Thursday, 29 March 2012

RSPB Minsmere

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After signing up to be a member of the RSPB, I decided to go to one of their well known reserves that I hadn't been to yet, Minsmere. I wanted to spend most of the day there, so I set off at 5am because it takes a hour and 10 from mine.

I decided to spend the whole day in one hide, as I am yet to do this. This meant that I didn't see much of the reserve but allowed me to document and record the same area all day. It ended up being a 10 hour shoot with no breaks and in 1 hide. This was a test of my patience as there were long periods with no activity.

View from the hide, 2 deer in the water and 1 on the path.

The key species I wanted to photograph were Bittern and Otters but both are elusive species.

I didn't see any otters but did end up seeing 4 bitterns. 2 flew straight past the hide and another one walked down a path next to the hide for about a minute, but was quiet a distance away from me. It wasn't until 3:30pm, 9 hours into my shoot that one flew into the reed beds but the lighting wasn't great for photography.

Other species I photographed and documented were:

4 Bitterns, 4 Marsh Harriers collecting reeds for nest material, 4 Red Deer, 2 Water Rail, 2 Cetti's Warblers, a Kingfisher, 2 Monkjack's, Mating Greylag Geese, Mating Coots, Reed Bunting, Squirrel and the rare Blue Tit.

So it wasn't a bad day really and I met some nice people as well. One being Norman Tottle who gave me a few locations and local knowledge around the area, which was good.

Here are a few of the images from the day.

Bittern flying over the water.
Water Rail flying into the reeds.
Marsh Harrier collecting reeds for its nest.
Red deer in the reeds.

Bittern flying over the reeds.
Cetti's Warbler displaying for mate.
Cetti's Warbler hiding in the reeds.
Bittern wading through the water.
Marsh Harrier soaring.
Red deer.

Red deer in the water.

Red Deer grazing.

During the day, 4 Red deer came into the water to cool down. It was a great experience even though it annoyed some twitchers who stormed off in angry. They then came and slept in front of the hide for the next hour. They were too close to photograph 90% of the time, but great to watch.

  • Patience pays off.
  • Wear suncream in hides (My hands got burnt)
  • Speak to people and you will pick up local knowledge and tips.
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Thursday, 22 March 2012

RSPB Norfolk

After returning home from Cornwall,  I decided to go on a shoot in North Norfolk as the weather was great. I wanted to find Black Throated Divers and Black Necked Grebes, so I did a little research on recent sightings and came to the conclusion that I should head to Snettisham and Titchwell, which are both RSPB Reserves.  They had both had sightings in the past few weeks, so it was a long shot but was better then nothing.

I ended up not finding either of the birds I wanted to, which is normally the case with wildlife photography, but still had a great day and photographed a number of different species.

Key Species:
Great Egret, Avocets, Skylark, Bar-Tailed Godwits, Shovelers, Barnacle Geese, Goldeneyes and a Common Lizard

Here are a few shots from today:

Barnacle Goose

Avocets Mating

Avocet Feeding


Flock of around 1000 geese

Bar-Tailed Godwit wading

Shoveler Preening


  • Research locations to have more luck finding specific species (even though I didn't find them on this occasion)
  • Make the most of locations and photograph all of the species
  • Patience in the hides pay off for behaviour shots ie. Avocets mating
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