Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Cley Wildlife Reserve In Norfolk

Last weekend I spent a day at Cley Marshes which is located on the North Norfolk coast. The area consists of a number of different habitats including pools, reed beds, beaches and grazing fields. This makes an ideal place to find a variety of different bird species.

It is a great location for twitchers with a variety of unusual birds stopping off for a rest during their winter migration. Such reserves are not always best for photographers as they are normally focused towards twitchers, which can be very frustrating when you can see the species, but can't get close enough to get a decent photograph.  This isn't the case here, the hides get you close to the wildlife and there are areas where you can wander around and get closer to the wildlife which I prefer.

Here are a few images from the day that were taken whilst walking around the reserve.

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) hunting over the reeds

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) drying its wings

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) foraging for food.

I prefer the free-roaming approach rather than being confined to the hides, because it allows you to get different angles and compose your photos better, so I spent the majority of the time doing this. But I did get a few shots from the hides, which are below:

Black-Tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) landing

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) on the grazing field
It was a fairly dull day and the images are not as vibrant and as colourful as I would have liked, but nonetheless it was a good experience and I managed to get a few decent shots out of it. However, for the first time ever, I forgot to check my shooting format and later realised I had been shooting on JPEG for the majority of the shoot which is extremely annoying but has taught me a lesson for the future. SO ALWAYS DO YOUR CAMERA CHECKS!!!!

How Hill

The next day I had a short visit to How Hill which is part of the Norfolk Broads. There wasn't a great deal of wildlife around but I did get to see a barn owl in the early morning which was a memorable experience even though I couldn't manage to get close enough for a decent shot. Having said this there were a few shots I took that morning of other birds which have turned out OK.

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) taking off

Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) with their cygnets

  • Check your camera setting before every shoot!!
  • Research the reserves you will be visiting before the shoot day to establish whether they are created primarily for twitchers, or for photographers as well
  • Research recent sightings, so you can look out for the rarer species
Hope you all have a great Christmas and hopefully we will get a bit of snow soon, so I can create a more wintery post next time.

Camera used: Nikon D90
Lens used: 300mm F2.8 with a X2 Converter

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