An unreliable memoir

Posts tagged “wildlife


Little Egret

One day I’ll post a picture of a Little Egret and write a really interesting description to go with it.

But not today.

They’re beautiful birds, I’ve just run out of things to say about them. Although if you know egrets, you can see that this one is doing the “foot shuffling to disturb prey” thing with its left leg.



Bravely the reserve manager ploughed on with his talk, drilling deep down into the finer aspects of grassland management. But everyone had their attention firmly fixed on the Robin photobombing him from the hedge.

Robin, Erithacus rubecula

Crazy Like A Moorhen


If you’re bonkers like the Arctic Tern, you fly all the way from the Arctic to the Antarctic, then as soon as you get there you turn around and fly all the way back again, doing the equivalent of three round trips to the Moon in your lifetime. If, on the other hand, you’re a Moorhen, you build yourself a cozy nest and stay pretty much in one place your entire life.

Inside me there’s a Moorhen struggling to stay right where it is. Big fish in a small pond.

Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus.

Wagtail on the wire

Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea

Two hours in the marsh and nothing else to show for it. Very few birds around and the camera was sulky and uncooperative all afternoon, I think it was feeling the cold. Nice sunset though.

Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea. Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f8 600mm 1/125 ISO 800



And then he slowly flapped away upstream.

Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea. Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f6.3 600mm 1/60 ISO 800

What are you looking at?

Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus.

What are you looking at? You’re certainly not looking at an owl. You’re looking a a grid of coloured squares. Or are you looking at the idea of an owl? Complicated, this photography thing. Watch Hockney on owls: Photoshop is boring.

My recent encounter with a Short-eared Owl had an impact on me. While I was trying to sort out the mess caused by ISO 1000 on my elderly sensor I came across this view. For someone who was raised on Whally Whyton and Wol (Pussycat Willum’s sidekick if your memory is fading – the rest of you can Google it), there’s something about owls…

Joining the Strigidazzi

Short-eared Owl

One does not simply photograph a Short-eared Owl. First one must join the Strigidazzi.
Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus. Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f6.7 600mm 1/60 ISO 1000

An eye-wateringly expensive visit to the dentist left me behind schedule arriving at Owl Meadows. I was lucky to get a parking space – the verge was full to bursting. Of course the owl was bang on schedule, turning up right on the dot. I paid the price for my lateness in two ways. The Twitcherati were only too delighted to tell me that just before I arrived it had been quartering the field along the fence line. By the time I was set up it was right over the far side of the field. And “Sunny Intervals” turned out to mean a lovely sunset, but with the sun behind a big bank of cloud which pushed my ISO up over 1000 at that range. Standing for an hour watching the bird working the field while the sun set was still the highlight of the week.

I may have become a Twitcher. Shoot me now.

The Strigidazzi, Homo strigidus
The Strigidazzi, Homo strigidus

The Understated Duck


The stupid thing is, I’d never noticed Gadwall before about a year ago, but they certainly repay a closer look. Sadly, these were a long way away and it was a lot darker than it looked. Mrs Gadwall is below.

Gadwall, Anas strepera. Nikon D5200 Tamron 150-600mm f9.5 600mm 1/60 ISO 800


The Second Best House in England

The Second Best House in England

This, in my humble opinion, is The Second Best House in England. The Best House in England is owned by the National Trust. (Hint, it isn’t one of the grand ones.) Unlike The Best House in England, The Second Best House in England is derelict (but gracefully so, with a huge bat colony). But it has one huge advantage. In Summer, the meadow you can see in front of the house is lit by a thousand Glow-worms.