Paddy

  • April 7, 2013 8:11 pm

Since my last post, I’ve been spending a lot of time down at the Fen which is teeming with wildlife at the moment. Hoards of Teal and Snipe can be found throughout the reserve, but I’ve been unsuccessful in photographing them. The Snipe are simply too well camouflaged, I’ve lost count of the number of times one has erupted from the vegetation virtually beneath my feet, and the Teal are far too nervous for a close approach.

This morning was no different, and the wildlife watching started in the car park. As I opened the car door I spooked a large dumpy brown bird, it took flight and I spotted the long bill, another cryptically camouflaged creature – the Woodcock.

I hurried to set up and wait for the Barn owl, which managed to elude my camera once again. Whilst waiting I spotted the pair of Roe deer that I’ve been seeing regularly in this area. They took no notice of me, but were too far away for photos, so I took this video:

Roe deer at Redgrave and Lopham Fen

There are a lot of deer on the Fen, the smaller Muntjac is more often seen, sulking along woodland paths and bouncing away flashing the white underside of their tails when they know they’ve been spotted. Roe are more wary still and if discovered they may prance away barking loudly to warn their comrades of danger. These two look fairly relaxed though, and as the sun rose higher they melted away into the reeds.

I decided to go for a walk, and soon came across what at first glance appears to be a rabbit with no ears. I was unsurprised to find that it was in fact the Black-tailed Prairie dog, who has affectionately been named ‘Paddy’. This long term resident and refugee from a local exotic animal collection, has set up home in the fields adjoining the Fen. Native to the great plains of the USA, he is quite happily living on the short rabbit grazed meadows, but with only the bunnies for company he seems a little lonely. I watched him enjoying the warm sunshine, when suddenly he drew his barrel shaped body up to it’s full height, threw back his head and uttered the most mournful squeal. He dropped back to all fours and listened. When no answer came, he pottered around his burrow, before standing up and calling again.

Prairiedog070413DM7048

Prairiedog070413DM7049

 

Walking on I find another Barn Owl hunting, but he doesn’t come close enough for any good photos.

Barn owl, Tyto alba, in flight, hunting at first light, Norfolk, April

As I head for home, spring seems to be tentatively beginning. A pair of Long-tailed tits are prospecting for nesting materials and a trio of Treecreepers chase each other up a branch. There’s still no sign of the summer migrants yet, but I’m sure they’ll be arriving soon.

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Autumn Fen

  • November 11, 2012 1:56 pm

A stunning morning on the Fen, a crisp frosty start and delicious golden light. The Konik ponies look so at home here, they were warming up in the sun at the edge of the wood.

On in search of the Bearded Tits, but all was quiet in the reedbed. I can’t help feeling a bit disappointed, but that’s wildlife for you. I guess they’ve moved on, or maybe they’re out somewhere on the open fen. I decide to stick around for a while just in case, and amuse myself with a little art photography.

Created simply by panning the camera vertically during the exposure, the end result is always a surprise. This technique seems to work really well with the reeds and really captures the lovely warm light.

Wandering on a little further, a movement in the reeds catches my eye – a tiny Wren flitting around the stems. Then something else flutters, a glimpse of Autumn coloured feathers and a striking black stripe, it can only be – the Bearded Tits!

I manage one shot before he pings away into the reeds with the others. A long wait later, and there they are again. This time perched in the open on stems of Reedmace further down the path. *Please stay there, please stay there*! I hurry along the path towards them, as close as I dare, and to my surprise they stay.

 

I guessed around 6 in total, males and females together. They are such charismatic little birds and it’s such a treat to have them here. The photography is getting better (the above shot is approx 50% full frame), but there’s still a long way to go, I really hope they stick around this winter.

Walking back happy, a trio of Roe does prance across the path and the woodland looks stunning in it’s Autumnal splender. Down in the wet wood a Buzzard launches itself from a tree as I approach, surprising both me and the local Carrion crows, who mob and chase it away. I’ve not seen one so close around here before, they certainly see to be getting more common. A piece of dead branch shaken loose by the Buzzard’s hasty take off thuds down beside the tree, time for home and a cuppa.

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Sedge Warbler

  • July 28, 2012 12:19 pm

Here’s a few Sedge Warbler photos from this morning on the Fen.

 

 

 

 

The adults were being kept busy by the newly fledged youngsters scattered throughout the reedbed, their wheezy cries coming from deep within the vegetation begging for yet more food.

 

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