Is this the year of seeing new animals?
I’m trying to be careful to not jinx this, but so far I have seen at least one new species of animal that I haven’t seen before, every time that I have gone out with my camera. It’s a great feeling to see something new through the lens, and the even more exciting moment flicking through my wildlife book and coming across a brand new name. As previously shown in my last post, I have so far managed to come across goosanders, goldeneyes, and bullfinches all which were located at my local nature reserve.
My next trip there was no different. On Saturday 12th January, I headed out to the reserve on a blustery morning. I originally had something else in mind to look out for, but I got distracted when I came across a railway bridge that went across a small river, just outside the reserve grounds, and spotted a kingfisher perched on a branch hanging delicately over the river. It flew underneath the bridge away from me — by this time I was crouched low as to not spook it. It landed in another tree before diving into the water below, coming back up to the branch with no fish, and then flew off up the river and around the bend. I decided to stay around a little while in case it came back. So I sat underneath the railway bridge where a fence ran along the edge of the path, which the river one level lower, and with the shadow of the bridge covering me I set up my camera towards the last place the kingfisher was spotted… and waited.
All the while, I was surrounded by the call of wrens which flew back and forth along the river, along with blue tits and the faint calls of jackdaws in the woodland just up the river. About an hour in, I heard the calls of an incoming kingfisher, but no flash of blue came under the bridge. I only assumed that it flew above the bridge and carried on up the river. So again, I was left with the natural sounds of running water and other birds within the vicinity. Close to another hour later, I thought to call it and carry on around the rest of the reserve. That was my plan until movement appeared on the opposite side of the riverbank under the bridge. Only being a few metres away, I could see without the use of my lens that it was a new type of bird for me. I took plenty of photographs, and also a short video (you can find this below if you haven’t seen it on my social media pages). It stayed around for a good five minutes, feeding on the top of weedy patches, hopping from fallen branch to fallen branch, before it flew away along a similar path that the kingfisher took when I first arrived. After cross-referencing my image with my wildlife handbook, I found out that I had managed to photograph a grey wagtail! I had an idea that it was from the wagtail family, as it was constantly wagging its tail while searching for food! I was thrilled with seeing a brand new bird for 2019, and it didn’t stop there!
The next day (Sunday 13th), I travelled to Frampton Marsh nature reserve as I was to have a trail day for volunteering at the visitors’ centre on the weekend. While I was there, I had the opportunity to use a scope and binoculars to spot any bird species out on the marsh. From this reserve, I saw pochards, barnacle geese, and my first ever sighting of a peregrine causing nuisance amongst a huge flock of lapwings! The sight is known for seeing larger birds of prey such as marsh and hen harriers, and also short-eared owls. So, alongside helping out at the visitor centre, I’ll have the chance to take my camera there and hopefully get shots of even more species that I have yet to see!