Monday, 28 September 2015

More nature photos from the West Country wetlands

Armed only with my Canon 7D Mk2 and Canon 400mm f4 DO II, plus a box of sandwiches and a flask of coffee of course, I continue to scour the wetlands of Somerset and Devon in search of stunning bird in flight photos. 

This one however was taken from my own garden.

Attracted outside by the load mewing of Buzzards I looked up to see four of them lazily turning in the clear blue sky. I ran inside again to get my camera, by which time the thermals had carried them a bit higher, but I still managed to get a few shots.

Thinking I might get lucky again I stationed myself in a deckchair, leant fully back and endeavoured to keep my eyes open on sky-watch. The very next thing I spotted was a soaring Sparrow Hawk. It was very high up, so this is no more than an identification shot.

To my surprise, the hawk turned, folded its wings, and commenced a very high speed dive right in my direction. It was unbelievably fast, and from being what seemed a long way away within a couple of seconds it went screaming over my deckchair. The 7D Mk2 autofocus system struggled to keep up with it, so I only got this vaguely focussed shot out of six or so attempts. It is not a good photo, but I think you can see the concentration on its face as it rocketed towards me.

Luckily it turned out that I was not on the menu for that day. Talking of menus, back to my box of sandwiches and the wide open spaces.

When there are very few birds around most bird photographers turn to insects. This is my shot (above) of a Dragonfly hovering in front of the hide window at RSPB Ham Wall. Surprisingly good I thought - and a lot easier than birds-in-flight. This Little Grebe is also not a bird in flight, but it impressed me by its width - first time a bird has done that! It has something of the battleship about it. Not bad for a tiny bird.

Can't resist a good Moorhen running on the water either. Never tire of trying to get the perfect shot of this amazing spectacle. Still working on it.

Always on the look out for an artistically pleasing photo, I took this Mute Swan serenely cruising against the light. Much overlooked birds are Swans.

Likewise Grey Herons. This one stood stoically in a rain shower. I don't suppose that rain makes much difference to water birds, but I though the rain splashes added interest to the composition.

Then another Grey Heron. This is one with a local reputation for catching mice rather than fish. You can see that it has turned its back on the water and is stalking along the shoreline looking and listening out for mice in the grass. Didn't see it catch one, but I will be keeping my eye on this particular Heron.

This fancy Frog, which is called something like an Iberian Marsh Frog, had better watch out too. This is the type that is locally common at RSPB Ham Wall reserve.

Finally, here is a Marsh Harrier. I waited patiently and sank back into the shadows in the hope that it would come closer but no luck on this occasion. Never mind, there is still some drama about the shot in my opinion.

Another look at this same Harrier revealed it to be in a bit of a tatty state. Moulting I guess.

 So the quest for the perfect bird-in-flight photo continues! I think it is a lifetime's work! But I don't mind that at all. There are a lot worse ways of spending your life.

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Thanks, and until next time.