A Few of my Favourite Things...
How do you decide what your favourite Nature
photograph is (that you may have taken) ? What do you think makes it a
This was taken 3 years ago at Minsmere, on a
joint Birthday trip in the April. We sat in the Bittern hide and had
views of this incredible bird as it worked it's way round the edge of the reeds
for nearly an hour. All you could hear were camera shutters and if you glanced
around the hide, there were lots of delighted faces! Prior to that, we'd only
ever had the briefest of glimpses, so watching that afternoon, we had a huge
treat. There is something rather prehistoric about Bitterns, Egrets and
Herons, but watching them hunt for food is a lesson in patience and
At the end of last year. I found a small
Common Lizard colony on my 'local patch' They are fascinating to watch
and are great little characters. This was taken earlier this year when
they were starting to appear with warmer temperatures. This character
'posed' for me for quite a while - I simply lurk quietly and patiently nearby
and after a while, the Lizards get cautiously curious. They are really
hard to see now as their 'home' is well and truly overgrown, so looking forward
to the autumn when I stand a good chance of seeing them out basking again.
We recently stayed on the Isle of
Mull and on one of the days we went for a
stroll at Calgary. Now on previous visits elsewhere in the UK, I'd only
seen these at 'Hubble telescope' distances, so getting close views of these
charismatic little birds was a real treat! This character was foraging in
the seaweed on the rocks and shows a perfect habitat for the bird as well as
capturing the colours I'd been seeing all around the water's edge on the
island. (I also have a few others in this 'series' not as clear, but capturing
for me, the bird's foraging activity) A perfect combination!
There is a patch of land nearby which forms a
natural annexe to the woodland that I walk in, however it has now been cleared
and houses are to be built on it. Most of it was brambles, nettles and hogweed,
however, here and there were patches of Comfrey, a real old fashioned plant.
I love seeing it's drooping bells which are so delicately coloured.
The local bees love it too, near to this patch was a bees' nest and they
and others were taking full advantage of the blooms. This was taken on a very
warm day, which was a bit breezy; it appealed because I simply loved the
colours and watching the Bee just going about it's business.
Back in June, we spent a couple of days in
Dunwich and after a very exciting and eventful previous couple of days (I'd met
the BBC Springwatch Digital Team, had a guided tour of how
the programme is made courtesy of Laura Howard, been in the Unsprung audience,
met Stephen Moss and been interviewed on the Red Button by Laurence Whitaker)
early on the Friday morning, I decided that a little calm was in order! I
got up very early and went for a walk at one of my favourite locations, Dingle
Marsh. Tranquil and sublime! The Egret had flown past me shortly
before, but as I was walking back I could see it fishing through the reeds,
oblivious to me. So I tried with the camera and this is what I got... a
favourite photo of a favourite bird, going about it's business, untroubled by
We paid a visit to RSPB Lakenheath a while back and the reedbeds were full of singing Reed Warblers. Try as I might, it was very hard to get a clear view of them, however I'd recently taken similar images of a Little Egret through the reeds and rather liked the 'I can see them, they can't see me' effect of their habitat. So here's a peek at a Reed Warbler, singing away whilst on lookout, in it's own environment, seemingly unaware of the 'Umanbean onlookers.
I don't usually go out with the intention of
seeing just one species, usually I simply go out and take pot luck, however, on
this occasion, I was determind to see Short Eared Owls. In late December
I spent an afternoon at Burwell Fen and as the sun began to sink the owls came
out. They are beautiful to watch and although I only managed a few decent
photo's I was in very silly grin mode coming away afterwards. I shall
definitely be keeping a lookout for them this autumn.
This was also taken back in June on the early morning walk on Dingle Marsh. I have found that the Skylarks there, there, if approached quietly and with care are quite confiding; I have had many an early morning serenade from them as well as beautifully close views. I could see something moving around amongst the plants - they blend in very well and after a moment or two was able to pick the bird out quite easily. With a bit of patience and stillness, I was able to get close views; this, along with some of the other Skylark images I have taken there over the years, always takes me back to one of my favourite places and some favourite nature moments.
I have a real soft spot for these magnificent
native wild animals and whenever we go to the Forest of Dean endeavour to try
and see them. This was taken in April of this year when we spent a few
days in the Forest, where we had some beautiful views of a few adults.
Whilst these are powerful animals and must be treated with care and
respect, we have never found them to be aggressive but instead cautiously
curious. This one appeared, looking a little bleary eyed, close to the
edge of the track we were on and simply gazed calmly back at us for a while,
before disappearing silently back into the undergrowth. A magic moment
On our last morning on the Isle of Mull, we
spotted a 'first' which was this very relaxed Harbour Seal, who was
lounging on a large flat rock. The rock was conveniently close to the
shore and never having seen a Seal at such close quarters, the camera was
grabbed and I fell out of the car to take advantage - he was posing so nicely
it was rude not too!' Whilst I was watching him, a large Gull landed at
the 'tail' end of the rock.. The Seal paid no heed until the Gull decided to
walk along behind him, finally appearing next the the Seal's head. The
look on the Seal's face was priceless - it didn't know whether to carry on
watching me or whether to watch the Gull and was kind of briefly was trying to
look two directions at once; fortunately, the Gull decided to take off, so the
Seal continued a more relaxed lounge for a while!
Of course, everytime I go out, I have a 'new' favourite image however the last two below are images which I 'had in my head and finally got on the camera' for a very long time, both special and favourites for very different reasons.
Sand Martins :