Wildlife

James Lowen 

Today's morning sun coaxed me away from the editing desk and onto a Norfolk heath. Here a Woodlark was singing, Brambling were flocking and Siskin were countering. A Red Kite drifted low overhead, even dropping to the ground to pick something up, and a Woodcock exploded from the prickly denseness of a gorse bush. 

But I was after serpentine fare. Suspecting that the heath's reptile residents would have emerged from hibernacula over the past week, I headed to last year's favoured spots, eventually joined by the late-sleeping Will Soar and Dave Andrews. I had nine male Adders in total, and Will and Dave chanced upon a couple of tiny snakes (presumably last year's young) among their haul of 17. One group of five was in last year's 'Medusa' spot, and one male (a dark individual) looked very familiar. The animals were a little skittish mid-morning, but seemed to calm down as it drew towards noon. Nevertheless, the photos - while good, for sure - are not yet a patch on last year's. I'll be back, repeatedly, over the next couple of months, attending to my #adderiction.    

These delightful never came close in the ten minutes or so I had to photograph them, and the images here are taken with my 500 mm and 2x teleconverter. Handheld, with the marvellous Canon 1D X II. Images that I would never dreamed of getting with my 1D IV: they would have been soft, shaky and overexposed. God I like my new camera! 

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21 Feb 2017  Serpents, shorely?


Spring is in the air. I've seen my first queen bumblebees, my first butterflies (both Brimstones), and the hedgehog I was looking after this past week started getting restless towards the end of its sojourn. Down on the beach at Holkham on Sunday, it was really rather mild. The wintering Shore Lark flock shuffled or beetled along, its members intent yet slightly trepidatious, their horned faces warmed with the primrose of a wan sun.