Monday, December 3, 2012
Every month, we are following in the footsteps of local wildlife photographer Jonathan Lewis. Here is his perspective of what was happening in wild Norfolk during November.
By November, winter has really tightened its grip on Norfolk’s wildlife. The bright glow of October’s reds and oranges has faded.
But although it may look bleak out there it can be a great month for wildlife watching.
It’s a superb time to watch birds as many species flock together, a phenomenon you don’t see in the other seasons.
Starlings, wagtails, gulls, tits and waders all join together in large groups which make for fantastic wild viewings.
Strumpshaw Nature reserve or neighbouring Buckenham Marsh are good places to view massive flocks of starlings (collectively known as a murmuration) fly together in what looks like a highly choreographed show.
Another reliable place to see large numbers of birds together is Snettisham beach in west Norfolk, where you can view enormous flocks of geese and other waders congregating during high tides.
My woodland hide has really come to life over the last month. Over the summer the area is fairly quiet and the birds seem to almost disappear but as soon as the colder weather arrives they return in numbers.
Mixed species flocks maraud around the woodlands in search of food and when they arrive at the hide together the area is transformed into a feeding frenzy with up to fifty birds communicating with each other excitedly.
The foxes I photograph are also becoming more reliable now that the cold weather is here.
They are working hard to gain enough weight to see them through the tough winter months so they can breed again in the spring.
I look forward to photographing these fascinating, beautiful (and in my opinion unfairly maligned) animals over the winter months.
October brought a very welcome visitor to one of the fields I photograph on a regular basis. A young barn owl, born this year and turfed out by its parents at the end of summer, has set up home in the area and is learning the skills required to survive the winter.
To see it float around the field so gracefully and silently is a real pleasure.
If you’d like to see wild barn owls then Buckenham Marshes offer good viewing opportunities, the best time to visit to see this species is dawn and dusk when they are hunting.
December wildlife to watch out for…
- Starling flocks, try Strumpshaw for massive flocks
- Goose flocks, visit Snettersham to witness thousands of geese congregate
- Grey squirrels gathering together stocks for the winter
- Grey seal young off the North Norfolk coast
Jonathan Lewis in a wildlife photographer based near Norwich. He runs a variety of courses and tours both in Norfolk and further afield. For more information visit www.norfolk-wildlife-photography.co.uk or www.facebook.com/norfolkwildlifephotography.