Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

Coot magic



Well Spring at last, is finally upon us. The weather last weekend was glorious but early mornings are still a bit chilly.

On Saturday morning, I arrived at North Marsh hide at dawn. Even so, another photographer had beaten me to it and he had managed to get a great picture of a swimming Otter. Oh well!

Good to see an active Barn Owl at North Marsh. I managed to get this ‘very long distance’ photo of it feeding in a tree.


Plenty of Pochard swimming around—usually more males than females and a pair of Greylag geese are now nesting on the near island. I know that the Greylag can represent a real pest to farmers and that their noisy ‘honking’ is an insult to my ears, but there can be no denying the beauty of these birds—especially in the right light.


However, it was the humble Coot that kept me amused for most of the morning. One swam particularly close to the hide so I made a quick snap. I then used a bit of Photoshop magic to turn it into the image at the head of this post.

I was pleased to get another action photograph of this Coot as it launched itself down the lagoon. This perhaps, is my favourite image from the sequence. The Coot appears to be walking on water.


A pair of Coot also had Spring on their minds as they indulged in their very own Morris dance. This amorous activity only lasted a second or two. Just as well as the female’s head was submerged throughout.


I returned to Tophill Low early on Sunday morning. I was a little disappointed not to witness any Otter activity. However, a Stoat made up for this by giving a wonderful performance on the island before it swam back to the shore. It was interesting to watch it stop for a second and cock its head and listen, ear close to the ground, before quickly scurrying on. Here’s a picture of it auditioning for the role of Meerkat in the next ‘Confused Dot com” advert.


The big news of the day was that of the Purple Heron that had been seen on and around the reserve. Richard (the warden) nearly talked me into photograph this rare visitor later that evening. I was sorely tempted but I was tired and had to refuse.

So maybe I missed out on the Purple Heron but I did manage to get a few photographs of a Water Rail at North Marsh. I’d been listening to it’s shrill ‘pig squeals’ for a few weeks and never did track down the source. Here is one image of the bird as it emerged from the cover of the reeds for a few seconds.


Well that will be my last post until Easter. I am travelling to photograph the unusual landscape of Cappadocia in Turkey next week. Hopefully, I’ll return with a few decent landscape pictures and maybe, just maybe, a wildlife image or two.


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2 thoughts on “Coot magic

  1. Rory.S on said:

    Fantastic barn owl and stoat shots!!! I haw had the chance to photograph landscapes foe the last week but have been busy cracking my arm bone from skiing.
    Good luck in turkey.

  2. Pingback: Welcome back « Roristy Photography

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