Saturday, 8 May 2010

How do you like your eggs?

After Sunday's trip to the north east coast of England, Tuesday saw me visiting the north west coast and a lot closer to home with trips to my old favourites Marshside and Martin Mere...
The trouble with Marshside is that you really do have to be lucky with the light on the main spit when visiting in the morning, because otherwise you always find yourself shooting into the sun and unfortunately that was the case on this occasion!
Luckily I still managed to get a few decent shots of my target species and a very welcome annual spring visitor the Avocet.

One of the great things about watching wildlife is you quite often see some wonderful and very funny sights!
Tuesday's entertainment was provided by a distant Black-Backed Gull who decided he'd quite fancied the egg of a Canada Goose!

We watched in amazement as the Gull raided a nest site and somehow managed to stuff the large egg in his beak, before calmly swimming across to a nearby island, head held high and egg staying dry.
His dastardly caper soon came to end when his attempts to crack the egg failed and he captured the attention of a very angry Goose that proceeded to chase him all over the spit.
To make matters worse for the hapless Gull and indeed the Goose...While all the chasing around was going on, a opportunist Coot had quietly slipped onto the island and made short work of both cracking and devouring the contents of the egg!

The short drive to Martin Mere was next and the plan was to photograph Shelduck in flight.
Sunday's trip to Bempton Cliffs had been a very successful visit image wise and I had high hopes of carrying on from where I had left off...I should of known better!
Wildlife photography is without doubt the most frustrating genre of photography, as well as the greatest form when things go right.

Sunday had been one of the truly great days...The sort of day that happens very rarely, when everything seems to go right and the birds are just where you want them to be and doing what you want them to do!
In other words a very lucky day!

Need I tell you that the Shelduck in flight plan didn't quite go so well?
There were a number of factors to this...
One being the birds always seemed to be flying into the sun...Who am I trying to kid?
The truth is I just wasn't on my game.
Being on ones game is so important when it comes to the difficult art of trying to photograph birds in flight and if you're not quite 'on it' then your success rate is likely to be low or even zero like mine on this occasion!

All wasn't lost though and there were plenty of Shelduck around basking in the sun that were more than happy to pose for a portrait...

For anybody not familiar with Martin Mere, it is essentially a wildlife reserve run by the very deserving Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT).
Away from the Mere which is a huge haven for wildlife, there is a large and very pleasant captive area.
The Captive area contains mainly Wildfowl from all over the world and plays a very important role in the successful breeding of many endangered bird species.

Apart from birds there is a very successful Beaver breeding program and also a similar project concerning Asian Short-Clawed Otters.

This threatened species of Otter really is a beautiful and very playful creature and I really could have stayed and watched them all day as they frolicked in the sun...Truly magical!
Who'd have thought that one of the favourite foods of these captive Otters would have been hard boiled eggs...


  1. Great serie, the Avocet is very lovely and well composed image ;)