Thing's finally ADD(er) up!. March 2015.

After three or four years my Dad and I finally got to find, and for me, to photograph Adders. I had seen an Adder before in Norfolk, many years ago. But back then I wasn't into my photography and I really wanted to get some shots of these snakes. So here we were, my Dad and I, after searching for a few hours and as many a time before, could not locate any Adders. Maybe it was too cold? Maybe it was too early for this location? Here we go again we thought, and then on our last sweep of the heath......I found one!
Thank the Snake Gods, Oh my what a relief, I couldn't believe it, after all these visits we had finally found one. The image above is how I found the 1st one, tucked under the edge of a heather bush.....and did you notice I said "1st"??? Yes just like the saying "You wait for ages for one bus and then two come along", well that's exactly what happened whilst I was waiting for the 1st one to re-emerge.  
Any movement close by to them and they slowly move back under the cover of the heather clumps, but with a patient wait they re-emerge to sun themselves again, and today they were constantly being driven back under the heather by the amount of dogs running around freely,and they all decided to make a bee-line straight for my Dad and I, but more of that later. The image above is of the 2nd Adder, which my Dad located whilst I was with the 1st, so I quietly joined him and snapped off a few shots, meanwhile my dad departed to look for more and sure enough to his delight he found another,pictured below.

This 3rd snake was the largest of the lot. And with a plentiful supply of Common Lizards around it's not surprising. Another snake was seen disappearing under some heather by my Dad which made 4 snakes seen, we were so pleased it had finally gone right us. I spent some time from then on photographing the 3 individuals on show, patiently and painfully waiting for them to slide back into the sun, laying prone and leaning on my elbows caused my neck to seize up give me grief, but I wasn't going to be put off,the pain would have to stay. And getting back to the dogs, well some were very pleasant, and blending in so well, our own fault really, head to toe almost in Realtree clothing seemed to make us invisible to the owners whom didn't have any idea we were there until they saw their dogs jumping all over us, but when I turned and saw a huge Mastiff slowly walking towards me, I thought being on the ground wasn't such a good idea so I gladly stood up, but he was adorable and friendly when he actually got to me. One such pair of dogs however had me shouting at the owners to get their dogs back because of the chaos they were creating, I was just about to shoot off a set of images as the Adder was emerging from the heather when one of these dogs ran around and around barking between me and the snake! of course the snake then departed the scene, and the dog then ran off with one of my Dads gloves! these owners did not and could not control their dogs at all. 

It was a great experience photographing and watching these snakes and look forward to returning again. I was surprised how small the head looked, and they really increased their body size when they flattened themselves out to absorb as much sun as possible. Once I had gotten some shots we set off back to the car and then onto but The Lodge RSPB for a quick look for a Lesser spotted woodpecker seen a couple of days before, but there was no sign, that didn't matter as it had been the Adder's that had stolen the day.

Close Encounters of the Weasel kind.

Today I accompanied Sarah to The Lodge RSPB, where she had an interview. I decided to take a walk around whilst waiting for her. Straight away I had a great encounter with a Weasel, I heard some movement in the bracken next to me so I kept still and waited to catch a movement. It was only seconds when all of a sudden a lovely little weasel poked his head out of the undergrowth before disappearing, just feet from myself. I followed its movement along the bracken line and on a couple of occasions it popped its head up to view around. It then started to move away from me, so I made a squeaking sound and upon hearing this noise it turned around and ran back straight towards me whereby it stood up on its front legs on a fallen branch and sussed me out before resuming its course...what a buzz.
I next ventured around the old heath towards Jack's Pond. All the time Common Buzzards were calling overhead. I sat up at the ponds edge and straight away saw Common Newts, at least 6. Then I head some movement from the other side of the pond and caught a glimpse of a tail disappearing, keeping my eyes on the area I then spotted a Common Lizard moving around. It then proceeded to move to the waters edge to drink giving great views with the bins, before it too moved away out of sight in the undergrowth. With the sky looking like rain approaching, I headed back towards the car and to meet up with Sarah. I also had great views of Nuthatch, Treecreeper and lots of Goldcrest to make this a great mornings walk.

Fog slowly clears to reveal many Meadows.

 With my kitchen being decorated, once again!, I knew I was going to be busy helping my friend Mark with the work so I decided not to get any sleep after my last night shift and head straight out. I was only going to stay local and thought an early Wheatear could be possible. And sod's law upon finishing work I was greeted by foggy conditions. So I waited at home for it to hopefully lift and just over the hour later it seemed to of diminished a tad so I headed out. Of course no sooner had I left the village that it seemed to be more dense where I was heading.

 With the sounds of Skylark above and Corn Buntings rattling away the fog slowly eased away. I didn't find any Wheatear but there was a large number of Meadow Pipits busily feeding, so I at least had some birds to photograph.There was some difference in the plumage, with some quite white and slightly worn and some very fresh with rich buff tones on the breasts and throat areas.

 This individual was actively displaying to prospective females that ventured close to him, a funny squat, flit up and scurry around in a circle movement.

 After a while the Pipits were approaching closer and closer, at times I couldn't focus and had to be happy just observing them.  And as an ending note I am pleased to say that I spotted a newt quickly swim into hiding when I checked the pond a few days ago.

Feels like Spring.

Even though I was at work yesterday I managed to patrol around some land that is part of my workplace. It runs adjacent to a river and has a small area of woodland. Just over a week ago Sarah and I had seen our first Brimstone of the year whilst in the car, and with the weather how it was on this Saturday, surely it would bring something out. Firstly I watched a few bees feeding on the expanse of Snowdrops on the edge of some woodland, one was white tailed so either Bombus Lucorum or Bombus Hortorum probably but I am only going by my reference books, I shall have to remember my pocket camera in future!
Then I spotted a Brimstone flash past before noticing some fresh and colourful Small Tortoiseshell's, I saw at least 4 of these before adding a single Red Admiral. The pair of Great crested grebes were once again active along the same stretch of river, definitely change is in the air.
I have also completed another painting of a Eastern Yellow Robin, which you can view on my Artwork Blog.

New painting Added. Long Eared Owl.

Visit my Artwork Blog to see the progression of my latest painting from start to finish.

Sand, Sea and Seals, oh and a few birds too. Norfolk. February 2015.

 Thankfully this trip came around so quick it was perfect, couldn't wait to get back up to Norfolk with Sarah. We were staying just outside Holt and decided to head up early and start our trip off with a stop at Titchwell then work along the coast towards the Hotel. The day was quite misty/foggy but it felt great to be out and about on the Norfolk coast.

 I had taken some smaller camera gear so it was a walk and shoot effort and snap at what I could. As per norm at Titchwell we headed to the sea and then walked along to Thornham point. As always we walked the shoreline as I like the opportune moments of pics when the waders fly by, mind you at the speed they pass it is a challenge for sure. With the usual groups of Sanderling, Dunlin, Bar tailed Godwits I was kept busy looking.

 One aspect of the beach that draws my attention are the sands and the formations they make, absolutely stunning some times and this morning was no exception. In the picture above I couldn't get my head around what a contrasting edge this was, Some way from the water, how did it stop being formed in one way to the very next smooth transition, stunning.

 And then the black sediment left in a washed away effect, I just could not take my eyes off the patterning.

 After losing myself in the sands it was back to the birds, with a lot of Scoter and a pair of Mergansers off the coast, the birds seemed to almost vanish, so we headed back towards the car to move along a bit further.

 Our next stop was at Wells next the Sea. We parked up towards the Wells woods near the sea front and ventured out towards the beach huts. I hadn't actually ever walked this part of the coast before and I could see why it was so popular with visitors. We trekked to the end of the huts and then out to the shoreline heading back. There were 206 beach huts there! and no I didn't count them all, I went by the numbering on the hut fronts!

 Once we were back at the car park we headed into the woods and around the Dell. There we were to find the largest congregation of Goldcrests I had ever seen. There were at least 20 in the tree and bush immediately in front of me at one stage and I could hear more around the neighbouring area. We were both transfixed with these little beauties just feet from us.

 Throughout the trip I used my little pocket camera to take some panoramic shots of the landscape. 

 Here we have some more weird sand formations, these looking more like plant growth! Such detail.

 Panoramics of Wells beach and its huts and woods bordering the sand dunes before meeting Holkham.

Day 2 and we ventured, after a hearty cooked breakfast, to Horsey Beach to see the Grey seal colony there. We had been there before and just hoped there were some seals present.

We were not to be disappointed either, with a few groups on the beach sleeping it off there were plenty of photographic opportunities. Although quite a few people were visiting the colony I headed to the furthest group and with least watched group. With a slow and timely approach we were sitting close these lovely seals, who were content with our presence and carried on sleeping. There were a few younger pups there, no longer in there white fur as they would of been during December. I had originally stumbled upon this colony a few years back in December when after a Desert Wheatear, back then the pups were in their white coats.

Using the rocks as pillows or just upended on their backs, it was a lovely and rewarding morning spent with these animals. It has to be said that because it such and easy and open viewing area the people that visit are not always that clued up and wildlife aware. With mums too busy talking to watch the kids running back and forth making them wary and blokes boldly walking up to the nearest rock and standing atop it to get a picture, then wonder why they have all unnecessarily moved towards the waters edge?? For all those numpty idiots...take your time, admire how lovely they are and approach with caution and ease and treat them as wild and not a pet shop viewing pen! and as for the mums that bring their kids...have a bit of awareness and think of the wildlife and not what new bit of gossip you have to tell..have a bit of control over your kids its not a playground....moan over.