Exhibition

  • May 31, 2016 9:05 pm

I’m really pleased to announce a small selection of my photos will be on display at the wonderful Beehive Coffee Shop in Blo Norton, Norfolk. It’s a great place to relax with a coffee and slice of delicious home-made cake, so head on over during June to take a look!

Brown Hare, Norfolk

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Spring Bees

  • May 31, 2016 8:59 pm

Just a quick May update from me. You might remember last year, I was very happy to find wild Red Mason Bees using my solitary bee box, I was amazed that there were around 8 bees using it, I think I said ‘the most I’ve ever seen…’ Well, scratch that! This year I’ve counted over 30 bees, and I’ve even had to make and buy additional boxes for them! It’s really interesting to observe their whole lifecycle. In early May I discovered the much smaller males had hatched out, and were hanging around waiting for the females to emerge. When they did, it was incredible to watch the males pounce on the females, fighting with each other to grab her, and hold on to her to stop her getting away. Others tried to push the successful male off, but finally one suitor remained. He stayed with the female, until she was ready to mate, and so begin the whole cycle again.

Red Mason Bees, Osmia rufa, pair on edge of flowerpot, garden, Norfolk

 

Red Mason Bees, Osmia rufa, pair on edge of flowerpot, garden, Norfolk

Once the females had mated, they began clearing out the old nesting tubes, removing the debris and last years empty cocoons. I found one of these in a plant pot, a tiny bronze capsule, really interesting to find.

 

Red Mason Bee, Osmia rufa, empty cocoon, garden, Norfolk

 

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Spring Bluebells

  • May 2, 2016 2:29 pm

It’s been a few years since I last photographed Bluebells, they are such stunningly beautiful flowers, both en-mass and close up. Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Wayland Wood is a fantastic place to see them. Spring is my favourite time of year, and Spring in a woodland is simply glorious. The first thing that greets you is the perfume of Bluebells wafting through the trees, and a glimpse of the most intense blue. Blue like only Bluebells can be, in overcast conditions a deep cobalt blue, but in the sunshine, a softer, purpler shade. This woodland has much more to offer too, with magenta coloured Early Purple Orchids, shining white Wood Anemones, bird life in abundance, Blackcaps, Robins, Chiffchaffs, Woodpeckers and more, and butterflies like the Orange tip delicately fluttering between flowers.

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A Winter Visitor

  • January 18, 2016 8:27 pm

Fieldfares are another one of my favourite birds. These gorgeous winter visitors come here from Scandinavia, presumably to escape the harsh winter weather. They flock together, feeding on windfall apples in the old orchard, conversing noisily with scolding chattering calls, unmistakeable with their beautiful slaty blue grey head, brown back, and cream speckled chest. This weekend I was lucky enough to watch these lovely thrushes as they fed, pecking pieces of frosty fruit, and squabbling amongst themselves. They were joined by a large flock of Starlings and a couple of Carrion Crows too, all feasting on the fallen apples. Suddenly they all took flight, a single alarm call preceded the whoosh of wings as they fled into the sky, a Sparrowhawk glided silently through the trees, broad wings and long tail, directly above my head.

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Happy New Year!

  • January 1, 2016 3:43 pm

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I last posted here, I’ve taken a sort of sabbatical from photography since September, work and life has been such a whirlwind. But, it’s a new year, and this year is my year. My time to enjoy doing what I love.

Last year I had the privilege of having a Turtle dove regularly visiting, and I really hope it comes back this summer. I also completed the Wildlife Trusts 30 days wild, what a fantastic way to reconnect with nature. Talking of the Wildlife Trusts I recently donated some images to their photo library, which I hope will be useful to them. Finally 2015 saw the finish of my ‘Big 30’ project, which really helped inspire me to get out with the camera.

So the new year needs a new challenge, I hope you’ll like what I have in store for you! Watch this space!

Here’s a lucky little Grasshopper making me think of Spring…

All the best to you all, and thank you all for your support over the last year.

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Turtle Dove

  • September 7, 2015 8:27 pm

What a privilege to have this bird visiting the garden. He was still around this weekend, and really feeding up before his long flight south. The slightly better weather meant I could get some more photos, although I’m yet to catch him in the sun. It’s not going to be long before he departs, but I’m already planning for next year. This year I planted a small native wildlflower meadow, which has been brilliant for the bees and other insects, but next year I’m going to make it more Turtle Dove friendly and add some more of their food plants like Red Clover, Common Vetch, and Black Medick, and continue to encourage the Fumitory which has grown rampantly this year.

Here’s the Turtle dove with a Collared dove in front, the Collared dove is actually the larger species, but this young one looks smaller as it crouches feeding in the grass.

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For an advisory sheet on how you could help Turtle doves in your garden, follow this link: http://operationturtledove.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Turtle-Dove-Advisory-Sheet-Gardens.pdf

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At Last

  • August 31, 2015 1:10 pm

As regular readers will know, the Turtle Dove is a bird very close to my heart. It was the bird that inspired my passion for all things wild, and an equal passion for it’s conservation.

Since June, I’ve had this remarkable bird visiting the garden, but have struggled with time and light to actually get a photo. Today, well it’s a typical rainy bank holiday Monday, but for once I’m glad. For some reason, the Turtle Dove visits more frequently in wet conditions, perhaps the garden is a more comfortable place to find food on days like today.

So at last, hunkered down under my hide in the rain, Robin singing from the hedge and all legs and arms completely numb, the Turtle Dove drops down from the neighbours Walnut tree to feed on the seed I’ve scattered for it. I almost feel relived to see this bird in the viewfinder, and despite the dire lighting, I manage to get a photo.

It’s behaviour is interesting too, associating with the slightly bolder Collared Doves, but not letting it’s diminutive size stop it from getting a good meal. Frequently it pushes the larger Collared Doves off the food with a softly scolding ‘Tchoo’ noise as it hops towards them, a noise I’ve never heard before.

Soon this dainty little dove will be on his way to Africa in an incredible 5,600km migration to where he’ll spend the winter, travelling at speeds up to 60km per hour, he’ll even cross the Sahara Desert. These beautiful birds are in real trouble. The population has declined by a massive 91% since the 1970’s, and we are in real danger of losing this wonderful bird, the sound of the Summer.

For more information, and a map following the route of a satelite tracked Turtle Dove click: HERE

And of course, lots of interesting things and how everyone can help over at the Operation Turtle Dove website: HERE

Turtle Dove, Streptopelia turtur, garden lawn, August, Summer, Norfolk

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The Month of June

  • July 11, 2015 10:07 am

Time for a quick update, apologies for the blog silence of late. During June I took part in the Wildlife Trusts ’30 Days Wild’ project, connecting with nature every single day for a whole month. I documented my adventures right here on my website, click on this link to take a look at my: 30 Days Wild.

Here’s a few of my favourite images from last month. I really enjoyed the challenge of finding something to photograph every day, and was surprised to find some fantastic wildlife which would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

House Martin, Delichon urbica, perched on ground, collecting mud, puddle, farmyard, Norfolk, May

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BIG 30

  • June 1, 2015 9:28 pm

The end of May marks the end of my Big 30 project, a rather ambitious undertaking designed to help me get out and do as much photography as possible. 30 varied, unusual, or amazing wildlife photos in a year – 30 photos for my 30th year. The project had its ups and downs, but has re-ignited my enthusiasm for my photography, and has shown me that you don’t need to travel far to see great wildlife and to make the most of every opportunity. It’s led me to some amazing wildlife encounters, like watching a Short Eared Owl hunting, and photographing that perfect jewel of a bird, the Kingfisher. Wonderful experiences with nature that I’ll never forget.

On the last day of my project – my birthday – I headed over to the fen at sunrise as normal. Suddenly the reserve is full of flowers, brilliant yellow flag iris amongst the sedges, pale pink Ragged Robin along the dyke edges and much more.

Ragged Robin, Lychnis flos-cuculi, amoungst reeds, Norfolk, Fen, May

The birds are still quite quiet, concentrating on nesting and raising their young. The Cuckoos are still very busy, but elude my camera this morning. This male Reed Bunting pauses in the reeds as I go past.

Reed bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus, Male perched in reeds, Norfolk, Fen, May

Further along there’s a lovely Linnet singing away and I slowly approach to try and get a photo. They are such pretty birds, normally found around the gorse bushes, they seem to do very well here.

Linnet, Carduelis cannabina, perched on twig, fen, Norfolk, May

I watch as a Buzzard flies over, an increasingly familiar sight these days. The final thing to catch my eye is the Cow Parsley. I love this time of year, when great frothy clouds of this dainty flower fill the verges.

Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris, close up of flower head, Norfolk, May

You can view a slideshow of the results of my project by clicking here: BIG 30

 

As one project finishes, another starts. June is the Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild challenge, and I am taking part, but more on that later….

 

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Crimson and Blue

  • May 29, 2015 9:10 pm

Just a quick update on my recent photography, trying to do as much as possible to reach my ‘Big 30‘ goal.

This lovely flower with it’s pretty twirled petals is Crimson Clover, it is a native, but is commonly grown in a cover crop mix, or as green manure. This one caught my eye on Croxton Heath, a new location for me, growing alongside one of the tracks. I also spotted a couple of Common Lizards here, a looks like a great site for some future photography.

Crimson clover, Trifolium incarnatum, Scarlet Clover, Italian Clover, Carnation Clover, Breckland, Norfolk, May, Spring, close up

 

Regular followers will know, I work full time and often find it difficult to get the time to get out with the camera. Sometimes though, wildlife comes to you. I am fortunate that the company I work for is located on a farm, and this time of year sees the return of the House Martins. They cruise around the yard at head height on still sunny days, like miniature Orcas with their black and white plumage. They take full advantage of the mud washed off the tractors, swooping down to collect a beak full of wet earth to build their nest. The Swallows are also back, perching on the telephone wires and whizzing in and out of the barns chittering away to each other. High in the sky and screaming around the rooftops the Swifts are back too, devil birds with curved flickering wings flying fast and free in the blue. All three species resulting in a lot of gazing longingly out of the window. Short as my half hour lunch break is, it was just enough time to capture a couple of images of the House Martins as they came down to gather mud. Normally they glide down straight to the muddy puddle, but sometimes they land a little way away and have to do a rather comical scampering, hopping, flapping walk across the ground. Close up in the sun, the plumage on their heads and backs has a gorgeous deep blue iridescence. Hopefully I’ll get some more opportunities with these charismatic little birds.

House Martin, Delichon urbica, perched on ground, farmyard, Norfolk, May

House Martin, Delichon urbica, perched on ground, collecting mud, puddle, farmyard, Norfolk, May

 

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