Its been quite a grey and leaden-skied February and my photography teaching has been keeping me busy. Back at our new ranch to be we have planning permission and are excited to see diggers and cement mixers arriving at the house. We’re also talking to a local landscape designer about turning the large plot into a wildlife garden complete with pond and meadow so things are looking promising.
Our new home to be is not far from the Nar Valley Way and I’ve been visiting it a fair bit to familiarise myself with my new neighbourhood. On the way home I spent a little time in a nearby meadow and saw a few of our new neighbours – a beautiful barn owl and brown hare…
One of the most challenging things about relocating to Norfolk has been having to seek out new wildlife havens.
After four years in Oxfordshire I had finally begun to get a really good feel for nature in my the “local patch” through the seasons and which places to visit when.
Starting all over again in a new environment with very different habitats and species has been a little daunting at times, but is also very exciting.
I have been discovering that Norfolk, known for being “big sky” county, is far from being just flat plains and wetland; there is a suprising variety of habitats including heathlands, forests, water meadows, golden beaches, dunes and coastal saltmarshes as well as the famous broads, marshes and fens.
My explorations are starting to yield dividends though and I passed a pleasant sunny (yes, sunny!) evening in golden light at a nearby water meadow.
In just a few hours I had sightings of barn owls, a little owl (my second sighting of a wild little owl and giving me my first ever photo) as well as a roe deer, grey heron and a kingfisher.
We’ve had an exceptionally mild winter so far, but in December 2010 Britain was covered in snow. This photo of an adult ural owl on a snow covered branch was taken at the Hawk Conservancy Trust mid last December. Ural Owls are predominately creatures of the northern boreal forests and very used to snow, though there are smaller ural owl populations in the mountain forests of Southern Europe. They are closely related to tawny owls; both species are highly territorial and have a fierce reputation for agressive behaviour.
Since my wintery ural owl shot was taken, I have been fortunate enough to see and observe (from a safe distance!) an adult ural owl watching over its young fledgling in the mosquito -drenched Finnish midsummer.