Tag Archives: suffolk

Treading carefully.

Maybe I had a lot on my mind last year, I seemed to spend more time looking at the ground than I normally would, maybe years of wearing binoculars around my neck had caused it to weaken and refuse to carry the weight of my head anymore!? Who knows, but the upshot was that I noticed more of what was going on at ground level. This included many sightings of beautiful Grass Snakes, but with their powerful senses and my not so deft footsteps, they always seemed to be avoiding my camera lens by disappearing at great speed through dense undergrowth. But with great determination the voice in my sagging head made a vow to get some decent shots of this gorgeous snake in 2016.
So it was that just over a week ago signs of spring started to appear, including sunshine that had warmth to it. The excitement of the change in seasons in the northern hemisphere is at least doubled when the transition is from winter to spring, life and colour gradually emerge from the darkness. I can feel my senses starting to come out of hibernation without even realising that they’d gone into hibernation. A feast of life and interactions starts to build, sounds, colours and smells, as pheromones and endorphins
enter the atomosphere and get tangled up with text messages.


So it was time to rein in the excitement, lower the heart rate and tread like a modern day nature ninja on the little trodden path next to the sewage works.
As I turned off the lane and reached the start of the path…I saw that it was covered in dry leaves…..”shit!”. The path is about 50metres long, it took me about half an hour
to get three quarters of the way down it, but success, a grass snake stretched out in the sun!. As i reached round in ultra slow motion for my camera, the snake vanished and a dog
came belting down the path folllowed by two people. There was quite a lot of silent swearing going on at this point, but at least i knew that this was the spot.


Sunday the 3rd of April, the forecast is sunshine, nice one, time to go to the sewage works…as you do. This time I scanned the lane up and down before entering the path and I’d only taken two ninja like steps before my eyes met those of a large grass snake and in one slow fluid movement I reached for camera and crouched down. My model obliged and i retreated with stealth so not to disturb.
My smile was wide!


Friday the 8th of April, I have a day off work, the forecast is sunny spells, I can’t resist going back. So this time I get three quarters of the way down the path again and hope is dissipating, then, mouth drops open and heart stops.


A writhing mass of grass snakes (actually there were four) mating in the middle of the path.


The feeling of euphoria has to be controlled, for one I want to get some unblurred photos and two, I don’t want to put these beauties off of doing their thing, the next generation of grass snakes is at stake! I get my shots and again I retreat with stealth. This time I have a wider smile and I may have even skipped along the lane, alright I didn’t but I felt like it.



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







Friday Foxes

Fox cub by Scott Guiver

Fox cub by Scott Guiver

Usually I only manage to get a tantalising glimpse of the countryside dwelling Foxes where I live. When I’m visiting family in suburban Essex, people hardly blink an eye as a fox trots by on the roadside or suns itself in a garden, so somehow it seems more special to get a good view of one of these handsome creatures out in the country.

This evening after work, as usual, I thought that I’d unwind with a little stroll. Usually I plump for the route along the river and through the water meadows, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been mesmerised by the dancing of Banded Demoiselle dragonflies, but today I walked up to a small wooded area surrounded by arable fields. As I walked along  a densely wooded path, lost in my dreaming thoughts, I heard a harsh coughing that reminded me of my childhood pet Labrador when she’d eaten too much grass and seemed to get balls of it stuck in her throat. Peering through gaps in the foliage with my binoculars I could see a beautiful vixen laying at the base of a tree, sunning herself and dozing.  I wanted to get a photo of her but my view wasn’t clear, so I decided to tread as lightly as I could and follow the path out of the woodland onto the fields and come back into the woodland on the other side of the vixen, hopefully with a better line of sight. After what seemed an eternity of slowly placing my feet carefully and gently on dry twigs that still seemed to make cracking noises as loud as fireworks , I cautiously emerged at meeting place of field and wood. I looked to my left, it’s at this point that I started to hold my breath and I can’t really remember when I took my next breath because I was in that euphoric place that one goes to when you see something special. Fortunately I still had the presence of mind to take some shots of the two beautiful fox cubs that took my breath away.

Beautiful motion

Barn Owl by Scott Guiver

Our local pair of Barn Owls in this sleepy part of Suffolk are hardly resting at the moment. Hungry young owls demanding  a constant supply of voles and other rodent prey from their parents. The parents seem to take it in turns to hunt, only occasionally I see them out together quartering the meadows. We also get Tawny Owls and Little Owls in the same area , surely a sign of a healthy ecosystem in these parts  🙂

With a  camera I can have a thousand snapshots of snippets of beauty ,

as the sunsets’ colours horizon kidnaps me from other reality.

A constantly evolving painting of the rays reflections across the sky.


We’ve been treated to some seriously awesome sunsets over the past few days in sunny Suffolk.

Looking forward to the next one this afternoon 🙂