Sep 12, 2012

Swallow this !!

Here is a photo i am really chuffed with. This is the sort of shot i dream of getting and this is how i got it. First thing in the morning as i was putting the puppy out to do its biz when swallows took off from the gutter over head. These were the freshly fledged chicks from the brood in next doors garage. I though that was close and nice as they flittered away but then though no more about it. Later in the day i walked out of the open back door intending to be cleaning up the pups biz when i heard a noise and looked back. Two swallow fledglings were sitting there calling and as i watched the parent bird came in and fed one of the calling chicks. My vantage point was a runway between the shed and house that leads to the dogs pound. I stood quietly and another food pass took place. Exciting to watch as it was i thought PHOTO OPP!!. I quickly returned indoors through the front door to get my camera. Slipping back in to the gap between the shed and house where i was reasonably hidden and i started to try for feeding shots. I couldnt have been in a better position, 6m away resting on the sloping roof. As the parent birds returned and the chicks would start their demanding calls for food. This gave the perfect opportunity to depress the shutter button to prefocus before the main event. All i had to do was settle in and concentrate on the job in hand. Unfortunately the midges had the same sort of idea and began to feed off me at there leisure. It all gets very zen as you search for an external stillness whilst they crawl over your skin, knowing that to wave your arms or rub your face would collapse the situation with the young birds taking off. Over about 40 mins i managed to take 25 or so shots, now this is where the truth of the situation comes out for even though i had taken advantage of being in the right place at the right time this shot is realy down to lady luck. After retreating from the midge attack and processing the photos on the computer 25 shots yielded up five food passes none clear several to late or early misses and this photo i cropped out was one of the first i took. Luck really does play a part for me.......and greatfull I am for it!

Stronsay trip

Good day out on Stronsay with the RSPB local group migrant outing. Although the westerly wind flow had us looking for american arivals rather than european song birds both were a little sparce. Allan and Jerrys numbers read like this.

Waders; Greenshank (2), Black-tailed Godwit (45), Knot, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Sanderling (72 - including a colour-ringed bird & 26), Bar-tailed Godwit (14), Snipe, Turnstone, Curlew, and Golden Plover (300+).

Wildfowl; Mute Swan (3prs with broods of 4 cygnets), Pink-footed Geese (23), Red-breasted Merganser (25), Little Grebe (1), Coot (40ish), Pintail (16), Shoveler (17), Wigeon (800+), Teal (50+), Gadwall (2), Tufted Duck (26), and the ever present Greylags... (no collars though)

Passerines; Wheatears numbered (20+), Meadow Pipits dotted around in loose flocks and a few White Wagtails with fewer Pied. Linnet & Twite probably in equal number.

Grey Heron (at least 20 seen), Sandwich Tern (15+), Arctic Skua (2), Peregrine (Ad, male chasing the Black-tailed Godwits) and a cock Hen Harrier on the way to the boat.