Photo Gallery: Norwich photographer Jonathan Lewis captures Norfolk's spring wildlife
PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 April 2013
Jonathan Lewis, Norfolk Wildlife Photography
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 April.
Finally, spring has arrived after what seemed like a never-ending winter.
Signs of the new season are everywhere and nature is frantically making up for the lost months of winter. Species are focused on mating, fighting, feeding or flowering.
In the woods, the first plant species of the year are now in full flow; dog’s mercury is one of the first plants of the year to carpet the floor and be seen all around some woods in Norfolk. This plant is an indicator of ancient woodland, see if you can spot it next time you take a walk.
As snowdrops fade and die, primroses emerge in their place adding a much-needed splash of colour to the woodland. One by one other flowers and plants follow creating a colourful backdrop.
Due to the warmer weather, many species dormant over the winter have now emerged.
Adders can be seen sunbathing in areas of heathland around Norfolk. For the best chances of seeing them take a slow and quiet walk around Kelling Heath or Syderstone Common, both of these locations are home to high densities of this often-unseen snake.
Bats too are emerging and can be seen swooping around catching prey. Using echolocation they can chase and catch small and fast prey.
Their echolocation is so precise that they can tell where the insect is, how big it is and what direction and speed it is moving in.
Take a listen and you will hear that spring has begun too. If you hear a “chiff chaff” call then you’re hearing one of this year’s new arrivals, the aptly named chiffchaff.
These small olive coloured birds have travelled from Southern Europe and Africa to spend the summer in Norfolk.
Swallows have also now begun to arrive and can be seen perching on telegraph wires and gracefully catching insects in mid-flight.
Many birds are now in the process of making nests and are busily collecting material to make the perfect home for their young. This treecreeper has collected up a mouthful of feathers to line the nest in order to keep the eggs warm.
My kingfishers have been courting over the last month or so but now the female has disappeared into their burrow to lay eggs. She will incubate the eggs for around 20 days and then both will feed the young until they are grown enough to fish for themselves. During this time they will need to catch up to 100 small fish every day so they will be incredibly busy.
Now that spring is here, nature is keen to catch up. Food is now in abundance but the new challenge is getting enough of it to feed young over their most vulnerable stages.
May wildlife to watch out for…
- Bluebells carpeting the woods
- Butterflies emerging
- The arrival of swifts
- Hawthorn bushes in bloom
Jonathan Lewis is 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.