In the Brecks last week listening to a charade of Firecrest song. However it wasn’t that that caught our attention. It was the flock of Mandarin ducks looking resplendent in breeding garb that stole the show. What beautiful ducks these are.
Posts Tagged ‘photography
A look at the weather forecast and it appeared a little sunshine would grace the charming village of Beeley in Derbyshire on Tuesday. I decided to make the journey across to see the Dusky Thrush that had been found there a few days earlier. The sunshine would be good for photography. An early rise and a busy drive later found me trying to find a parking space among the now bustling quaint lanes of the picture postcard venue. If I’d flown from the far east this is probably where I would have chosen to set up shop although exactly what this secluded inland village has in preference to Japan or even Korea I’m not sure.
The bird had been seen before my arrival but had flown off. I staked out an area with fallen apples that I was reliably told it had been frequenting. Redwings, Fieldfare and Blackbirds were everywhere; in much greater numbers than they are here in Norfolk. I didn’t have to wait long before this marvellous thrush flew in and gorged on the apples, much to the chagrin of a local blackbird that pursued the intruder with intent. The village is set in the valley bottom and the hills around were capped with low cloud; the light was dreadful for photography. Still, I fired off a few shots as best I could. It spent around 15 minutes in and around the orchard, mostly obscured, before flying away strongly with a few harsh and unfamiliar ‘creck, creck, creck’ calls. I waited several more hours and the sun did indeed come out… but the bird did not. It did return again but the air was milky and horrible by then so I put down the camera and had a damn good look. With the plumage of an ill painted bulky Redwing it showed the faint covert bar of a first winter bird. In some lights the secondary feather edges looked chestnut enough for a male; in other lights they looked dull enough to indicate I was watching a female. I guess if the bird stops for the winter we may find out its gender for sure towards the end of its stay. Any which way … its a fantastic bird to see.
Stood in the last of the afternoon light last week we approached a small flock of Shorelark. They were a little flighty but as they settled down to feed we ventured a little closer. It took around 30 minutes to get close enough. However being quiet, careful of our shadows and movements seemed to no avail as a lady bowled up the beach and bellowed out ‘What are you looking at?’ Needless to say the flock immediately took flight much to the chagrin of at least one of my companions. Although all was not lost as the seeds from the horned poppies (which have the longest seedpod of any British flower) proved too much temptation as another lady collecting jetsam further up the beach flushed them back!
It’s par for the course that golfers and bird photographers don’t always hit it off. A couple of Dotterel that turned up at the Sheringham course recently saw the patience of a few driven quite far. Some photographers had the balls to venture a little closer than others to bag a shot; leaving those that stopped a fair – way away a little more green with envy. I know … I know, but the situation just teed itself up.