Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

A View From The Other Side



Last Saturday was a write-off. Torrential rain all day prevented me from venturing out with my camera so I stayed at home and printed some images. I like printing; in fact, a few years ago I would rather spend a whole weekend in the dark-room than venture out with my camera. I still find the process of making a ‘fine’ print absorbing but not to the same extent now that most of my work is digital rather than analogue. BTW: there is a fascinating article on Inkjet Survivability on the OnLine Photographer site that is well worth a read. Here’s the link.

I made a late start on Sunday morning as I had promised to drop off a print for a friend at Tophill Low. I arrived at the car park around around ten and was immediately greeted by fellow photographer, Jeff Barker. I could tell he was excited. He showed me a wonderful image on his camera that he had captured earlier that morning. A swimming Otter. Jeff thoroughly deserved to capture such a great image. He has been visiting and working at Tophill Low since Noah was a lad and I was very pleased for him and perhaps a little disappointed that I hadn’t been there too.

So, I got back in my car and trundled off to Wilfholme. I had been meaning to visit the new (replacement) hide on the Watton Reserve for a few weeks and a dull morning, or a fine, sunny evening is the best time to photograph from this location. The path from the Wilfholme car park was extremely muddy. I was surprised to see a huge number of discarded mollusc shells along the bank adjacent to the car park so there must be a very active otter in the vicinity. I reached the new hide after a ten minute walk and was pleased to see that despite the smaller size, it was sturdily built and quite comfortable.

There was not a lot of activity on the lake but I was delighted to see that my first visit to the new hide had drawn so much interest from the bird-watching community 😉


A pair of Oystercatchers flew in and perhaps influenced by their aphrodisiacal diet, began mating. I captured the whole sequence in twenty consecutive fames which lasted a record-breaking five seconds. The image at the head of the post was frame number thirteen. Maybe I’ll get around to posting the complete sequence on YouTube one day!

A cock-pheasnat made a brief appearance and I managed to get an unusual shot of it wading along the narrow spit that divides the lake.


There were several pairs of Goldeneye on the lake and I waited patiently to photograph one as it swam close to the hide.


The sun never managed to show the whole day and the light was fading fast. So I was very pleased to get a photo of a female Smew in its first winter plumage before it got too dark.


As usual, please click on any image to get a larger view of the photograph.

I would certainly recommend a visit to this new hide. A little out of the way perhaps, but for those wishing to escape the crowds it is an ideal location.


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2 thoughts on “A View From The Other Side

  1. Mandy Sears on said:

    I love the wading pheasant pic!

  2. Thanks Mandy. It’s one of my favourites too!

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