Friday, 23 January 2009


Been a busy week. Took this last Sunday at Burnham Norton. The family party of Mute Swans has split up and the six fledged cygnets are now scattered in pairs around the marsh. This one was feeding in the ditch close to the car park. Nice to be able to get down pretty much to the birds level and to get the droplets effect.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Morecambe Bird Art

A visit to Morecambe in Lancashire gave me a chance to look at the art that has been installed as part of the Tern project All along the promenade and out onto the Stone Jetty are pieces of landscape art. I particularly liked these rather leggy Coots and spread-eagled Cormorants.

The sculptures add a nice sense of place, they could perhaps work better with the aid of some additional interpretation to get folk to connect the sculptures with the internationally important wetland [Morecambe Bay] that they over look.

Whilst looking at the artworks in the gloom of early morning, it was great to see a Peregrine tear through and scare the local Oystercatchers into flight.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Shifting Sands at Titchwell

Yesterdays low grey cloud was gone this morning replaced by high cloud, through which patches of blue could be seen accompanied by a raw wind veering between south west and north west.

Very few birds were showing well at Titchwell. The beach was blasted by particles of sand blown seawards like a low lying shape shifting swarms. Not a good place to be with a digital camera, but I hope the image above captures a little of the mood.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Disappearing Windfall

Its been a cold last week or so. Today at 11 am the car thermometer read an outside air temperature of -4 C, by dusk it had warmed up to 0 C. A frost coats the branches of hedgerow trees, like a light dusting of icing sugar and all day a low winter sun has tried unsuccessfully to break through a ceiling of grey cloud.

A friends garden in Titchwell contains a small orchard and just before Christmas I took this picture of some of the hundreds of windfall apples which for various reasons hadn't been harvested this year. Today all that was left of this bruised fruit harvest, were a few brown husks of hollowed out apple skins and maybe twenty or so half eaten cooking apples surrounded by a flock of Blackbirds and Fieldfares, which over the last few weeks have steadily eaten their way through tens of pounds of apples.

Soon this source of food will be gone and these birds may then join the hundreds of other thrushes that have been doing a similar clean up job at the big apple orchard between Thornham and Holme, or they will have to start looking in the hedgerows for the last of the Hawthorn berries. They certainly won't be able to probe the hard ground for food.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Windmill & Typha

Late afternoon walk around Burnham Norton, normally I can reckon on having this pretty much to myself but today it was busy with I guess folk taking advantage of the penultimate day off before the great return to work on Monday. Twice the flocks of Wigeon and Brent Geese feeding on the marshes took flight in tight panicking flocks and twice I scanned without luck for a hunting Peregrine which is the normal culprit here when the wildfowl take to the air like this. In fact it was pretty quiet with just a single Marsh Harrier and Barn owl of any real note.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Horsey Gap & Stubbs Mill

Up early and a cross county drive to photograph the Grey Seal colony at Horsey Gap. Just before arriving at Horsey Gap I came across a flock of 24 Common Cranes in a roadside field.

I'd not been to look at the seal colony before and wasn't sure what to expect. The entrance to the car park itself isn't signed but once there arrows direct you on a one mile walk to the seal watch points. I arrived at about 10 am along with the first Seal Warden and two other punters, we were the first visitors of the day to the colony and I had over an hour and a half pretty much to myself, photographing the seals from the top of the dunes. Not the ideal photographic position [I'd have liked to have got down on the beach at eye level with them] but still pretty good. A bonus were two pups now independent of their mothers which lay across the path through the dunes.

From Horsey Gap I headed for the raptor roost watch point at Stubbs Mill. The car park at Hickling Broad was full and there were probably 40 - 50 birdwatchers on the viewing mound. Up to 60 Marsh Harriers have been counted here this winter and I had twenty in one binocular field of view. Also two ringtail and a male Hen Harrier. From here I saw twelve cranes flying around in small groups but didn't wait until the very last light when there would have been a chance of seeing more Cranes on their way to roost as it was starting to get very cold.

Still a lovely sunset sillhouetting the bare winter trees.