Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Final blog of 2014: Attenborough Nature Reserve

 The snow still lingering on the ground

For my last shoot of the year I decided to visit one of my favourite reserves and not to far away Attenborough Nature Reserve, a Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust site it holds a stunning array of habitats most notably its wetland and reedbeds which would be the main focus for me today.

 Reed Bunting

While in the kingfisher hide I noticed this little brown bird hoping around and visiting the feeder, I had no idea what it was (I'm afraid my bird knowledge still needs some work) later finding out it was a reed bunting.

Bittern in the reeds

I was delighted to see my first Nottinghamshire bittern after trying for the last couple of years of trying it was a true delight to see the little brown heron sunning himself. The tower hide is a little high up to get a decent shot of the bird but shows of the bird in any case. 

Short video of the bittern can be found here

Friendly Robin coming in for a snack

Because of the cold weather often some of the smaller garden birds at Attenborough can become quite tame when encouraged with some food. On the way back to the car this robin was following me so having some seed on me I decided to give him a little feed when a idea for a shot came into me head!

BBC Wildlife Local Patch Reporter
Jack Perks

Facebook: Jack Perks Photography

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Top Ten Wildlife Experiences of 2014

Well 2014 is coming to a end and what a amazing year its been for me traveling all over the UK to document various species.

From these 10 trips alone I've traveled 3840 miles ! (from Nottingham and back)

Heres a rough recap of some of my best wildlife moments of 2014

10. Water Voles

In spring I visited the water voles in Derbyshire to try and build up a portfolio of images of them and is still something I'm working on now. 70% of voles dies during the winter and few live longer then a year so its a tough life for a vole not counting merciless mink or horrendous habitat destruction. One of my goals for 2015 is to film and photograph the voles underwater and have a couple of sites lined up for this.

9. Cornish Jelly

A trip I was looking forward to all year was returning to Cornwall to photograph Blue Sharks in Penzance however the weather was not on my side and due to high winds the boat trip was called off. Not wanting to waste a opportunity I snorkelled around the coastline at Falmouth and found this stunning Compass Jellyfish which had been washed in from the storms, it wasn't til after I discovered they are mildly venomous!  

8. Richmond Park Deer Rut

Richmond is a national hotspot of the red deer rut and can often lead to legions of wildlife photographers visiting the park to photograph the clashing stags, while I was in the area talking to a local scuba club about underwater photography I decided to visit the park early to get some shots of the deer. They weren't quite rutting but very close to it with lots of chasing and parallel walking.

7. Leaping Salmon

When you think of Salmon you typically think of Scotland but I was pleasantly surprised to find a site less then a hour from my home! This population of salmon is the most inland group traveling up the Humber to reach the Dove in Derbyshire.


6. Peak District 

With the peaks being about a hour away I knew I wanted to do more work in the park this year, not just in rivers but more landscapes and wildlife also. The heather this august was breath taking and coupled with a sunrise it meant I even managed to get a half decent landscape shot.

5. White Clawed Crayfish

One of the great things with wildlife is it can always find a way to surprise you, while working for the Lincolnshire Rivers Trust they told me about a good population of white clawed crayfish in the River Witham a river I'd visited since a child but had no idea the crayfish were living in it. Within a few minutes of searching with a licensed surveyor we found 5 of them! With the crayfish plague wiping out a lot of them it was great to see a healthy population so close to were I live.

4. Powan of Loch Lomond

I suspect a lot of you reading this would of never of heard of a Powan or European Whitefish, its a rare glacial fish similar to arctic charr that are a left over from the last ice age. Due to climate change, invasive species and siltation the Powan have had a bit of a ruffe time. Normally they live deep down in the Lochs but visited some captive reared Powan at SCENE which are being studied and released back into the loch.

3. French Adventure 

While filming for angling series 'Mr Crabtree goes fishing' I was tasked with underwater, time lapse, stills, some interviews and wildlife and I have to say France was a herpetologists dream! Reptiles are a big love of mine and saw whip snakes, viperine water snake, wall lizards and this stunning green lizard having a yawn.

2. Sea Lamprey

These really are a weird looking 'fish' I knew I wanted to photograph one of these fish for a while but they only enter rivers in early summer and even then only hang around for a few days so was a spur of the moment sort of thing when I heard they were around. I had a farmer in Sussex, wildlife trust member in Wales and river keeper in Hampshire looking for them and ultimately the river keeper got in touch first!

1. Puffins Underwater

I'm not overly a birder but have a great interest in all natural history particularly some of the iconic species like kingfisher, bittern and in this case the puffin. I did some research into areas to get underwater footage of puffins and the farnes was top of my list. I can tell you it was incredibly hard and didn't manage any high quality stills just footage on the GoPro (see below) but was amazing to see a species like this flying underwater and something I'll be working on next year for sure along with other water birds.  

BBC Wildlife Local Patch Reporter
Jack Perks

Facebook: Jack Perks Photography

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Grey Seals at Donna Nook, Lincolnshire

 Mum and pup sleeping

Donna nook was one of the places I've heard about for a while but never visited until recently and was a incredible experience seeing grey seal pups with in metres of me (behind a fence)

Less then a day old male pup with umbilical cord 

The grey seal mums feed their pups for 15 to 21 days with a rich milk that is 60% fat and the grey seal pups balloon out very quickly. After this weaning stage the grey seal mums leave their pups and the area. Grey seal pups leave too, as they must teach themselves to feed.

Sleeping Grey Seal Pup 

The scientific name of the grey seal,Halichoerus grypus, comes from the Greek for 'hooked-nose sea-pig'.

Grey Seal pups have a white coat when born & for up to 3 weeks, then they moult into their adult coat. 

One draw back for me is the huge numbers of people which made the viewing slightly less pleasant but on the whole was worth a visit for sure.

Life is hard for Grey Seal pups. About 30 to 50 percent of them die before their first birthday. Grey seal mums recognise their own pups calls and know exactly how their own pup smells. 

Although typically diving to depths of up to 70 metres when feeding, grey seals can dive to depths of around 300 metres.

Image taken through the fence not on open dunes and no contact with the seal was made

Short video of a seal giving birth

BBC Wildlife Local Patch Reporter
Jack Perks

Facebook: Jack Perks Photography