A year ago I visited Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottingham. This morning, whilst staying with the in-laws, I returned to watch the dawn in the snow:
For the British, snow is a novelty (last winter it did not snow once in London) and occasionally an inconvenience. For some of our wildlife, persistent freezing weather can be disastrous – it is estimated that some very cold years will see 30-40% of the individual birds in some species wiped out.
Some of the birds at the Attenborough reserve did not look fussed, like these Mute Swans on the River Trent:
However, not all the birds appeared quite so relaxed. This Moorhen approached the cracked ice with some trepidation:
… and I detected a greater sense of urgency in the feeding behaviours of some birds such as this female Reed Bunting:
Moving equally quickly through bushes in search for food was my 101st species of bird photographed in 2014, a bird that would be common to many in the UK, but one I have not seen at all for almost two years and so I was delighted to be reacquainted with:
A frozen Nottingham had further Christmas gifts for my Big Birding Year of photography, my second Goldeneye captured in pixels this year (albeit very far away – excuse extreme blur):
Distant ducks would also add to my year list (102):
And then finally, what is likely to be my last new bird of the year, an absolute gem. Although she remained very far my camera, my 103 species of the year was wonderful and quite rare for the UK. This female Smew will be one of only 100-200 individuals that will have visited the UK this year – I was privileged to end of my year in style:
Just to remind readers that some ducks do come slightly closer in range, I also took a shots of a Mallard drake:
I walked around the frozen landscape reflecting on what has been a wonderful and fun search for British birds and yielded 103 photographs of unique and different species.
I also reminded myself of “the ones that got away”. Birds I saw but which I didn’t get photos of:
Happy New Year to you all!