Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Exciting birds at RSPB Ham Wall

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A great day at #RSPB Ham Wall last weekend! The Glossy Ibis that has been there for some time actually showed itself in front of one of the hides.

And to add to the excitement, a pair of Herons were starting to build a nest in front of the Tor View hide.

So, first to the Ibis. An elusive bird on most occasions, it chose a much more open location to feed during my visit. Sadly the sun was not shining during the time it was at its closest, but I managed to get some reasonable shots. Here are a few conventional poses, followed by some more unusual ones.

By the way, many of these shots were taken with the Canon 400mm f4 DO II plus 2x teleconverter. I am really pleased with them as I really would not have got anything without the converter. This confirms my opionion as expressed in my previous Blog on converters and image quality  http://johncrabbwildlifeimages.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/do-lens-extenders-ruin-image-quality.html

And what does it think it is doing with this reed? Thinking of building a nest too, just like the Herons?

I did try to catch it in flight too, but annoyingly missed my best opportunity. I had been watching it closely for ages anticipating a take-off, but when it finally did my attention had been distracted by two new visitors to the hide - so I missed it! Quite a lot of silent cursing followed that. Anyway, here are some of the flight shots I did manage.

And so on to the Herons. Not normally considered a very exciting bird due to it being so common, but when you see them flying their displays during courting and nest building you really could not ask for anything more dramatic! For a start, they fly with their necks extended rather than neatly folded away.

I first spotted them in the reeds.

 Then witnessed them mating.

Obviously this did not go down too well with at least one of them!

  But they soon got over it and this next sequence shows the male (presumably) bringing a stick and its mate accepting it.

  Common birds, yes, but magnificent too!

All shots taken with the Canon 7D Mk2 (what a fantastic camera it is) and the Canon 400mm f4 DO II with teleconverters, usually the 1.4x, but also the 2x for distant shots.

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Until next time!

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