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October 2014



Image of the Month


Snettisham at dawn

I think that spending 3 sunrises at Snettisham Beach to coincide with the high spring tides, has to count as one of my all time favourite wildlife experiences.  Having got up before dark and walked quietly down towards the mudflats at Snettisham, it's exciting to set up and look out over the mudflats and begin to make out the shapes of the Knott as the toodle up and down, one way and then the other way!  It's virtually impossible to grasp the numbers of birds in the huddle but the sense of busy-ness and movement is extraordinary.

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I decided to invest my photography time trying to capture the sense of movement amongst the birds so I experimented with slow shutter speeds and panning.  Whether this was a wise decision is another matter!  In truth the birds were too far away and there probably wasn't the light for what I was trying to achieve and so I should have gone for a more standard approach.  The Knott toodle about, with the birds on the edge of the flock lifting off when their feet get wet, and then settling back down again amongst the group.  They do this over and over again and sometimes, or eventually, the entire flock will go up and wheel overhead before dropping into the pits behind the onlookers.  

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After a spectacular dawn and an equally spectacular breakfast, we pottered off in search of other wading birds.  Most weren't particularly cooperative and kept a frustrating distance away, but they were great fun to watch.  
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Morning 2 seemed to be even darker and the Knott seemed to be even further away but I was intrigued by the moving shape of the flock and the contrast and shapes of the mudflats.  I don't expect these pictures will be everybody's cup of tea but... I like them!  
Morning 3 was characterised by thick fog and although we could hear the birds, it was a 'white-out'.  Found a few obliging Stonechat later on though!
I went with Chris Gomersall and learnt a huge amount listening to his description of the birds and marvelling at his knowledge.  I'd love to be able to recognise a flock of birds flying over the sea no matter what the distance!  Thanks Chris!
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Red Deer Rut
I usually try to photograph the Red Deer rut each October/November and once again this year, I went up to Bradgate Park in Leicestershire.  So yes, these aren't wild Red Deer from the Highlands of Scotland.  These deer are habituated to humans but still display the characteristics of wild deer... but you can get reasonably close to them.
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