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February 2017

Photographers Resource

ISSN 2399-6706

Issue No: 157

A light dusting of snow around The Market Square in the winter sunshine at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex.
See also the
Weald & Downland Gallery

February, the month of love amongst the humans and wildlife. For us humans, February 14th is Valentines Day, and the whole month is the start of the new mating season for some birds like Heron's and Great Crested Grebes.

At the end of the month it is Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day. Many parts of Britain celebrate this tradition with Pancake Races or Tossing, a Skipping Festival, Cornish Hurling and a Shrovetide Football game, with a difference. Take a look at the diary for details of what's on.

February Diary
Wildlife Photography In February
Your First Visit
Throughout this month snowdrops will start to make their way through the soil in woodlands, along roadsides and in gardens. They are among the first plants to flower in the new year, along with Crocus, and others. Their little white heads will pop through the ground, after hibernating all summer, and will be seen bobbing just above the surface gently moving in the winter breeze.

During this month and into the beginning of March, Scotland has a Snowdrop Festival, where some of the larger houses and estates open their gardens and woodlands for the public to explore and see these little white dancing fairies.

In England some National Trust properties, which have snowdrops in their grounds, also open up during this time for you to visit. There are other houses, that do not normally open to the public, who open to show off their snowdrop displays, as well as the Snowdrop Valley, at Wheddon Cross in Somerset. On a visit you can take a winter stroll through their woodlands and see the carpet of white below your feet swaying in the winter breeze. For somewhere near you, take a look at where to see and photograph snowdrops. 

Before you go you might also like to take a look at Macro or micro photography, for tips on taking things close up. These plants being quite tiny and maybe moving will require a little thought and effort to capture them close up.

Whilst in the woodlands listen out for the Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush as they belt out their song to claim their territories.


Whilst towards the end of the month a visit to one of our many estuaries will see flocks of wader birds, such as ducks, geese, Lapwings.... foraging for food on the sands and then grouping together as they get pushed back to the shore by the incoming tide. If you're not near the sea or an estuary then take a look at a local pond where you may see the multitude of frogspawn laid by the females floating just below the surface of the water. Or on larger ponds you may see Moorhens fighting for territory or the Great Crested Grebes performing their elaborate courtship dance.

Slate and not Gold is found at the end of this rainbow, taken at the National Slate Museum, at Llanberis, in North Wales.

February is also the time when the Grey Heron re-establish their pair bonds and rebuild their nests. Although a large bird, they do nest in trees, in colonies called a Heronry. A single tree can have a number of nests for different mating pairs and the process of collecting sticks is an intriguing process to watch, as both birds seem to go off and collect new nesting material, but as they are both away their neighbours will come and take the new sticks for their own nests. During this process they are very vocal and perform a display of bowing and wing spreading movements. A heronry, I have visited in the past, is amongst the trees beside a large lake at RSPB West Sedgemoor in Somerset.

If you're not a fan of the winter and cold, getting out and about this time of year can be a struggle. But there are lots of opportunities to get out, not everything is closed for winter. It all starts off with the 2nd of February being World Wetlands Day, so you could take the opportunity to visit a wetland centre, such as the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, who have a number of locations around the UK, to get to see, Swans, Waders, Geese and other winter visitors before they head off back to their summer breeding grounds.

It is also possible this time of year, when the weather is bit wet with sunny intervals, to get some good rainbow photos with deep dark colours, make sure you keep an eye open for the 'pot of gold' at the end. Take a look at How to photograph Rainbows for hints and tips. If you don't mind it a bit damp under foot then you may get a chance to capture it whilst you're out visiting an Abbey, Castle, Living History Museum or Waterfall.

What's New and Changed
Articles Added and Updated Recently

Archives and Record Offices

Railway Photo Charters

Macro or micro photography

Locations Guides Added and Updated Recently

Hilbre Island Lighthouse

Snowdrop Valley, Wheddon Cross, Somerset  

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