Archive for May, 2015

29
May
15

Jockeying for position!

This Male Black Guillemot was trying his best to mount a proposed mate last week. She was having nothing of it! Every time he raised a leg in anticipation of getting on board she changed position … in the end they decided to just sit together and look out to sea. Lovely birds these, so uncommon here in Norfolk but up on Mull and the west coast of Scotland last week we saw plenty.

Black Guillemot_Z5A9114

27
May
15

Over the top

One of my guests on the Mull Tour last week said these were her favourite ducks. I see what she means; we saw several in Yorkshire on our way north … but I prefer something less brash and subtle than a Mandarin. Bit over the top these Orientals!

Mandarin_Z5A8857

25
May
15

Don’t you just love Mull

When I awoke the day before yesterday the weather was still fine and calm; not a ripple on the waters of Tobermory Harbour… an ideal morning to go by boat to the Cairns of Coll before the wind got up later in the day.

As part of our trip to Mull we sail out passed the end of Ardnamurchan peninsula to the cluster of islands at the northern tip of Coll – twenty odd miles. This is Gods own piece of water with all the seabirds you could possibly muster coming to feed within upwelling currents. Throw a couple of White tailed Eagles into the mix of two Skua species, four species of Auk and rafts of Manx Shearwaters and you have a cocktail of birds that is difficult to find anywhere else. Before the weather deteriorated the main players came to the party. A couple of Minke Whales. The first small and active; difficult to photograph. The second was a large animal; slower and easier to focus upon. This one showed to all the group.

As the mammal surfaced to breathe it showed its rostrum and splashguard. The dorsal fin had a small nick in the base of the leading edge – if it’s photographed again or has been previously it should be recognisable.

Harbour Porpoise showed briefly but the healthy colony of Grey and Common Seals showed almost laughable curiosity as we sailed between the islands.

We tipped over one hundred species of bird and nine mammals that day with still a few days of the tour and a stopover in Lancashire set to increase the totals by many more. Don’t you just love Mull!

Minke Whale

Minke 2

23
May
15

Black and White

The upper reaches of the valley we walked in during our trip to Mull last week was full of chirping Pied Flys. Lovely birds these so bold in colour and movement. Sweeping through the branches to perch motionless until a tasty morsel flying past temps them to sally out. Both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers entertained us – interestingly Redstarts were less common.

Pied Flycatcher_Z5A8757

Pied Flycatcher_Z5A8779

21
May
15

Such a Lady

In Kent the Lady Orchids were so close to opening but not quite there! A couple of weeks and maybe they would be in their full spectacle. Some of the intricate patterns on the petals foretold of their future glory. Damn that cold spring!

Lady Orchid

19
May
15

Old Photographs

Flicking through some old photographs the other day I came across this one. Taken a couple of winters ago an unusual angle on a H. Arctic Redpoll.

Hornimni Arctic Redpoll_Z5A3923

17
May
15

Little Egret

An early morning tour the other day and the light was good. I thought this Little Egret and reflection we saw looked quite cool!

Little Egret

15
May
15

Let’s go fly a kite

I tried hard to get this Red Kite in the same frame as the plastic kite. I did it … but not quite the effect I had in mind. #impossiblephotography

Red Kite

13
May
15

My Mate Crake

Everyone knows Corncrakes are crepuscular; hard to get a glimpse of, difficult to see. So spending a little time with a Corncrake is something to be treasured. So what’s better than seeing a Corncrake? Seeing two together of course. Magic, a true rare occasion that couldn’t be bettered… could it? … only if they are mating!

The group on our Mull tour this week got a real special glimpse of something seen previously only by a select few.

If you’re interested in next year’s tour to Mull let me know – in fact come and see us at the Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair at Mannington this weekend and we can answer your questions.

corncrake_Z5A9375

11
May
15

Carpet of Blue

A carpet of Bluebells … some colour!

Bluebells




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