Thursday, September 13, 2012

A jewel amidst the mist and mud

So what to do - wetland or buzzards?  I decided to have a go at both, popping the hide up near the flooded field and putting a rabbit down on the grass.  Frustratingly the Bristol channel mist hung around for hours and the herons were more shy than last time - a few grey shots of black and white birds didn't really grab the lens,

and I began to give up hope of any decent shots.  In the background,  intermittently., I could hear a peep-peep which I assumed had to be another sandpiper of some kind, but I just couldn't see it.  Then a plop and a spreading ripple in the water under the adjacent trees.  Slowly it clicked, although I struggled to believe it at first.  I peered round the corner as far as I could and sure enough ............ kingfisher!  Trouble is it was perfectly positioned between me and the sun.  It flew off after a few minutes, and I looked to see if I could move the hide.  Looking at the sea of mud and four inch deep hoofprints I decided that would probably be more hassle than value - as mentioned last time this hide is a woolworths tent complete with built in goundsheet, so the outcome would be quite gruesome!

The sun finally broke through, but the egrets remained twitchy, and after a further visit from the kingfisher I decided something had to be done. 
So I fell back on my pocket hide from Primark.  When snapping birds drinking at a woodland pool without a hide I found my success was boosted if I draped a camo  scarf over my head and camera in the fashion of those old plate lensmen.
Wading thought mud, nearly leaving the wellies behind a couple of times, I tucked in near some reeds, shoving the tripod legs down until they seemed to hit solid ground.  Trouble is to get the lens over the reeds I had to raise the camera up, meaning that to see through the lens I had to kneel with my right leg.  I've been there before and the blotting paper effect isn't my favourite feeling, but what the hell if it came off it would be worth it.
To my surprise the first bird down was an egret, as near as any that day.  I had to swing the camera round 90 degrees, but a slow move meant the bird wasn't disturbed.

After perhaps 10 minutes a blue dart shot across me to the trees.  Another slow pan round and bingo!  My best ever views of a kingfisher.  Frustratingly the hide was showing as a dark blob in the background, more evident when I got home

but it was less marked on some views and with a bit of cropping I'm pretty happy with my first bash at this bird.

Hopefully it will stick around - I don't have another free weekend for a while - but if it does I know what my next project is.


Caroline Gill said...


We greatly enjoyed seeing our first Spoonbills this summer (in Norfolk).

Brian J Davis said...

Cracking post Brian, well done.

Brian said...

Thanks Brian and Caroline. A spoonbill really would round things off! Brian