Archive for the 'photography' Category

21
Sep
17

Looking for Whales and finding butterflies

It’s not every day you get a message stating there’s a whale 14 miles inland. From photos sent to me it was obviously a Minke Whale – maybe quite a young individual and obviously quite dead; although earlier in the day it had been seen alive. Oh what the hell, I needed a few photos of buildings in King’s Lynn to complement the chapter on whaling in the book I’m writing, so a trip to the other side of the county was on the cards anyway. So I might as well go and have a look at this whale in the Great River Ouse at the same time. Perhaps take a few measurements and maybe try and sex it for the records. To be honest I’ve enough on at the moment but it was an opportunity to have a break.

When I got to Downham Market there was no sign of the damn whale. I confirmed with a local chap exactly where it had been the previous evening. Tell me again … exactly how do you lose a whale?

Overnight there had been a hell of a south westerly blowing, it even woke me up it was that loud. Combined with a high tide the wind had obviously dislodged the animal and it was floating free somewhere. The question was, upstream or downstream? The tide was running in and all floating objects were going upstream. However the strong wind had been pushing downstream overnight as had the tide. I decided to check both. I climbed in the car and ventured forth on rolling fen roads for mile after mile. The thing is, fen roads are built on a peat subsoil that absorbs and loses water through the season; so the ground ends up swelling and shrinking. It rises and falls like a bride’s nightgown. You end up travelling on tarmac something akin to the world’s longest fair ride. Anyways, I checked the length of the river from bridge after bridge between Denver sluice and Kings Lynn – nada, nothing, nil! All I found were a swift, which clipped my ear as it flew southwards against the still strong wind, and a Common Seal which was almost as lost as the whale. It stared at me with one of those sorrowful big eyed looks and I’m sure it shrugged its shoulders and raised its eyebrows at one point.

For my troubles I got a good chastising from an Anglian Water worker for parking in a gateway but even that was preferable to the bull which headed at a not inconsiderable pace in my direction causing me to beat a hasty retreat. Next time I see a sign saying ‘Bull with Cows in Field’ I might take more notice.

However, as I was packing up and heading for my photographic foray in Kings Lynn I spotted something small in the grass. It wasn’t a whale. It was a blue butterfly. A Common Blue. Not that unusual sure, but a very contrasty Common Blue. A late one too.

Forever looking for whales and finding butterflies.

 

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15
Sep
17

Camouflaged

Some creatures can be right before your eyes … but can take some finding. I was thinking back this week to January … the 15th to be exact. A memorable wonderful day of new things. As I walked on the isolated island of Magdalena, off Punto Arenas in southern Chile, I passed a shoreline of stones. The Magallenic Penguins were perhaps the highlight, or maybe the Sei Whales or the Commerson’s Dolphins we saw on the return ferry journey. However, hidden among the rocks were Rufous chested Dotterels. Simply unseen until seen. So many highlights to mention … in such a wonderful place.

10
Sep
17

Beautiful

We saw this Chinese Water Deer on tour last weekend. A small alien from the other side of the world but no less beautiful for that.

 

07
Sep
17

Visiting Travellers

As we walked down the dunes on Sunday there was a flock of swallows making their way slowly south towards Africa. Feeding as they went. Then they rested a while before moving on again. They are enough to lift any heart. Unencumbered, no ties, able to fly where they wish. Not without reason we say something or someone is as free as a bird. They travel between continents at will – do you envy them?

04
Sep
17

Breaking Cover

Sat in the hide last week as we looked out over the marshes this little fella broke cover. He came out of his hidi-hole and stepped into the sunshine for a bit of a preen; and who can blame him. Some good weather over the last few weeks here in Norfolk. However, experience tells me we’ll pay for it in the long run.

01
Sep
17

AFON

Wouldn’t it be good if the politicians sat down and talked properly with the CEO’s of the wildlife organisations in the UK? Wouldn’t it be good if the CEO’s talked among themselves and they all sang from the same hymn sheet when lobbying the politicians? Just think what could be achieved if this happened.

The only way of making this happen is to bring these people together at an early stage. AFON (A Focus On Nature) probably has the future leaders of the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Natural England, The Forestry Commission etc, etc, already within their ranks. These people know one another. They know one another NOW as they are developing their skills as individuals within a group. They are experiencing their early years TOGETHER. There are probably future wildlife law makers among their number too.

I am a mentor for AFON and have been in there from the start. I realised then, and I maintain now, that we must rear a new breed of wildlife enthusiast to protect our future.

I went out again with Catherine Bullen the other week. I am one of her AFON coaches guiding her on the next steps within her career as a wildlife photographer. Note her name. She’s good. You will be seeing more of her work in the future I’m sure. Take a look at some of her photos on her website http://www.catherinebullen.co.uk and by friending her on facebook. https://www.facebook.com/catherinebullenphotography

To reach people; to touch people’s hearts and minds, sometimes words are not enough – you need a good image to make them sit up and listen. Caroline is one of the people that will help to do that in future.

29
Aug
17

Spoonies

After the first breeding a few years ago spoonbills are now very much a part of the Norfolk bird-scape. On tours last week it didn’t matter where we went, east , west, coast, Brecks or Broads there they were. These two, an adult and a rather vocal begging youngster, were at Holme.




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