Events for 2018

Over the May Bank Holiday I am supporting the Wherry Maud Trust Art Exhibition in Ranworth, there is a host of talented artists will be exhibiting their pictures to raise funds to keep this charismatic vessel on the water.

From the 25th July through to 5th August I will also be exhibiting some of my many hare photographs, selling prints, framed pictures and cards at the Wymondham Arts Centre. 2018 is the Year of the Hare for Norfolk with the city full of individually painted hare icons. The WAC will have a wonderful display of hare sculptures, paintings and photographs for a whole pose of talented artists so it would be lovely if you could pop in over that two weeks!

I will be attending Creake Abbey Craft Fair in August 25th. I love it there as it's always so lovely to see family faces of kind customers who buy my pictures.

The stunning Pheasant Hotel on the Holt Road, Kelling, North Norfolk is now also stocking a small A4 collection of my best selling framed prints and a selection of my cards. With easy access to the beautiful coast and scenery The Pheasant Hotel is a gorgeous place to stay, have lunch or a drink and coffee all while browsing their gift shop.

I continue to thank all the lovely customers who visit Algy's Farm Shop to buy cards and pictures. I take the majority of my pictures on the actual farm itself so it's wonderful that I get to share some of the magic happening in the fields. Algy's farm shop stocks a host of delicious, locally produced foods in addition to birdseed and his home produced popcorn! Located on the Fakenham Road at Bintree it's very clearly signposted as you approach it.

Sadly Pensthorpe Nature Park, also near Fakenham may now have only a few of my cards and a selection of framed photographs for sale so get them while you can.

I have also stopped selling my pictures at The Norfolk Farmer's Wife gift shop in Banham.
It's a lovely gift shop full to bursting of country styled products including Nikki's own handmade scarves and hats. The shop is at Unit 3, The Appleyard, Kenninghall Road,Banham..just opposite the Zoo so worth visiting.

A new collective noun for hares
07th May 2018 - 0 comments
I've decided on a new collective noun for hares. Having spent so long trying to get close to boxing hares I am at the point of exasperation. Why do they always position themselves way out in the middle of an open field, where I have no hope of ever getting close to the action!

Occasionally, a leisurely traveller, potters by to see what all the commotion is about but mostly I have to watch in wonder from the hedge border and sidelines, at the acrobatic prancing and dancing, leaping and barging that goes on!

Thereby my new collective name is going to be a Frustration of Hares!
Early Bird
07th May 2018 - 0 comments
In truth I cannot really say I am a morning person. It's a struggle to make myself get out of bed at 4.00am but having made the effort it is joyous to be out in the fields as the sun rises. The bird song and calls alone make the effort worthwhile, with Skylark, Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Whitethroat and of course the ubiquitous Robin and Wren, all singing their little lungs out full blast!

There is something so positive about a new morning, with the promise of excitement and surprise. Although I always go out with a plan of what to try and photograph, the local wildlife doesn't always get the memo! So I am always thrilled to come home with a few images of whatever has popped his or her head out long enough for me to photograph.

I particularly love the dewy grass at this time of year and so do the baby bunnies who get their ears washed while they play and feed. Who doesn't love a baby bunny? Unwittingly I also photographed a leveret, it was bouncing about with the baby bunnies and I just thought it was a very small newborn I know differently it is a oh my goodness moment!

The youngest Roe Stag still looks super surprised and bewildered by the whole process of his antlers emerging whilst the hares continue to vex me in either being too far away or way too close!

It's still wonderful to come home with stories of shots missed as well as achieved..all in all I'd much rather be out there in the fields than missing it all by being still asleep!
Slovakian FairyTale
28th April 2018 - 0 comments
I am just back from having spent a few days in the enchanting forests in the Lower Tatra Mountains. I was hopeful of seeing and photographing European Brown Bears and maybe a few other forest inhabitants.

The scenery was stunning and magical, everywhere I looked there was something exciting to see. Fast pace bubbling brooks full of energetic Dippers, Golden Eagles majestically perched on tree branch perches and even on the tracks through the forest were deer, fox, badger and hares, making sudden and surprising encounters a real treat.

The bears themselves were a little clever in that they decided to make appearances in front of the hide during the very early morning and late evening making photographing them impossible.

Small, compact and with extra cuddly round ears they had to be the sweetest bear I have yet had the pleasure of watching. A couple did venture out one afternoon into the meadow and we were rewarded with chances to photograph two bears. At one point a military aircraft zoomed across the skyline and a male bear watched it with interest, definitely a facial expression that asked: "Is it a plane is it bird moment"

Would I go back is usually the question I ask myself ...and despite the lack of photographs this time round, my answer would be yes I would!
Growing Pains
21st March 2018 - 0 comments
It's not just the spring bulbs that are popping up at this time a year but the local Roe Deer bucks are sprouting new headgear.

Often the antlers are bloodied and look so very tender. It can't be pleasant having those grow out of your head each year!

The dominant adults look proud, the youngsters look bewildered.

I know that feeling of wanting to hide from a camera lens when my hair is rocking that just got out of bed look. As is so often the way with my camera shy, Roe Deer, there is always a blade of grass, a fence post or something they think they can hide behind!

The Beast of the East brings benefits
02nd March 2018 - 0 comments
Unable to travel and take advantage of the snowy landscapes this week I have stayed in the warm and literally photographed my garden visitors though the dining room window! With the radiator off I still had to wear coat and hat to keep the chill out!

It was rewarding to see the regulars come to the feeders and even a few hungry first timers like the Fieldfare who stripped the last few berries off my holly tree.

Sensibly, very few birds perched for very long, presumably it was even too cold for them to sit still and pose for me.

However,they made even faster work of emptying the feeders they have needed refilling on a daily basis.
Mutterings and Murmurings
13th February 2018 - 0 comments

It was certainly more by luck rather than by design that a week away in the Somerset Levels put me right in the middle of an estimated 750,000 Starlings, gathering to roost in the reed beds of the Avalon Marshes.

Each morning thousands of birds would fly high over our little barn idyll, some gathering in "swarms" on nearby trees to sing in chorus. From a distance the trees looked as though they had a covering of leaves. Often the noise would drown out all other background noises but then a two-second silence would signal a group take off and the “leaves” / starlings would become a cloud of beating wings.

Later in the day the Starlings would regather and regroup to head over to the marshes where the real murmuration spectacle would begin. Smaller flocks joined to become super groups, actually murmuring communicative calls to presumably direct and get the flock into position.

Once gathered the Starlings were ready to head to their chosen roosting spot, hovering Marsh Harriers caused them to create some of the incredible acrobatic twists, turns and shapes that are now so well documented.

Often the birds were just a river of blurred movement across the darkening skyline creating bands of light and darkness on the skyline that I really liked the simplicity of.

The mutterings were from me, never quite being in the right place to capture exactly the winning shot but a wonderful spectacle and privilege to behold.
A Goldrush
04th January 2018 - 0 comments
During the last throes of December and into early January seems to be a very good time for my garden to have what I've now come to expect as our annual gold rush.

Of course I'm talking Goldfinches and so far the all comers record to beat is 33 on the three feeders at any one time..I've counted 27 in one sitting in the last few days so with colder weather on its way I am hopeful the numbers will go up and maybe that record will be beaten.

Unfortunately, when large numbers of small birds gather then so do the predators and as much as I can ward off the local, black cat I can't do much about protecting the finches from aerial strikes by Sparrowhawks.

One male Sparrowhawk cheekily sat next to a feeder sheltering from the rain for over 2 hours the other afternoon but apart from a mob of very brave Blue Tits, cat calling from the shrubbery, no actual finch got to feast for a while. Fortunately neither did the Sparrowhawk!

The Goldie's are looking rather splendid at the moment so worth the time waiting for the better light and opportunities that will continue to come.
A New Year's Resolution
04th January 2018 - 0 comments
I thought it was about time I sorted out the content on my website so I have pledged to do this throughout January and makes things much easier to find.

Please bear with me in the meantime if you visit me midway through the spring clean and re-organistion!

Happy New Year!

Highly Commended
10th November 2017 - 0 comments
Not one too usually boast but as I haven't got too many new photographs to put up on the website at the moment I wanted to be share another recent proud moment.

For the last couple of years I have entered a couple of photographs into the annual British Wildlife Photographic awards, where professional and amateurs photographers compete for top recognition in several different categories.

Last year one of my Bank Voles photographs made the first shortlist but failed to get any further into the final rounds.

However, this year I am thrilled to have been warded the status of Highly Commended with a hare photograph called "Asparagus Camouflage" in the animal portrait category.

This was another project with my favourite animals on my favourite farm in Bintree, Norfolk, where Algy the farmer had sown a new field of asparagus. The young shoots, the soft, sandy soil were so enticing for hares to gather, rest up and wallow in the warm trenches. The difficulty was getting a clean shot as they quickly learnt that by using the stalks as camouflage and hiding their faces they managed to blend all rather too well into the background of the crop.

After many mornings and even most lost hours my tenacity paid off as I finally got this shot.
Foxy News
10th November 2017 - 0 comments
Some of you may have already seen my rather stunning Red Fox photograph in a golden Linsteed Field featured in the BBC September Wildlife magazine to help promote the very worthy organisation the Mammal Society causes. I am so proud to be helping them as heaven knows our beloved mammals need all the research and guardianship these days so I was beyond thrilled they chose this picture!

The photograph was taken during the very early mornings in June last year on my friendly farmer Algy's farm in Bintree, Norfolk. I had tracked the fox's regular homeward journey through the field for over a fortnight. This one morning with the dewy, crop glowing and glistening in the early morning sun was my lucky break..I was even downwind and the fox only saw me at the very last minute having travelled from one side of a very long field to where I was sitting.
Prickly Fir Cones
01st September 2017 - 0 comments
I love this time of year..the smell of the dewy grass in the morning, the spell of the ripening fruits hanging low on the trees teamed with the autumnal chill in the air, make early morning starts really, pleasurable.

As the hazelnuts and walnuts tumble to the lawn, hedgehogs and squirrels are already plundering the garden pantry. Splats of dark sticky poo are the real evidence on garden paths that there has been an overnight Hog rave.

It's always a good idea to peer under the conifers to see what lurks beneath and although well camouflaged fir cones aren't supposed to be prickly!

It's a Puppy picnic
15th August 2017 - 0 comments
What's not to love about puppies?

Five little Irish Cocker Spaniels in a picnic basket, three of whom are looking for good homes. Should anyone be interested in buying one please leave me your contact details and I will pass them on to my friend John!
Harvest Hares
15th August 2017 - 0 comments
It's both a blessing and a problem now that the fields have been cleared of the crops and the harvest is safely in. It's great in that I can now see the hares and can track their every move but in turn it's not so great, that they can now see and smell me, now that I am more in the open.

They are so addictive to photograph and I can't seem to wean myself off their charismatic personalities. Plus it's still a enjoy being out there in the fields early in the morning.
Any one for tennis?
19th July 2017 - 0 comments
Post Wimbledon and there has been a big revival of interest on the tennis court. appealing.

In truth not much of the ball game has been played but there has been a lot of careful inspection of both the net and lines.

I can only assume that the spectator side of the game and perhaps indeed the call of officialdom as to whether shots are in or put is more appealing.

A bird's eye view perhaps is what is required aka Hawk Eye!

Ears amongst the Spears
18th June 2017 - 0 comments
It's been a month since my last post: "It's all about the Asparagus" During that time the weather has changed drastically and the crop had morphed from being spear like stalks to lush fern.

The locals have certainly made themselves very much at home with the hares burrowing down in the soft, sandy, soil trenches and all manner of birds making the most of the insects.

It's still not easy getting clear shots through the stalks but actually I rather like the effect of the lines or the haze of the greenery. The best part is the never knowing what may turn up next and when it does testing to see if I either have the field skills or the quick reflects to actually take a photo. More often that not I find myself having to enjoy the moment rather than record it!

As the summer continues the asparagus fern should gradually turn into a wonderful bronze and gold palette. So for as long as I can get there I intend to continue the quest of recording the wildlife in this ever changing background.
It's all about the Asparagus
16th May 2017 - 0 comments
Last year I spent a few consecutive weeks setting up the tripod in a field of Linseed. Being able to capture a variety of wildlife sauntering through or amidst a changing coloured backdrop was a wonderful way of capturing the difference in light and not least the growing cycle of the crop.

This year I think Algy's Asparagus field may become the location of choice. In two consecutive mornings I have had great fun in sharing the sunrise with my favourite hares, Roe Deer, rabbits and partridge with promises of a lot photo opportunities to come.

You also shouldn't miss out on the asparagus if you live locally to Algy's Farm Shop, is at Bintree, just off the Fakenham Road, Norfolk.
There's something lurking in the woodpile dear!
15th May 2017 - 0 comments
I confess, I love to photograph a rodent, be it a mouse, a vole and yes, even a Wood Rat..I love their curiosity and confidence.

The young Wood Rats are very appealing but their Mothers who can grow to be the size of small ponies, of course I jest,can be huge and perhaps aren't so photogenic!

See what you think!

Making friends with the Fulmars
05th May 2017 - 0 comments
I also found time to hunker down with the Fulmars, a gull with eye make up that looks like its been left on from a heavy night on the rock the night before.

They are beguiling birds, seemingly tender with their partners one moment but extremely unsociable with neighbours or visitors who invade their space. A curious gull related to the albatross family they spit out foul smelling gas should intruders get too close to their nest.

Maybe the strong winds helped me this time or maybe they accepted my presence laying low on the cliff top but I fortunately didn't get a whiff of their weaponry!
Rocking the bad hair day look
05th May 2017 - 0 comments
Not much any of us can do when the wind is against us other than embrace the wildness and try to rock the look whilst sitting on a rock and looking!

This Shetland Shag kept me amused for a while on a blustery morning but I don't want to imagine what I must have looked like all things considered!
Bards of the Bogs
05th May 2017 - 0 comments
Whilst in Shetland and using public facilities in Lerwick I discovered the entertaining phenomenon called Bards of the Bog. Having looked them up online I discovered the talented poets who have aspired to introduce us to their lyrical insights into everyones' everyday.

I was particularly taken by Alison Brackenburys' "On the Aerial" bard about Starlings who as she rightly observes are everywhere on the island.

In iridescent breeding colours, slick and sleek appearance and accomplished in all manner of morning serenades, it would appear that bringing gifts to your date is the best way of winning the lady over!