A collection of wildlife photographs

Friday, 24 June 2016

Botanising in Scotland

On 13 and 14 June 2016, me and some other members of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland headed out around Lamington and Coulter in part of the upper Clydesdale recording week. It was fun and some of the plants we recorded on those days are shown below.

Common Butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris

Common Butterwort has sticky leaves which trap insects. This plant is also present on the side of the majority of the mountain trail up Ben Nevis.

Bitter-vetch Lathyrus linifolius
Common Rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium on steep (65°) and thus well drained bank
Brittle Bladder-fern Cystopteris fragilis growing out of the walls of a ruin
Marsh Yellow-cress Rorippa palustris in centre with the tough growing, Shoreweed Littorella uniflora at bottom right
Common Water-crowfoot Ranunculus aquatilis
Pink Purslane Claytonia sibirica

Thursday, 7 April 2016

The coast of Norfolk

On a visit to Norfolk over the Easter, we saw a myriad of wildlife including the following.

On a boat trip from Blakeney out through the harbour to Blakeney point, approximately 20 seals were observed on the shore. The photograph below shows Common Seals Phoca vitulina and Grey Seals Halichoerus grypus next to each other for comparison. Grey Seals are much larger and darker in colour than Common Seals, and also have longer noses.
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus in foreground and two Common Seals Phoca vitulina in background

A variety of birds were seen through the week. These included Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, Turnstone Arenaria interpres and Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta, The most abundant sites visited were Cley Marshes, Hickling Broad, Titchwell Marsh and Holkham. A few photos are shown below.
Greylag Goose Anser anser

Greylag Goose Anser anser
Brent Goose Branta bernicla and Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Female Shelduck Tadorna tadorna in foreground 
Male and female Teal Anas crecca
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola in winter plumage
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Sanderling Calidris alba
Sanderling Calidris alba
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A farewell to winter at Wicken Fen

On Saturday 27th February I took another trip to Wicken Fen to go for a walk. I went earlier in the day this time, arriving at 2pm and leaving at 5:30pm, and got less birds of prey and owls, missing the Harriers Circus sp. and Short-eared Owls Asio flammeus we had recorded at the end of January. Next time I will stay until dark again, to hopefully see more large birds hunting or returning to roost. I still saw Barn Owl Tyto alba, Buzzard Buteo buteo and Kestrel Falco tinnunculus, though, along with an assemblage of other bird species, such as Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Lapwing Egretta garzetta, Fieldfare Turdus pilaris, as well as another spectacular murmuration of Starlings Sturnus vulgaris.

Mute Swans Cygnus olor
Buzzard Buteo buteo
Buzzard Buteo buteo
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Barn Owl Tyto alba hunting over rough grassland in early dusk,
whilst a Woodpigeon Columba palumbus flies from a perch
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
Starling Sturnus vulgaris murmuration sequence 1/7
Starling Sturnus vulgaris murmuration sequence 2/7
Starling Sturnus vulgaris murmuration sequence 3/7
Starling Sturnus vulgaris murmuration sequence 4/7
Starling Sturnus vulgaris murmuration sequence 5/7
Starling Sturnus vulgaris murmuration sequence 6/7
Starling Sturnus vulgaris murmuration sequence 7/7
Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis with distinctive yellow wing-bar

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Wicken Fen and Anglessey Abbey

These Starlings formed a murmuration over Wicken Fen on 23 January 2016 as dusk set in. They flew like a shoal of fish through the evening sky. The formation of large murmurations might allow them to avoid predation.
A murmuration of  approximately 2,500 Starling Sturnus vulgaris

At Wicken Fen we also witnessed Barn Owls Tyto alba, Short-eared Owls Asio flammeus, as well as the song of Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti, amongst others.

Anglessey Abbey was visited for a walk on 17 January 2016. Several plant species seen here are shown below.

Winter Aconite is a distinctive native species which can form a blanket of yellow flowers early in the year.
Winter Aconite Eranthis hyemalis surrounded by Ivy Hedera helix
Turkish Wood Spurge plant is a common garden plant that reproduces primarily through vegetative propagation (i.e. through underground runners). 
Turkish Wood Spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides subsp. robbiae
Hidcote Comfrey Symphytum officinale x asperum x grandiflorum

Algerian Iris Iris unguicularis

Himalayan Birch Betula utilis var. jacquemontii
This Mallard was also seen on a waterbody in Anglessey Abbey.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

I also heard the chattering of some House Sparrows in a hedgerow in Cambridge. This male was perched on a tree above the hedgerow. 
House Sparrow Passer domesticus

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