Curlew

Curlew - Scott Guiver

The Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) is an emblematic wader with its long legs and long down-curved bill.
The song of the Curlew and the cry of the Curlew calling its own name are charismatic announcements of its presence and are a memorable feature of equally charismatic landscapes of moor, heathland, bog, mudflat and marsh.

Have a listen:

Calls of the Curlew

Have a look:

Wader Quest
British Trust For Ornithology
Birdlife International
RSPB

Enter the Dragon

Darter by Scott Guiver

Yeah I know, the title’s not very original but it’s all I could think of.

This year I’ve made the effort to try and identify more of the creatures that own four wings. I believe this beauty is a Common Darter, but please do correct me if I’m wrong.

The picture below isn’t aesthetically one of the best shots I’ve taken of a creature with four wings this year, but hey, who cares – it’s definitely a Norfolk Hawker!

NH

Halcyon lunch

Kingfisher by Scott Guiver

 

I try and get out for a walk every lunchtime, stretch my legs and let my eyes focus on something further away than my computer monitor. I always go to the same place – the Millennium Green in Halesworth, Suffolk.

 

Kingfisher by Scott Guiver

 

If you go to the same place all the time then you get to know the flora and fauna that lives there day by day and season by season. So after catching several glimpses of a Kingfisher lately, I’ve become aware of it’s favourite fishing perch.

 

Kingfisher by Scott Guiver

 

Today was a hot day, there were dog walkers and families on the green…and there was me , camera in hand, crawling across the grass. As my fellow park goers looked on,  I ignored self-dignity and the fact that I might look a bit dodgy,  I didn’t care, stealth was the only way to get close enough to photograph this beautiful creature.

 

Kingfisher by Scott Guiver

Ol’ blue eyes is ready to shed

Adder by Scott Guiver

Yesterday on the heath, Westleton Heath that is, something caught my eye through the vegetation, a pile of Adders. I counted five, but there may have been more as the pile moved separately but as one, interweaving itself under roots and a carpet of dried gorse needles.

As ever, moving as quickly and quietly as possible without one of the above adverbs being compromised, I tried to get shots of the snakes through the grass. I would have liked some beautiful crisp shots of the Adders in the open, it wasn’t going to happen, they knew very well that I was there and they weren’t going to break cover.

The silver lining is that I paid more attention to the snakes that I had the clearest shot of. One of those happened to be the blue-eyed beauty in the photos above. Adders usually have red eyes (see pic of photo-bomber, below) however, when they are about due to shed their skin, fluid builds up between the outer(old) and the new inner skin, which gives the appearance of the adder having  blue eyes. The fluid seems to act as a lubricant aiding with the shedding process and also as a moisturiser, nice, it’s always good to moisturise after exfoliation!…. that’s what my girlfriend says anyway!. Maybe I should finish up with trying to use the correct terminology here – the process of skin shedding in snakes is known as “sloughing”.

Adders by Scott Guiver
Red eye moves in for her big photo opportunity…or to see what I taste like!

Adders by Scott Guiver

 

 

 

 

 

 

An inspiring day

About twenty years ago I decided that I would never visit a zoo again. Last Monday I broke that vow for the second time, at the same zoo…..zoo? Actually, it’s known as the Durrell Wildlife Park, but what really allowed me to override my conscience is the knowledge of what sets this place apart from most other animal collections. Infact, I think it’s more appropriate for me to use the name that greets you as you arrive at the main entrance “Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust”.

Gerald Durrells vision was that zoos should not only be somewhere that members of the public could view and learn about animals that they wouldn’t otherwise experience, but that zoos should aid in conservation and be centres for research and education. This vision certainly became a reality on the island of Jersey and the effects have been far reaching. The Trust achieves it’s goals internationally by  gathering scientific information from field programmes and animals in the wildlife park, by successful captive breeding programmes for endangered species and by running a conservation academy providing a seat of learning for todays and tomorrows conservationists.

for more detailed information, please see: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust ).

Lee Durrell and Scott Guiver

 

So, on Monday, my good friend James  and I met up with Dr Lee Durrell MBE. Lee gave us a guided tour of the “Gerald Durrell Story” exhibition and made us both feel relaxed, inspired and contemplative with her affable nature and utter dedication.

I’m not going to try and relay  Gerald Durrell’s story or go into great detail about what a great team Gerald and Lee have been or indeed the amazing work that Lee and her colleagues do now, but I will try and convey the abiding thought that I was left with. It’s the example that some people set to the rest of us, that their desire and dedication  to stick to their guns and do what they want to and what they believe in can make an enormous positive difference and not only that, can pave the way for many others to join in the same cause and efforts, it’s a legacy that will live on in this example, forever I hope, but then that’s down to the rest of us too.

Meerkat by Scott Guiver

Amphibious reptile

Common Lizard by Scott Guiver

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a newt swimming , then I turned my head, refocused and…oh hang on a minute…..no, it’s a lizard.  I’m no stranger to seeing Grass Snakes swimming but this is the first time I’ve seen a Common Lizard having a go. I’ve witnessed Basilisk Lizards running on water in Central America, and surely they don’t always manage that feat without the odd dunking, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Infact, after a quick bit of Googling  I found that it appears to be quite a regular occurrence for the C.Lizards to have a dip, they can even swim under water.

Common Lizard by Scott Guiver

So, there it is, I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m surprised by nature again, there’s always something new to see and new to learn.

%d bloggers like this: