3 Winter Species to Photograph

Winter Migrations

It's not just the landscape that changes over the season, but the birdlife and wildlife get a major change of personnel as the colder seasons arrive.  Gone are the agile terns, so much a part of our coastal shingle beaches in the summer. The swallows and martins who take up residence on our houses, barns, and outhouses, are safely back home in Africa.

In their place come the geese and swans, waders in massive numbers, and wildfowl of all kinds become the staple of our lakes, loughs, and coastline.  The seals pup at the start of winter, then immediately go into season, making for a chaotic change of pace to the normal lumbering summer lifestyle of these mammals.

1. Seal Pups

This has been a target of mine for a long time, I've always wanted to capture the cuteness and typical furriness of the young pups, and this year I had the chance to visit a colony of grey and common seals a few weeks after the pupping season had tailed off.  Many pups were a good few weeks old but remained dependant on the mothers for feeding and protection. 

2. Red Throated Diver

Divers are great birds to see and photograph on the open water - they resemble cormorants on the water as they sit quite low but have an altogether different look and feel.  Great northern divers are quite common, but I've never had a chance to snap a red-throated diver, so whilst out watching the seals, we chanced upon a winter plumaged bird and had a nice go at a take-off shot:

The conditions were challenging, the light was non-existent in the days after Christmas, the wind was strong over the sea, and it was all shot from a moving boat!

3. Curlew

The saltmarshes create a great muddy habitat at low tide for wading birds of all type.  Alongside the godwits and many knot, you can see dunlin, whimbrel and the beautiful Curlew.  This one shot from the boat, was making its way along a mudbank and the low profile of the boat helped make a nice image:


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