Thursday, 30 August 2012

An apology to Marsh Frogs

In a earlier post i mentioned that marsh frogs were out competing our native frogs but after i had a walk along the royal military canal in kent found a healthy population of both common and marsh frogs there. it also seems that the local grass snakes have greatly benefited from the marsh frogs as a extra food source!

I'm not advocating the release of non native species at all but it seems these little frogs actually benefit a lot or our wildlife including some of the rarer species.

i took a trip to dungeness in Kent and its no coincidence that the bitterns breeding there, purple herons showing up and other amphibian loving birds all do very well at this site because of the marsh frogs for a food source.

even in romney marsh where rare species like medical leeches and great crested newts can be found are benefiting from the marsh frogs with the leeches sucking there blood and newts eating the tadpoles.

so from the bottom of my heart sorry marsh frogs!...

... but not to sorry they still have the potential to spread Chytrid a deadly amphibian fungus and at the end of day shouldn't be in Britain but if they are here may as well enjoy them!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Jersey Part 2

With the success of the lizards i thought i'd try and get something a little different, Red squirrels! i very rarely get the chance to do mammals so when Mark had told be about the reds on the islands i jumped at the chance to get them!

Mark having studied them for a year knew the locations and where to find them. people put out special feeders for the squirrels and they tend to dot around them in the day having the same feeding times as us.

they are a lot smaller then the greys and harder to spot!

 great to try something different and will try and do more stuff with mammals

Thanks to Mark Fox

Hints -

- Be patient for the guys they will come but they can be very elusive

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Jersey - Part 1

So i recently took a trip to Jersey in the channel islands the most southern point in the UK. It had a wealth of wildlife to choose from and i had local photographer and friend Mark Fox to help me locate species.

With reptiles being one of my main interests i was keen to find the two lizards that can be found on jersey and not mainland Britain naturally the wall lizard and green lizard.

The wall lizards turned out to be a pleasant surprise as they weren't to scared of people and allowed me to get quite close with causing distress to the animal.

Green lizards on the other had prefer a different type of habitat and needed a little more skill to get the shot. using techniques i've done with sand lizards and common lizards i got up early so they would be out basking and slow moving allowing me to get closer without them running of.

Hints -

- you dont have to go to the seringeti to get great wildlife shots and remember britain is a island nation with hundreds of islands containing wildlife the mainland doesn't.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The forgotten fish of UK rivers

This is a subject very close to me as many people are unaware of whats going on. There are around a dozen 'Mini' species that live in UK freshwater. These fish have no food value and little angling value due to their size.

 3 Spined Stickleback ( Gasterosteus aculeatus)

However they provide food for all the more attractive species like Kingfishers, Dippers, Otters and Bigger fish like Trout and Pike. if these little fish aren't here the whole food chain suffers.

9 Spined Stickleback (Pungitius pungitius)

These fish are declining for unknown reasons as well as predation and being out competed by invasives  they are heavily unrecorded around the UK.

Stone Loach (Barbatula barbatula) 

Stone loach are found in clear and clean rivers and come out at night to feed

Spined Loach (Cobitis taenia)

The Spined loach is a separate species from the more common stone loach and only occurs in rivers and waterways in eastern england, which were once connected to the Rhine. The Great Ouse, Witham and Trent once joined the Rhine and together drained down a vast valley that is now the Channel, reaching the sea somewhere west of the Isle of Wight.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sherwood Forest, a Tit and an Eagle

Having lived in Nottinghamshire most of my life I've often heard of Sherwood Forest but never taken the chance to visit the park until today. The actual forest covers historic landscapes over 181sq. miles from Worksop to Nottingham.

it was quite late in the day so not as many birds as i hoped to find but coal tits, blue tits and robins sited with nightjar and owls in the area.

one rather large bird was present a golden eagle!

it was however one of the attractions and not flying around the forest as it may of done jurying robin hoods time! fantastic bird huge.

Hints -

- Captive animals are as you might expect a lot easier to photograph then there wild counterparts and if photographed right can be made to lok natural.

- Forests can be very dark so remember to compensate with flash or aiming for a higher shutter speed.

- Get there early if you want a greater number and variety of birds by mid day most of them had fed and left.