Monday, February 23, 2009

More Black Redstart

I remember once reading a quote by Frans Lanting about not wanting to take 'Bird on a Stick' photographs (sometimes known, I read elsewhere as BOAS pictures!). Pictures should do more to inspire, showing behaviour, or telling a story. For a weekend snapper like me that's a challenge. You either have to be very lucky, or put the hours in concentrating on a single species until you can get the best position, timing and light - and still you need an element of fortune.
As the Forest of Dean was out of bounds this weekend (dreadful mobile phone signal), and with a pretty small list of options I headed back to the delights of Costa Sudbrook to see if I could do better with the redstart. You can see that the environment leaves something to be desired - litter, mud and the roar of traffic on the Second Severn Crossing. When the bridge was closed recently one of the locals said his walk along the shore was weird - something missing.
I put in quite a few hours over 2 mornings, but the bird was conspicuous by it's absence most of the time. So too were the pipits, wagtails and stonechats of the previous weekend, so I suspect it was more about food than anything else. Still the bird did show 3 times and on one occasion came near enough for some close ups. On the sticks. Sticks which I, and I presume Chris Grady (see his website links to right) had positioned in range, in the hope they would be used.
Look how the thinner stick gives a better balance to the composition. I had also placed a blue bottle at a jaunty angle and was delighted when the bird used it for a sort of Chris Packham shot. Could have been a nicer prop and sharper picture, but a bit different. I can hear the purists shuddering.
Sadly the preening shot was from the wrong side.
At one point it almost looked like it was singing, although I couldn't hear anything (the articulated symphony from the bridge might have played a part in that).
Then it did open it's beak a number of times, but didn't seem to be singing so much as yawning. Just a bit too far away so this is a crop, and again not pin sharp. Still a BOAS, but at least there was some life there.
As always check the 'Latest Pictures' album HERE for better views.
And if you want to see some shots with life in them click HERE to see Chris Grady's recent non-BOAS goosander shots.

No comments: