December 2016

Off To See Bittern And Short Eared Owls -What Could Go Wrong?

About this time last year, this area of Titchmarsh LNR was completely flooded — in fact, due to the hole in my wellies and a cascade of icy cold water (which I remember only too well), we were forced to turn back. This year, in contrast, was just muddy — and I had new wellies!

We started off another dank and misty walk watching a pair of marsh tits, next to the iron bridge which crosses the River Nene into Titchmarsh LNR. A red kite lazily floated above the adjacent field and a black and white cloud of lapwings wheeled by over the lake.

But we were here to see the bittern….

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My Dad off to spy a bittern


After laboriously squelching through the mud, we sat in a freezing cold hide, with windows too small for our camera lenses and slightly too high for us to look out of comfortably. Still we endured, scanning the opposite reed-beds expectantly …

For a very long time…

Until…

We did not see the bittern…

We did however see plenty of wrens hopping around in the reeds, several grey heron, a far off pair of golden eye and a field of sheep!

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Wren


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Sheep in a field

Anyway, later that afternoon, sure of success, we set off towards Finedon and Neville's lodge to see the reported short eared owls which had been showing well for the past few days. Unfortunately, not knowing exactly where we were going, we ended up walking straight past Neville's lodge, on what can only be described as an 'epic trek' through mud and more mud, until several miles later, boots weighed down with at least a baby's weight of sticky clay on each foot and dusk fast approaching, we finally returned to our starting point and a 'click' of photographers. Out of breath but relieved to be in the right place - we did NOT see the short eared owls!!

That's just how it goes sometimes, I guess!

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Cleaning muddy boots…


Barn Owl in the Fog

I'm looking forward to better weather and better photographs to come! However, it was a pleasure to see this beautiful bird emerging from the fog and gliding in on silent wings with its prey clenched in its talons…


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Barn Owl

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Barn Owl Returning With Lunch

Fog and Frost at Titchmarsh

An absolutely magical start to the day walking over Titchmarsh LNR and watching the sun melting away the dense fog which surrounded us.

Although everything was whited out, we still managed to catch views of colourful bullfinch and goldfinch. I also got to try out the camera on my iPhone!

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Titchmarsh LNR


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Goldfinch

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Bullfinch

Chinese Water Deer at Woodwalton Fen

In a slightly early New Year's Resolution to explore new places, we decided to pop to Woodwalton Fen to try and spot the teddy-bear faced Chinese Water deer.

Luckily for us, we happened upon Nigel, who zig-zagged us on a shortcut through the reed beds straight to our first sighting of this sweet creature (thank you Nigel)! I managed a rather blurry photo - so I'm excited to embark on many visits to this superb habitat in the New Year!

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Chinese Water Deer

White Fronted Geese at Whiston

We enjoyed a bracing walk at wide-open, wind-freezing-your-face-off Whiston this morning. A lovely location - which we promised ourselves to visit again soon! The flock of about 24 white fronted geese were a little out of range and spent most of their time with their backs to us! Fab to see in Northants though!

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White Fronted Geese

Sunrise and Sunset

Beautiful to experience the sun rising and the sun setting - the joys of not working!

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Sunrise at Stanwick Lakes


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Mute Swan (Nearly landed on me)

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Sunset near Brigstock (That dot is a red kite!)