylight hours so this was a lucky encounter. It was 1PM, I stood watching the Badger running around for about 10  minutes before it disappeared.

Badger 1
Daytime Badger

Books
I had photo’s in two books in 2019 – it’s always good to see your photographs in print.

Photo In Book
My photo in this year’s BWPA year book

I had some photographs also appear in a very informative book about Muntjac and Chinese Water deer.

Water Deer Book
Several of my photo’s appear in the book


To purchase a copy of the book click here

 

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Award Winning Photograph.

Trophy silhouete I’ve been lucky enough to win a category in the 2019 Suffolk Widlife Trust’s annual wildlife photographic competition. The photograph is of a Grass Snake swimming along one of the water-filled ditches at the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve in Cambridgeshire.
Grass Snakes are excellent swimmers and can often been seen in the water at Woodwalton Fen. The setting sun has added a golden glow to the photograph which has been refelected in the water.

Grass Snake 2
Winner of the ‘out of sight’ category

SWT Award 2019

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Life’s A Hoot.

Barn Owl silhouetteOn a recent afternoon walk at the Woodwalton Fen nature reserve I noticed a Barn Owl out hunting. It was 02:30PM, I wasn’t expecting to see a Barn Owl out this early in the day. In the winter months their prey such as voles are less active so it’s harder for Barn Owls to locate them so they may have to start to hunt earlier than usual. Also Barn Owls aren’t well insulated so they need to eat more to keep themselves warm during cold weather.

Lifes A Hoot 5 b
A Barn Owl hunting

In the winter Barn Owls are more likely to hunt from posts or other perches, this saves energy and reduces heat loss that will be caused by flying through cold air.

Lifes A Hoot 2
In the winter Barn Owl’s use perches such as fence posts to hunt from

I stood completely still as the Barn Owl flew towards me. It flew right past me, gave me a fleeting glance and then continued hunting.

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A Barn Owl flies past

Lifes A Hoot 1 Flight seq
Barn Owl flight sequence

Barn Owl 4
Barn Owl portrait

Barn Owl 2
Barn Owl on a post

Even if you don’t see any Barn Owls you may be treated to a spectacular sunset.

Winter Panorma

Winter Panorma 2
Sunset panoramas

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Weekend Trip To The Norfolk Coast.

Seagull silhoueeteA few months ago I booked a hotel on the  Norfolk coast.  I thought it would be nice to get some sea air in my lungs and do a bit of wildlife watching at the same time.  A few days before the trip I nervously kept my eye on the weather forecast –  wet and windy weather wouldn’t stop me going but it would be so much more enjoyable with the sun shining. Luckily the weather was set to be sunny and warm so I was in for a great weekend.
The journey to the coast took longer than expected due to the Friday evening traffic. I arrived later than expected, checked in to the hotel then nipped out to a local pub for something to eat.

Jolly Pub
I started the weekend with a pint and something to eat at the The Jolly Sailors pub

Saturday
I was up bright and early for my full English breakfast – the perfect start to any day. I was planning on visiting the RSPB reserve at Titchwell Marsh, a reserve I hadn’t visited before.

Breakfast
A full english breakfast to start the day

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Entrance to Titchwell Marsh nature reserve

My first stop after parking  was the information centre to get a map of the reserve and plan my day.

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Shop and information centre

After looking at the map I decided to head down the path towards the beach, there were a couple of hides in that direction.

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To the beach

At the first hide I saw a few distant Avocet feeding in the shallow lagoon. This was a good start – this was a bird I hadn’t seen before.  There were other common species feeding the shallows as well. The Avocets seemed to be closer to another hide so I headed in that direction hoping to get closer to the Avocets and maybe get a half decent photograph.

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Island hide

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A tidal lagoon with the Parrinder hide in the distance

When I arrived at the other hide I was in luck. There were a couple of Avocet quite close which gave me the opportunity to get a couple of shots.

Advocet x 2
Avocets can be easily identified by the shape of their beaks

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Avocet feeding in the shallow lagoon

After my sucess with the Avocets I walked further down the path to the beach. The tide was out and there were various birds feeding in the rock pools.

Godwit
A Godwit marching down the beach

Curlew
Curlew

Seagull With Crab 1
Crab for lunch

After a couple of hours on the beach I had a slow walk back to the information centre. I stopped briefly at both the hides before having a sit down and cup of tea.

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Bird watchers enjoying their day out

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Time for a cup of tea and a snack

Sunday
I woke up to another glorious early Autumn day. I started the day with another good breakfast. As it was such a nice day I didn’t want to drive straight home, so decded to visit nearby Brancaster beach. The beach and car park are only acessible at low tide.  I checked the tide timetable and found I was in luck. The tide was on it’s way out  so after checking out of the hotel I headed along the coast to Brancaster beach.

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Brancaster beach

After parking my car I walked to the beach. I had a choice, turn left and walk along the beach or walk in the opposite direction. I decided on left which was going to be a good decision.

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Other people out enjoying the Autumn sunshine

I walked down the beach a few miles then came to a small creek that was still emptying water in to the North Sea. I couldn’t go any further without getting my feet wet so turned left and followed the creek inland.

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Low tide revealed sand dunes

After following the creek for about 1/2 mile I noticed seals basking in the sun on the opposite bank.

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Distanct seals basking in the sun

Luck played it’s part again. Two of the Seals left the bank and swam closer to where I was standing. By this time several people had joined me and I think the Seal’s were just as curious about us as we were about them. The two curious Seals bobbed about in the water right in front of me .

Seal 2

Seal 1
Seals

I sat in the dunes for an hour watching the Seals, they had drawn quite a crowd by this time. They seemed to enjoy being the centre of attention.

The weather was starting to change, grey clouds were gathering and it looked like it might rain, so I decided to return to my car. It was a great weekend, I’ll definately be going back to the Norfolk coast in the near future.

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Early Morning Walk At Woodwalton Fen.

Sun Silhoueete I woke up at 05:45am on a Sunday morning, looked out the window and was greeted with a beautiful Autumn morning. Should I go out for an early morning walk or go back to bed for a couple of hours? I decided to go back to bed… but a minute later I got up,  I couldn’t waste a morning like this!  After a quick cup of tea and breakfast I headed out to my local nature reserve – Woodwalton Fen. It was a cold morning, 4 degrees was showing on my car’s temperature gauge and there was a dusting of frost on the grass.
The sun was  rising, there wasn’t even a slight breeze so a layer of mist was hugging the ground.

Misty morning 2
Misty morning

Misty Morning 3
The sun is starting to ‘burn off’ the early morning mist

I wasn’t sure what wildlife I would encounter at this time of the morning. I’ve had early morning walks at Woodwalton Fen before and seen absolutely nothing. I wasn’t going to be disappointed on this early morning jaunt though, read on to find out why.

Misty morning 1
Early morning sun filters through the trees

Misty reeds
Misty Reeds

I headed to the west side of the reserve hoping to see Chinese Water deer before they disappeared in to the reeds for the day. There were quite a few of these photogenic deer around. I managed to get quite close to get a few shots. This was a good start to my morning walk.

CWD Early morning 6
Chinese Water Deer

CWD Early morning 8
Male Chinese Water Deer showing his tusks

CWD Early morning 7
Two Water Deer

Ater seeing all these Water Deer I thought my luck might be in so I walked to the Gordon’s Mere hide. I sat in the hide for a while but there didn’t appear to be anything around. I was about to leave when I noticed a Bittern had crept out of the reeds and was warming itself in the early morning sunshine. I was hoping it would fly so I could get some in flight shots but after about half an hour it disappeared back in to the reeds again. I was starting to get cold sitting in the hide so I decided to leave and have a wander through some nearby woodland.

Bittern Morning
A Bittern comes out to warm up in the sun

Walking through the woodland I noticed something ahead of me. I slowly walked up the path using a fallen tree as cover. I got within a few yards of a small Water Deer. I watched the deer feeding for about 5 minutes, during that time it hadn’t noticed me so I managed to get a few close shots. I turned round and went back down the path so as not to disturb the deer.

CWD Early morning 1
A Chinese Water deer catching the early sun

Fallen tree
This fallen tree helped me get close to a Chinese Water Deer

By this time the sun was up and it was starting to get quite warm I decided to have a look on the eastern side of the reserve as this area would now be bathed in warm sunlight – ideal for Lizards and Grasssnakes. I found a small tree stump that was being used as a sunbathing platform by a few tiny Lizards. They were nervous at first but they soon got used to my presence so I managed to get a few close up photographs.

lizard 4
A Common Lizard basking in the sun

By this time I’d been out for 3 and half hours so I decided to call it a day. All in all it was a  good early morning walk. There was a lot more wildlife around than I’d imagined. I was starting to get hungry so I decided to stop off at a coffee shop on the way home. It was nice to have a sit down and a cup of coffee.

Flat white
A flat white and a Portuguese custard tart

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