Slavonian Grebe

  • January 25, 2013 6:38 pm

Out practising with the new lens today, and decided to head to the fine city of Norwich. More specifically, Whitlingham Country Park. Despite being close to the hustle and bustle of the city, the park often attracts our more unusual winter wildlife. The local waterfowl proved to be great target training.

Mute Swan, Cygnus olor, adult preening, close up, graceful, Norfolk, Winter

A serene Mute Swan, that is, until it tries to steal your Jaffa cake… (don’t ask!)

Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula, female, swimming, Norfolk, Winter

Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula, female, swimming, Norfolk, Winter

These female Tufted ducks were more confiding than the black and white males.

Then I spotted the star of the show. Small, grey with a startling red eye. A first for me – an overwintering Slavonian Grebe.

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

There is a very small breeding population in the UK, but they are more often seen in the winter months around our coasts.

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

He seemed quite content feeding with the other larger birds, often getting lost in the throng, and lost to view. It was bitterly cold lying on the frozen ground waiting for him to resurface, but still great to watch a bird I’ve never seen before. Despite the fluffy appearance he never seemed to get wet!

The snow hasn’t cleared yet, providing a nice reflected uplighting in the dull conditions.

Greylag goose, Anser anser, feeding in snow, Norfolk, Winter

 
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UK & Eire Natural History Bloggers

Feelin so Bohemian like you…

  • December 9, 2012 8:01 pm

The tinkling bell like trill, the punk rocker hairstyle and attitude to match, it can only mean one thing – the Scandinavians are here!

The Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) is native to Northern Europe and during the winter may migrate southwards if the berry crop – the Waxwing’s main winter food source, runs low. This year they have been seen right across the country, which is unusual, as normally they only make it as far as the north and east.

I’ve seen these birds in the past, but missed out on photographing them, so it was a much longed for treat to have an opportunity today.

 

These birds have a friendly and sociable disposition and are a bit of a favourite of mine. They are easily recognisable, similar to a Starling in size, with a lovely buff colouring, black eye mask, prominent crest, a yellow tipped tail and waxy red tips to the wings – hence the name.

 

Their love of berries means the best place to see these attractive birds is your local supermarket car park – yes you hear me correctly! Supermarkets often plant Rowan trees, Hawthorn and Cotoneaster bushes around their car parks and these approachable birds are drawn to these berry rich areas. They certainly aren’t afraid of people and with a bit of care you can get very close. These photos were taken in a very busy car park in the middle of Norwich! People who know me will know I’m rather a shy sort of person, but I was amazed by the friendliness of the good people of Norwich who were genuinely interested in the birds and I found myself in conversation with numerous lovely people, waxing lyrical about Waxwings.

The light was decidedly changeable, and when the sun disappeared I tried something a little more artistic.

I could have stayed all day with these delightful birds, but the shopping beckoned, so I had to tear myself away. Hopefully I’ll get to photograph them again sometime soon. So keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about, you might just spot a group of cheeky Scandinavians scrumping for berries down at the supermarket.

 

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If you like what you see, please consider sharing!

UK & Eire Natural History Bloggers

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