Sunday, 28 June 2015

You learn something new every time

Little Egrets have become very common now and, as always, common birds are very easy for the photographer to ignore. Not this one however. I first noticed it posing on a floating platform at the RSPB Ham Wall reserve. First like this.

 Then like this.

But the main thing was that it had a novel way of fishing. It would fly low over the water, trailing its feet to make a splash. This would scare the small fish which then jumped out of the water ahead of it. It made repeated stabs downwards to catch them. You can sort of see the technique in these two shots.

The small splashes ahead of the Egret are the little fish breaking surface. Clever or what?

Other Ham Wall activity included frequent flights by a Grey Heron returning to its nest. They have a particular way of flying when doing this.

Of course, Ham Wall is now famous for its Great Egrets and they were much in evidence. Again they make something of a display each time they land in the reeds making for some unusual poses.

Incidentally, for you photographers, I was trying out my new Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens on these shots. I had the 2x converter attached and was just amazed at the high quality of the images. Before, using the original version of this same lens, the 2x converter was practically unusable because of the huge negative impact it had on image quality - not any more! Here is a Great Egret making a fly past with its friend.

I had a really great afternoon that day. I was keen to get some test images with my new lens and these Marsh Harriers obliged by flying closer than they ever have before. I was very pleased with the sharpness and detail in the photos. You can see them a little more closely on my website at where I have just posted a few of the latest photos.

On another occasion I spent some time on the South Coast. This Barn Owl made a few unpredictable appearances and I was very excited to see it! I did not yet have my new lens when these shots were taken, and I had traded in my old one so I was reduced to using my standby lens. The photos are not great and I am hoping to get one more go at it with the Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II to see what a difference it will make. I guess it is rather unlikely that the owl will cooperate in this venture! In fact I was on site first thing on Sunday morning and it did not appear so maybe the show is over.

Finally, as regular readers will know, I am a sucker for a good duck! So here is a Shelduck making a low pass for the camera.

And this one is a female Gadwall.

I am really excited about my new lens and look forward to many hours getting better and better photos.

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Until next time.

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