It’s always worthwhile searching through a flock of Brent Geese; you never know what you might find. This Pale bellied was mixing with it’s dark bellied cousins on the north coast last week.
It’s that time again. Grey seals are pushing out the pups on our beaches in phenomenal numbers this year. On one of the tours last weekend we watched this young one suckling. It was a cold day and I bet that warm rich milk was just the biz. After a while the mother got a little fed up and rolled over much to the protestations of her noisy offspring!
A Long tailed Duck has been seemingly resident on the Cley reserve at Salthouse for quite some weeks now. It was joined, when I saw it last week, by another. They weren’t close. We waited some time for them to swim a little nearer … but they never did. LTD’s are one of the hardest ducks to photograph here in Norfolk. The harbours of Scotland are the best bet for a few splendid Oldsquaw males!
Thomas Southwell (1831-1909) was an employee at Barclays bank. Following in the footsteps of his father he worked at Fakenham branch and then in Norwich. This seemingly ordinary background masked one of our best naturalists of the modern era. He spent much of his leisure time travelling around Norfolk taking notes about what he saw within the natural world. Southwell was an accomplished author publishing several natural history books as well as many papers within the transactions of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists Society (NNNS). He was also voted in as a fellow of the Royal Zoological Society and became president of the NNNS twice!
I was recently given some of Southwell’s papers, correspondence and notes to examine. It has to be said his handwriting is an acquired learning. Amid lots of letters and scribblings regarding whales and dolphins I came across this passage which touched me somewhat. He was referring to the ‘back story’ of a young White Beaked Dolphin he was examining in Great Yarmouth that had been caught offshore.
“…1881 Sep – Locally known to the Yarmouth fishermen as Scoulter A very young one taken by a Yarmouth boat about 40 miles off the coast on 10th Sept 1881. It was accompanied by its mother and appeared not to have been born many hours. The mother followed the boat two hours after its young one was taken, showing obvious signs of distress …”
Given what I have read about what is happening in Taji in Japan and on the Faroe Islands recently it’s a crying shame that in the last 135 years since this event took place we have learn’t comparatively little regarding cetaceans and have progressed in the guardianship of our planet even less. Here is a photograph I took several years ago of a White beaked Dolphin mother with her young enjoying the wildness of the sea.
Stood in the last of the afternoon light last week we approached a small flock of Shorelark. They were a little flighty but as they settled down to feed we ventured a little closer. It took around 30 minutes to get close enough. However being quiet, careful of our shadows and movements seemed to no avail as a lady bowled up the beach and bellowed out ‘What are you looking at?’ Needless to say the flock immediately took flight much to the chagrin of at least one of my companions. Although all was not lost as the seeds from the horned poppies (which have the longest seedpod of any British flower) proved too much temptation as another lady collecting jetsam further up the beach flushed them back!
Not just a Canada Goose … a real one! This Todd’s Canada Goose on the coast at the moment is of the form interior and must have wrapped itself in the company of Pink footed Geese as it made it’s way over from Canada – presumably via an eastern route. Although larger than the accompanying Pinks it would still be dwarfed by any Canada from your park pond.
As we watched the flock distantly in order not to spook them I couldn’t help thinking as I blew into my hands to keep them warm that winter had well and truly arrived! The wind was freezing.