Winter 2011 / 2012 Review

February 29, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I've been very busy this winter.

I started out looking for short-eared owls, back in December. I had one successful day in great light, and although I didn't get very close to the owls, I got some shots I was happy with...

Short-eared owlShort-Eared Owl On my next visit to the same site, I saw no owls at all. I think this was due to the fact that it was a very windy day, and most owls prefer to avoid hunting in these conditions. I did find a pair of swans though, who were the perfect models for some more creative photography...


And then came the snow. I went out in the snow a couple of times, and had no luck with the larger mammals. But the local squirrels lived up to their reputation as busy little characters. They seemed to come out around 2 hours after sunrise, collect a couple of the acorns they'd buried in the autumn, and then get back into their tree hollows to settle in for the cold day ahead. So this window of activity gave me the opportunity to hide in the snow, and watch the action....

Grey Squirrel in snowGrey Squirrel - In Snow Later in February, I took a couple of weekend visits. The first was to the Raptor Foundation, where I spend another great day in the snow, enjoying the flying displays, and photographing the birds on the wing....

Eagle Owl - In flight over snowEagle Owl - In Flight Over Snow I like this eagle owl shot a lot, and it really demonstrates the way in which they fly; really reaching forward with every wing beat - Not your typical technique.

And lastly, I took a weekend trip to Norfolk, to see the grey seals of Horsey beach. I had a great weekend in which I ended up seeing not only grey and common seals, but marsh harriers, hen harriers, a hunting peregrine, barn owls, and a pair of common cranes - all wild, and all in the same day. As soon as I get the photos up from this trip, I'll be posting a blog entry about my experience, and about the mystery of the rapidly growing seal population - coupled with the associated rapid growth in tourism.

So, my plans for spring...

I'm off to the Cairngorms in Scotland for a week in April. Hoping to see ospreys, red squirrels, grouse, mountain hare, gannets, dolphins, and plenty more besides. I'm also on the lookout for 'mad March hares' boxing in the countryside, and I'm still looking for a local fox population, as I would dearly love to photograph foxes in the wild. Then later into the season we have lambs & bluebells. So plenty to be getting on with. Every time I photograph a subject, I learn more about what works and what doesn't, and I grow in confidence in tandem with experience.

If you've got any suggestions for spring, then get in touch. Is there something I haven't thought of? Or do you know where I can find an interesting animal to photograph this season? There must be things I've overlooked.

Post by George Wheelhouse, 2012.


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