Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

First frost of winter…

Fox-cold morning

As predicted, yesterday morning dawned cold and frosty. I arrived at the hide about thirty minutes before dawn, well wrapped with a flask of tea and my long lens. Even with a 500 mm lens and a 1.7 x converter, it is a very difficult place to photograph wildlife. Most of the time, the subjects are at least a 100 metres away but its limited popularity and access usually means that I can enjoy the seclusion and concentrate on my photography.

Fox-cold morning_2

A fox appeared around dawn for just a few minutes. The frosted grasses and the warm glow of dawn ensured that I had a great back-drop and I managed to make several photographs before the fox disappeared into the vegetation. During the next hour or so, hundreds of Greylag geese descended from the skies and landed on the surface of the lake. There was one ‘rogue’ white goose amongst the throng but it turned out to be of the ‘farm-yard’ variety. There were plenty of Teal, Mallard, Coot around plus a few Redshank exploring the muddy margins. A Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk were also present but did not come close enough for a decent photograph.

Three Mute Swan signets

The resident pair of Mute Swans and their three signets are doing very well and have managed to escape the attention of the local fox population, unlike the carcass of an unlucky Swan I discovered in the adjacent Starberry drain a couple of weeks ago. It was amusing watching the signets reaction to the parts of the surface of the lake that were still frozen. It must have been the first time that they had witnessed such an event.

Redwing

Most of the berries on the surrounding bushes had been eaten by the flocks of winter visitors. So, it was disappointing not to see any Fieldfare or Redwing, yesterday. Still, I was pleased with my photo of a Redwing taken last weekend. Several Mallard continued to ‘pair-off’ and mate. Look out for the tell-tale head bobbing display from both the male and female; this is usually a precursor to the brief (and somewhat comical) mating activity.

Mallards-mating

I was pleased to see the partial eclipse of the full moon on the drive home to Driffield. Unfortunately, I was just too cold to leave my car to stop and photograph the event. Silly me!

Oh! I forgot to mention that this is my 100th Blog entry. This has also coincided with 100,000 visits to my Flick site. So a big thank-you to all of you that have shown interest in my photography during the past couple of years. I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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