Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slimbridge I

I always think of Slimbridge as the sum of two parts. There's what I think of as the commercial bit ,and the 'wild' bit; the zoo and the nature reserve. The main area you first enter contains the pens where the captive birds are, ranging from the exotics to the more common UK birds. We went along on Saturday to enjoy the sun, feed the birds and try out my new lens - I've bought a zoom for the holidays - unless it was a photo holiday there's no way I'd lug around the 300mm on a day out!
The sun brought the chance to capture some close ups of a few captive UK species, as well as the odd wild bird that was enjoying the facilities. It was good to get back to the extra freedom that a zoom lens brings, and by and large I was quite pleased with the lens. Any problems lay with the photographer! For the captives the male eiders were the stars of this show, although I still have a bit of a thing for the goldeneye.As for the wild birds? The first couple show the duck that looks so drab at a distance, so dazzlingly patterned close-up, the Gadwall. Wouldn't a catch-light have made that black headed gull shot. Tiny bit of flash maybe? The backlit bill would still have been there, but would that have removed the shadow? The eye is just so black. The lapwing shots were the best I've had yet of this species, and the background fence just about blurs out enough.
Later we wandered along to the feeding area - each night at 4 pm the wildfowl get a snack, but it seems it's more of a social occasion than anything. The Bewick swans come along, and I even had a bash at some flight shots, despite the fading light. Me and Andy Rouse that is. See I'm moving in exalted company now!! I expect his results were a lot better than mine, although the incoming Bewick wasn't bad. He certainly didn't ask me for any tips.
As always better versions of some of these snaps HERE - click on the 'latest' folder. Hopefully the eiders at least will show well.


Roger B. said...

Lovely pictures. I agree that the combination of captive and wild birds on Wildfowl Trust reserves is a good idea - although it's a bit sad to see birds with clipped wings.

Brian said...

Thanks Roger. I know what you mean about the wings. On Saturday I heard someone comment about a 'poor bird' being injured and didn't have the heart to say it was deliberate. However the number of children clearly having a good time must bode well for the future in other respects. I guess it's that old issue about zoos in general, whether the pro's outwiegh the con's.