Tag Archives: Beach

Wintering Snow Buntings

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/1250sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

One bird species that I’ve wanted to photograph for some time now is the Snow Bunting. In the UK they are most commonly seen in the winter, arriving from late September and leaving late February early March. Each year an estimated 10-15,000 birds winter here, with the majority staying in the northern regions. However, they can come as far south as the Kent and Welsh coasts as well as some parts of Northern and the Republic of Ireland. A region that they tend to frequent on a regular basis is the North Norfolk coast and although I’ve seen them plenty of times at several well-known locations, I’ve never managed to successfully photograph them until this year.

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

The aptly-named snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is a hardy, medium-sized songbird of the high Arctic. During the breeding season, the adult male snow bunting is largely snowy white, except for a contrasting black back, black wing tips and black central tail feathers. Outside of the breeding season, the male and female snow bunting are more similar in appearance, both developing more buffy plumage. Juvenile snow buntings are distinguished from the adult by a greyer body and head, and a dark brownish-black tail and wings.

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting in flight - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Next challenge is to photograph the male in its breeding plumage in the summer!!!

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Best wishes for 2012

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many blogs throughout 2012 and beyond.

It was a quiet Christmas and New Year, but I still managed to get out and about a bit, mainly on the North Norfolk coast and mainly to walk off excess food and drink. No wonder this is the peak time for gym membership registrations!

I decided to take the 45min trip from Holt, where I was based for the Christmas Period, to Winterton-On-Sea to photograph the relatively large Grey Seal colony between Winteron and Horsey. The beach is a popular destination for walkers and their dogs, and despite some people’s views you can’t really deny someone the enjoyment of viewing this spectacle first hand. Some people may have been getting too close but on the whole I witnessed extremely good behaviour and very little disturbance. Adult females were quick to come to the protection of their pups and were constantly on alert, not just from the human and dog population but from amorous males.

Grey Seals fighting in the surf

An over amorous male Grey Seal is seen off by a female - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5, 1/1250sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

It was great to witness a Grey Seal mother taking her pup for a swim. It wasn’t that keen but mum was there to reassure with a gentle pat on the head.

Female Grey Seal reassures her pup

A female Grey Seal reassures her pup during a swimming lesson - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5.6, 1/640sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

Grey Seal Pup

Grey Seal pup on the beach at Winterton-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5, 1/400sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

Grey Seal pup

Grey Seal pup on Winterton-On-Sea beach - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5, 1/400sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

On the way back to the beach car park I was greeted by a wonderful sunset over Winterton’s All Saints Church.

The Dunes at Winterton

The sun starts to go down over Winterton-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 15mm Fisheye f/2.8 @ f/8, 1/500sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

Sunset over Winterton-On-Sea

The sun goes down over Winteron-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 24-105mm IS USM f/4 @ 105mm and f/16, 1/320 sec, ISO 200 - © Andrew Sproule

Sunset over Winterton-On-Sea

The sun goes down over Winterton-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 24-105mm IS USM f/4 @ 105mm and f/11, 1/2500sec, ISO 200 - © Andrew Sproule