Monday, 31 December 2012

Waxwings 13th dec

This ones a little belated but there we go!

There had been several reports of waxwings in the area so I decided to check in on several places close to my house. On the way to the meadows I passed through Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts Kings Meadow reserve in lenton and was greeted to the trilling of around 50 waxings feeding in some trees directly above me on the cycle path. I instantly got off my bike and grabbed the camera and managed a couple of shots before a cyclist came through and spooked them.

I knew there were loads of berry laden bushes around the area so decided to get back on the bike, camera at the ready, to see if i could relocate the flock. I got to the main entrance to the meadow when again i heard some trilling, and looked to find 2 waxwings in some bushes only a few metres from me.

It was almost as if these birds were acting as sentinels, as they sat there calling every now and again and occasionally eating the odd berry, before, almost as if given the 'all clear', the rest of the flock moved in. The whole flock then entered into a feeding frenzy within a couple of metres of where i stood, allowing me to get some nice shots of their feeding behaviour. Nice bright light and a clear blue sky, along with some nice frosty berries gave excellent photographic conditions, and i was very pleased with my pictures, although in hindsight i wish i'd taken care not to cut out some of the birds tails in some of the shots due to some lazy framing!

Thats a few of the shots i managed to get, the full set can be found here

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Donna Nook Seals, 9th December

Headed to the coast on sunday morning to see the Grey Seal colony at Donna Nook in Lincolnshire. I've wanted to visit this reserve for ages, but being in notts, its a bit difficult to get to the coast without a car. However my  girlfriend was more than happy to drive us there, and i'm glad we went as we had an excellent couple of hours there.

On cresting the hill the first thing you see is hundreds of seals. The stretch of coast with the viewing area couldnt be better located and it really is wildlife watching made easy. I guess thats why its so popular, as there were many people there from far and wide. Ignoring the crowds, it is a great experience with seal pups sitting there at touching distance while the large mothers sat a little more warily a few metres away. Photo opportunities were rife and with little effort it is easy to get some incredible shots. The larger males busy themselves with sitting further down the beach, fighting and mating, making it a little more difficult to take photos. They are absolutely massive and to see 90 stone of grey seal throwing itself about the beach is quite a spectacle.

Anyway I've added some of the better shots and i've made a Flickr album with more on it. Please feel free to take a look!

Bird-wise there was loads about, a proper treat for an land-locked birder. There were plenty of waders, mainly Turnstone, some of which came quite close in, and there were also several Dunlin a few Redshank and in the distance were some large flocks of Lapwing. There were also large flocks of Starling, Skylark and Twite, and if i had my scope i probably could have picked out some buntings and maybe something more interesting?! A couple of Rock Pipit were a highlight too. A large raptor was seen at a distance on the beach, with the jizz of a Harrier but i lost sight of it before confirming its ID.

A great day out which i hope to repeat next year, and its made me very keen to get to the coast again!