Sunday, 11 December 2016

Donna Nook Grey Seals

In late November I went to Donna Nook seal colony on the Lincolnshire coast.
Between late October and early January the seals come ashore to give birth and mate.

After mating, the seal fetus stops development after around a week and then 100 days later it resumes and is born the following November. This is to limit the time spent on land to just a month or two every year as they are such an ungainly species on land, and particularly susceptible to infection.

(For the videos, please press the cog on the bottom corner and select 1080p for HD :p)

Mother and pup

Many turnstones and other shorebirds could be seen feeding on the seal afterbirth, a nutritious meal, however gross it may appear!

After a while the pups begin to moult their fluffy coat and gain a less dense, more water proof layer.
the pups spend quite a lot of time rolling around in the dune grasses rubbing off their coat.

Though, for most of the time, the seals wallowed in the mud without putting on much of a show. And by the time a short lived fight had broken out between two large males, my hands were too cold even to press the record button!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Donna Nook Seals

Just after Christmas I returned to the grey seal colony I visited last year(see January 2015 on the right hand side). The seals arrive around early november, so when I went the seals had mostly left and those that remained were moulting pups. Hopefully I can revisit next year at an earlier date so I can see the newborn pups and the bulls fighting.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Hen Harriers

Today my dad and I went to Wicken Fen to see the Hen Harriers. In total we saw three males and three ringtails (females or immature males) and as with most times I visit, immediately after stepping out of the door I saw one, this time a male flying over a small woodland surrounding the boardwalk. The woodland sadly hid the bird from my camera, but after following them round the fen I got some close shots. However, due to the low light under which the harriers like to roost, I had to raise the ISO number on my camera resulting in a fair amount of noise.  Just before leaving the reserve two males showed down to about ten meters. video below thanks for watching!! If video has trouble click HERE

Please do excuse the grainy video, this is because of the low-light

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Cockchafer Beetle

I was walking home with a friend when I noticed a squished cockchafer beetle on the pavement, then another, and another, and then suddenly a live one with damaged legs. I took it home and after a while of it dragging its back legs around I tried to warm it up but to no avail, so I was forced to put it to sleep with nail polish remover. The next day after a night in 'the relaxation chamber' (a damp shoebox to relax the insect for pinning) it was soft and ready to be dried

(pins are coated in Vaseline for ease of removal after the insect dries on them)

after a trip to town and a few modifications I had a frame to mount it in

so i gave it to my sister as a present for her birthday when we went to visit her at university for a day in the peak district.

Norfolk 2

after the 2 hour drive, we had arrived at Titchwell marsh, we walked up to the visitor center  nearly stepping on frogs enjoying the long awaited rain.
we stopped for hot drinks and meal worms and put some on the table waiting for 'bobbin the robin'
(a friendly robin who will sit on your hand if meal worms are present)
after the robing was full we began to walk up to the sea, and arrived at the saltwater/freshwater scrapes. we looked  with the scope for a bit and were soon onto two Little Ringed Plovers and 3 Red Crested Pochard, after watching the first swifts of the year tumbling around us as they screeched (this screeching is what gained them the name 'devil birds') we walked up to the sea to the amazing clay encased forest remains along the beach, after flushing lots of Turnstones and a little egret whilst looking for rock pool wildlife we looked inside the old bunkers which line the beach and lagoons.

(Bobbin the)  Robin

after visiting Titchwell we visited the famously hard to find Dotterel which stop off on migration at Chosley grain drying barns, which is also known for its corn buntings, however due to the removal of their favorite hedges the bunting numbers have sadly gone down. After my dad quickly found the 'trip' others arrived including the biking birder. on the way back to the car I spotted something bathing in a platform after army crawling towards it I took a few photos.

what I think is a grey wagtail

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Raptor center and norfolk: titchwell, choseley and holme pt 1

At the weekend my dad took me to Norfolk on Sunday as it was my birthday on  30th of April (whoop whoop) and so I stayed at his house on the Saturday to get  nice early start and beat the 'Sunday drivers.' On the Saturday we went to the raptor foundation (a bird of prey rehabilitation center near st. Neots) here are some photographs I took there: