The Great British Wildlife Hunt

Roosting-TreecreeperEarlier in the year I was contacted by Bloomsbury Publishing, regarding the use of one of my images in an upcoming book and after some negotiation, a fee was reached. The image in question, was a photograph of a treecreeper roosting in the bark of a Sequioa tree, taken with the aid of a flash.

For anyone who hasn’t felt the bark of a Sequioa tree, even way after sunset, in the middle of winter, it is warm to the touch, as it is a very good insulating material. Treecreepers have been quick to adapt to this and the fact that the bark is also very soft, by burrowing into the bark and making small indentations. They then fluff up their feathers to further conserve heat.

The Great British Wildlife Hunt was finally published in June. I had planned on buying the book, but never got around to it somehow. As it turned out, it was actually just as well I didn’t, because just over a week ago, a complimentary copy plopped through my letterbox. An added bonus, to an image sale and one that hadn’t happened with previously licensed images.

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RSPB The Great British Wildlife Hunt by Anne Harrap (20 Jun 2013)

Evening at Shapwick Heath

I haven’t visited Shapwick Heath much this year, weather, tiredness and a couple of minor illnesses have all conspired to keep me away. I did visit the last two sundays though, as it is osprey season and most years produces one stopping over for a week or two on passage back to Africa. This year has not been an exception and I have had some fairly lengthy, if very distant views on both days, despite not being able to spend as long as I would have liked due to work committments. Today, I spent the late afternoon and evening there and had some productive (if distant) views of the osprey, along with a marsh harrier (possibly a juvenile bird) and a common buzzard. All were quickly mobbed by corvids, with the osprey clearly being mobbed by rooks.

Photography wasn’t that productive, although I did get some shots of a juvenil coot struggling with a large water snail or whelk. At one point it looked as if it was lodged in its bill, but eventually it managed to swallow it.

I had a bit of a treat walking back to the car though. As I reached the area leaving Decoy Lake, I noticed movement in the undergrowth, so stayed very still. I was rewarded with a view of a shrew, eventually coming less than a metre away from me. It was probably a small common shrew, but I couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t a pygmy shrew. Whatever it was though, I was able to watch it foraging for insects amongst the leaf litter for a few minutes, before it crossed the path and disappeared into the undergrowth next to the lake.

I had a further treat walking along the road though, as a blue flash flew past me, very close, revealing itself to be a kingfisher. All in all a pleasant evening, despite the unproductive photography.