Photo Blog

I love observing nature and the changing seasons during my Norfolk countryside dog walks accompanied by my ever-faithful canine companion Starrydog. I especially enjoy taking photos of Norfolk butterflies, wildflowers and other flora and fauna that I happen across while exploring local nature reserves. Visit my Norfolk nature photo blog to keep up to date with my photographic adventures and enjoy my butterfly photos.

Smoothly Enters the Newt

A surprising number of tadpoles survived this year's late snow and frosts to hatch out, proving that nature has long coped with such seasonal extremes. Once hatched, a tadpole's lot does not get easier by any means, because along with the warmth, their nemesis the Common newts have returned.

Common newts, also known as Smooth newts, predate heavily on tadpoles and frogspawn in springtime, and male Common newts can be spotted due to their vivid orange and black spotted underbelly which is a temporary colouring worn during the mating season.

Male Common or Smooth newt in orange mating colours

Common newt hunting among newly hatched tadpoles

Clouds on the Mountain

Turbulent cloud formations hover and swirl above Mount Teide. 

I made it to Tenerife after all. The weather in January was markedly cooler than in our previous December visits and characterised by high winds. Neither my camera nor I ventured far, except for our now customary road trip up to the peak of Mount Teide Volcano.

The atmospheric conditions were striking. My favourite photo depicted the powerful, windswept clouds above Pico Viejo, looming over the beautiful yet arid lava plains. In a way the photo is a metaphor for turbulent times, both in personal life and on the global stage, where the weather also feels windswept, and changeable, with a highly uncertain forecast.

If you'd like to see more, I've added a collection of my favourite Tenerife landscape and seascape images and a gallery of the cetaceans that reside off the coast there to my image gallery.

The Pianist

Over Christmas I had a little dabble in street and night photography, a little off piste from my usual fare. This busking street pianist caught my eye on my trip to the beautiful Cologne Christmas Market. He wheeled his battered old grand piano on a rickety old trolley over to a shop window and then proceeded to play really rather well.

October Red Deer Rut

This year's red deer rut photography was limited to a jeep safari at RSPB Minsmere and we kept our distance, but a few contextual black and white shots came out quite nicely. The first two tell the story of the less dominant stags and young bucks, who tend to avoid risking conflict during the rutting season. The third image is of the dominant stag interacting with a romantically minded hind in his harem.

 Nervous young bucks
 Stag and young buck
 Romantic Stag

Zugunruhe

One of the early signs of autumn for me is the steady gathering of swallows, not to mention swifts and martins, into larger congregations as they make the most of the late summer insects to feed up and prepare for winter and their impending trip southwards. As time for their autumn migration approaches their unsettled behaviour becomes increasingly intense, so much so that German researchers coined the phrase "Zugunruhe" (literally translated "moving unrest") to describe their increasingly evident restlessness and growing drive to start their long migration.

This season watching them gathering into little groups and whirling and darting around with ever growing intensity has struck a particular chord with me; I am very much feeling my own Zugunruhe, though, in contrast to the swallows, it has much to do with finally completing my prolonged personal migration and settling into my own new long term home rather than setting out on a new migratory adventure!

I can't wait....