Wednesday, 11 February 2015

More action on the Somerset Levels

I really have been trying to get to grips with this year's garden-bird-in-flight project. Somehow, though, it is proving difficult. The garden birds are reluctant to visit my many feeders in any numbers - whatever food I offer them.

It has been like this for about six months now, and I hear similar stories from other people. I have no idea why this is. It must be to do with the availability of other natural food supplies, or perhaps it is just that my neighbour has better bird food on offer than I have!

The other problem is that as soon as there is any fine weather, I find myself drawn back to the Somerset Levels and the numerous wildfowl.  I can never resist a good Swan!

This, of course, is a Mute Swan. There are a few Whoopers about, but I have not yet seen one this winter. Fabulous birds both of them.

The Shoveler also takes some beating for photographic impact.

Likewise, a Pintail.

The big drama always centres around raptors though. Whilst I was at Greylake a few days ago, this female Marsh Harrier was stirring up the ducks. It did not attempt to attack them. John Waters (noted wildlife cinematographer) suggests that they just try to clear the lake and then look out for any ailing birds left behind. It certainly looked like that was what it was doing.

Here is a view of another, taken this time at Westhay NNR.

As much as I like a good Marsh Harrier, I never like to overlook a Buzzard. Shame the light was not just a bit better for this shot.

For the technically persuaded, just a short note on my experiences with the new Canon 7DMk2. I have had difficulty persuading myself that this camera represented much of an advance on the original 7D, which I used for four years. However, on Monday, I took my old 7D on a coastal walk and tried to photograph some Fulmars wheeling about below the cliff top with the sea as a background. I was struck by the difficulty the autofocus system had in picking out and holding the bird against the background. In the few months I have had the Mk2, I have become used to being able to take this type of shot. So maybe it is doing something for me after all?

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