Sunday, 7 June 2015

Bitterns and various aerial hunters

Definitely not tired of photographing Bitterns yet! Now well established in the Somerset wetlands they still make a fine and exciting sight as they pass over the reed beds. This one was photographed yesterday at #RSPB Ham Wall.

I am still hoping one day to catch one landing in the reeds, wings open and feet extended. You gotta have a dream! But for the time being the occasional fly-past is still pretty rivetting. Enough to grab everyone's attention. Other birds going about their business on a fine June day included this Carrion Crow. It was hunting over the reed tops.

From this position it can look down the reed stems, the reed beds become transparent when viewed from directly above, to see if any eggs or young chicks have been left unguarded. Then it is only a matter of dropping down between the yielding reeds to claim the prize.

It is quite difficult to photograph a black bird against a white sky as I was obliged to attempt to do yesterday. The photos are not great, but the story is a good one. On this occasion I did not see it catch anything, but a previous blog showed one flying off with a stolen egg, which it later dropped -

Another hunter which uses exactly the same technique is the Marsh Harrier, shown below cruising the reed tops.

A very large percentage of young chicks are taken by predators. It amazes me that the target species survive, but they do!

There were still one or two Hobbies patrolling the skies at #HamWall and feasting on the many dragon flies - there were thousands, if not millions of them (Dragonflies that is, not Hobbies.)

I watched the Dragonflies swarming among the reed tops and it soon became apparent that they were feeding on small black flies that had hatched in their countless swarms. I concentrated on one black fly for a few seconds and saw a Dragonly swoop in to eat it. Too quick for a photo though.

These Hobbies were concentrating on the Dragonflies cruising at a slightly higher altitude.

 The following shot shows a Hobby eating a Dragonfly in flight.

Other interesting birds to fly by were this Great Crested Grebe.

And a Tufted Duck.

So, that was five hours enjoyably spent. No great photos to show for it, but a lovely day and just enough activity to keep me awake. Love it.

I will be publishing further blogs on the Canon 7D Mk2 autofocus system soon, but my own personal obsession at the moment is the up-coming possible purchase of a new lens. Will update you if and when I take the big leap.

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