Thursday, January 08, 2015

Whooping Cold Bird

I've written before about our local seasonal wetland - the Nedern.  In winter the fields flood and we get an influx of wildfowl - wigeon, tufted duck, shoveller, pintail, teal, shelduck - and waders, especially redshank.  I haven't ever given them the time they deserve but the angles and light can be troublesome and it's hard to find a good viewpoint. 
Last weekend for the first time I went down reasonably early and tucked into some bushes.  The duck were miles away as usual, but the population of mute swan swells beyond the resident pair and a juvenile and adult cruised around playing at mirror imaging.

Wait a sec ...... let's back up.  That bill on the back bird isn't orange.

OK the most contrived title and intro for a post I've probably ever made!  A keen eyed Nedern watcher had spotted a whooper swan, and it had been hanging around for a while.  Although a number of northern swans overwinter in this area, most are the Bewick's which characterise winter at nearby Slimbridge.  So while I'm not a twitcher at all this was too good a chance to miss.

I'd seen the bird a few times walking the dog, but it favoured the far end of the wetland nearest Caerwent village, and relatively difficult to reach so I wasn't too hopeful of closer shots. 
I did 'visualise' one shot (careful - I'll be talking about 'making pictures' next) when I saw it swim across with the village in the background, but didn't have time to swap the set up to allow a bit more space.  I wanted to catch the church and did so but the bloody thing dipped it's head at the crucial point!

I did manage a few closer shots when it drifted nearer briefly but it was bit shy and I didn't have a hide. 
After it disappeared for a while round the corner I decided to call it a day.  Had just stood up when I heard the instantly recognisable sound of a swan taking off.  It came into view flying low and I tried to grab some shots by handholding a 600mm lens attached to a folded tripod!  This looks ok at this resolution, but isn't one to blow up I'm afraid.

My big treat this summer is a photography trip to Iceland, and I may even see this swan again then.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Good to link up with another Welsh nature blogger. I mention your blog at: