Welney WWT. Norfolk. February 2010.

Welney, well it was bloody cloudy as hell ( not fore casted - surprise surprise ), bloody cold and bloody windy, but what the heck that's just my luck as usual. And why do they open at 10am, most of the activity is done by then, madness!
Obviously I had gone to photograph the swans and I was shocked at how few there were around. Whether due to to a lot of high water and flooding they were more dispersed? there were not even the usual back and forth flights in front of the hides, very different from previous years.

With the hide to myself I set about trying for images on what was available as and when the light broke through. A solitary Lapwing posed well enough and a single Snipe put in an appearance, albeit a tad far off. But I was glad that the stunning colours of the Lapwing stood out so much in the shots.

And because I was in one of the hides off the main observatory the Wigeon there were more confiding. They are such a lovely duck, but another side of them was seen when a group of males were trying to 'propose' to a single female.

They would all congregate in a close knit group and try to gain her attention, it seemed one male was already the partner and would fend off any rival upon nearing her. But the mass of drakes around made it end up in a splashing frenzy of wings, with ducks being submerged chased off and bullied.

The female would then take flight ahead of the noisy chasing party only to land some distance away for the whole chaotic display to start again. Whilst this was happening the others were busily feeding on submerged grasses and weeds.

The Pochards are one of my favourites, the colour of the heads are so striking against the grey and black, and that piercing red eye too.

The Mallard and Tufted may be common but who can deny how glorious the head colours can be when the sunlight shines just right.

A few Whoopers ventured closer to one of the hides and I chanced at some close up head shots as something different.

The best part of the five hours spent here were the Black tailed godwits. They were on a scrape a way off at first but when spooked they would congregate into a tight knit group and venture closer as they flew round and round before settling down. I love to photograph waders and this was a great experience reminiscent to the hordes at Snettisham but on a very smaller scale. Unfortunately they landed on a further off scrape and seemed content to sleep it off.

Snettisham.Norfolk.1st February 2010.

The only decent weather wise day to be fore casted over my days off work and so I headed to Snettisham, mainly to try and photograph the 2 shore larks there, but also the waders which I love to work with.

The tide was in on arrival, half hour behind due to a 40mph lorry-cheers, and quite choppy. I hadn't seen it in this far for a while and the waders were swarming everywhere, albeit further up the wash and over towards Lincs'. But still a great sight no matter how far away. Also did I say it was a bit chilly,no, well it was bloody chilly. Having to have my shutter finger free using mitts wasn't great, even with thermal liners. At one stage my nose actually hurt from the cold, must remember the scarf, you fool...

A merganser was busily hunting fish on the first pool and showed reasonably well, when it was above the water that is.

I never tire of waders and they always become obliging once you've taken your time to approach and work with slowly. Knots are so good to work with and one particular bird could of been a pet on a leash, it shadowed me along the waters edge at times so close I could not focus, but a wonderful experience and everything else around you just fades away to the sidelines.

All the while there I had of course kept an eye out for the shore larks, I came across them just the once and they soon flitted back along towards the chalets out of sight. But after a few hours working the same stretch, a birder gave me the nod and declared 'shore lark', in fact they were closer to me than him, I just couldn't pick them out.

And then they move and you are able to follow them. There were a few birders present so not wanting to put them both up I fired off a couple of record shots and then waited some time until a few of the birders had moved on before slowly edging closer to a more visible area. With the light behind me I inched closer and still feeding one bird actually came closer to me. Obtaining a decent set of images I left them to it. Happy with my first set of shore lark images in the bag, I was feeling a tad warmer now.