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Journal Entry: Wed Jul 29, 2015, 3:06 AM
Best viewed as Full Screen.

Minsmere is a wildlife reserve situated on the coast of Suffolk, East Anglia, UK ==>… that will be familiar to many UK deviants through the BBC series Springwatch broadcast from the reserve each May. Run by the Royal Society for the Protection of birds, the RSPB, Minsmere is primarily about providing wetland and woodland habitats for local and migrating birds, but it also provides a home for many types of flora, insects, reptiles, fish and animals. All the species found at Minsmere can be found elsewhere along the coast of East Anglia, but not in such a concentration nor in a conservation area with so much provision for viewing such as hides and boardwalks.

This Journal is a small collection of images from a 4 hour stroll around the reserve, and includes shots of some familiar species, and some rare and elusive birds. The images were taken on a Canon 5D Mark III camera fitted with a 70-200 mm zoom lens and a times 2 converter, giving at full zoom a focal length of 400 mm. Light conditions were adequate, the weather was favourable with some Sun, cloud, and wind. Shots were all hand held, and often taken from hides. Unfortunately, the birds were often a long way away, and heavy cropping has been necessary to show any reasonable close ups. Some of the shots I would not normally have posted as their quality is mediocre, but OTOH, such shots usually show something not normally seen. Two of the shots - the adder and the stone chat - were taken the previous day on Westleton Heath, an adjacent woodland and grassland area, but the species are to be found in Minsmere.

The first two images show a moorhen and one of her chicks. Whether moorhens breed late, this is the end of July, or whether this is a chick from a second brood, I do not know. The chick was already diving for food in the pond, but was still small enough to be prey for gulls, and herons.

Minsmere - Moorhen by Okavanga  Minsmere - Moorhen Chick by Okavanga

There are a large number of swans at Minsmere, and I thought the following shot of interest. Rather than the conventional image of a swan sereenly gliding across the water, this one is having a really good preen, and has taken one leg with its enormous webbed foot out of the water to better preen under the wing. I observed a number of swans showing this apparently odd behaviour of gliding with one leg and webbed foot lying across their backs. Perhaps it a mechanism for cooling or for resting after some hard underwater paddling.

Minsmere - Swan by Okavanga

One of the big claims to fame for Minsmere is the success of conserving and developing a population of avocets - black and white wading birds with a characteristic up-curved beak.… The two shots below were taken at some considerable distance from the birds.

   Minsmere - Avocet 1 by Okavanga          Minsmere - Avocet 2 by Okavanga

There is a preponderance of marsh birds at Minsmere with the redshank and black-tailed godwits in abundance. Birds from the heath, such as the cheeky stone chat are also very common.

Minsmere - Redshank by Okavanga  Minsmere - Black-Tailed Godwits by Okavanga  Minsmere - Stonechat by Okavanga

However, notwithstanding the favourite avocet, Minsmere is also famous for having a population of one of the rarest and most elusive of birds in Britain - the bittern. These very big birds live in reed beds, but are rarely seen, partly because the birds normally venture out at dawn and dusk when light levels are low, and partly because of their camouflage. I was lucky enough to be able to capture some shots of a bittern flying across some reeds, the flight lasting about 5 seconds. The first shot without cropping and at 400 mm zoom illustrates the difficulty of seeing the birds even in daylight. The subsequent shots are very highly cropped and tweaked with contrast and saturation to bring up the clarity of the bird in its flight.

Minsmere - Reed Beds - Bittern by Okavanga  Minsmere - Bittern 1 by Okavanga Minsmere - Bittern 2 by Okavanga  Minsmere - Bittern 3 by Okavanga

The next set of image shows some of the plants to be found at Minsmere:

Minsmere - Wild Honeysuckle by Okavanga  - wild honeysuckle  Minsmere - Teasels by Okavanga - teasels   Minsmere - Thistle by Okavanga  - thistle with large white butterfly

Minsmere - Marsh Mallow by Okavanga  

the famous marsh mallow which from the time of the Ancient Egyptians has been a source of medicaments, as well as being the source of the confectionery now known as the marshmallow

Finally, some colour from a Peacock Butterfly, some danger from an adder, and some fish (?young tench) in one of the reed bed streams.

Minsmere - Peacock Butterfly by Okavanga  Minsmere - Adder by Okavanga  Minsmere - Tench by Okavanga

I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to Minsmere.


David :iconokavanga:

This Journal Skin was designed by Night-Beast modified by Okavanga

Journal History


United Kingdom
Scientist, scholar, philosopher, writer, photographer, traveller, sportsman, oenophile, whisky drinker, beer imbiber, cat lover, art historian, walker, driver, reader, computer geek, TV watcher, music listener, photo editor, Web contributor, enjoyer of good food, expert witness, industrial consultant, legal advisor, problem solver, analyst, chemist, information retrieval expert, sometime rider, runner, keep-fit addict, hypocrisy hater, politician loather, altogether - a devious deviant.

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