Monday, May 31, 2010

Funny looking fish

I reckon that as I'm doing more bird photography than fishing at the moment I might as well blog about that for the time being. Leave now if that doesn't interest you! One reason I'm not fishing is that local stillwaters don't inspire me much, and travelling for two/three day sessions is no fun when they are blanks. Popping out for a few hours and travelling no more than ten miles to take photos is much easier - and cheaper with petrol the price it is nowadays.

My plan this morning was a 'milk run' to hit three sites as the sun favoured them - starting off with reed buntings, followed up by lapwings and rounded off with wrens.

Down at the canal I passed an angler of my acquaintance who was just starting off an early morning pole session. Reed and sedge warblers were in evidence, visually as well as audibly, and a reed bunting was in evidence too. The light was just about coming bright enough as I set up, slightly side-tracked by the reed warblers. Although they were noisy enough they were also on the move. I think they were hunting to feed their broods, possibly a fledgeling or two was around as there were twos and threes to be seen.

I need a telephoto lens to see a pole float!

The warblers wouldn't play ball, and the buntings only popped up when I was moving my set up. I didn't fancy my chances much and wandered off with the camera to see what was going on. Sure enough a reed warbler was spotted gathering food, insects and caterpillars, flying across the canal and back, and up and down the bankside reeds.

On my way back to collect my gear there was a speedy flash of iridescent blue over the water. Only one thing that could be. A kingfisher. And there it was perched in a willow overhanging the far margin. Framing a shot was tricky owing the to the reeds between me and the bird but I managed a few, even getting a little closer - without falling in the water! Then the kingfisher flitted off, but only to another branch that gave me a slightly better view where it sat and preened.


The resulting pics are not the best, they needed cropping and the light wasn't too good under the willow, but a bit of work on the PC made them my best kingfisher shots so far. All the more pleasing for not being one of the birds on the local nature reserve which have had more lenses pointed at them than Britney Spears.

The lapwings weren't too keen on seeing me. With them being in a field with a main road running alongside it, and with a low wall for cover, I was hoping they'd be less wary than lapwings usually are. But they weren't. I gave up and went for a wander along another stretch of the canal where I took some pics of a family of swans simply because they were there. A reed bunting presented itself while I was with the swans, but just that bit too far off to make for decent pics. Marginally the best I've managed so far, though not good enough to post.

Off to the wrens next, and sure enough they were where I thought they would be among the bracken and brambles of a ditch bank. Like the warblers they were noisy and feeding infants. No really good opportunities arose before they flew off up a side ditch, which was a shame as they will come close enough.

Deciding to call it a morning I heard a yellowhammer as I set off back to the car. For once it succumbed to my charms and I had the light behind me. The shots aren't as sharp as I think they should be, but they're okay, and far better than any of my earlier efforts. Typically the bird struck its best poses behind stems and leaves, but that's the way it goes.