Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring Sunshine

Spring is such a wonderful time of year for the bird photographer. The birds are very active, often in their best colours and the spring passage of migrants can always produce the unexpected. A further benefit is that first light is still at a sensible hour!

My local coastline is a good place to wander around at this time of year as it is popular as a brief stopping point with migrants heading northwards. One of the first arrivals are the Northern Wheatear in their beautiful spring colours. They are difficult birds to approach with a fondness of staying ahead of you and frustratingly just out of range. I managed to use some cover to get close in on this fine male.

Another species which is diffcult to get close to are linnet, although spring does seem to offer the best chance for a photograph or two as the males are often preoccupied with trying to attract a mate.

I was out yesterday morning and managed to get a Whimbrel in front of the lens for the first time. Always such a great pleasure to get a new species. Slightly smaller than a curlew and easily distinguished by the head stripe, there are always few passing through each spring. They show similar characteristics to the curlew in being nervous and difficult birds to approach. A slow and patient couple of hours were required to get a few photographs.


As for the unusual, I was recenty out with my friend Steve and spotted this goose on the local shore. It was one of the moments when you had to rub your eyes in disbelieve, as there in front of us was a Bar-headed goose. These birds are from central Asia and hold the migration altitude record as they fly over the Himalayas. I suspect this bird has never seen central Asia and likely to be an escapee (although it had no leg rings) or a feral bird.

To finish off this post there is still the odd Turnstone locally that have not headed north to breed. They are looking very smart as they transform into their summer plumage.

I should imagine this worm had wished this particular bird had made its migration journey.


Madison said...

Stunning work.

T and S said...

Awesome images Rich. The flight shot of the Whimbrel is a masterpiece.

Ginnymo said...

Great photos as usual Richard. Love that one with the worm..Ha!

Anonymous said...

I've never seen a Northern Wheatear, lovely to see them on your blog. The best picture for me was the Turnstone with the worm. That's a brilliant picture... that worm is hanging on for dear life.

Thought you might like to know about the Kestrel Nestbox Webcam I've just set up on the Dorset Wildlife Trust website (see my blog for link).

Armchair birdwatching... but good on a rainy day! Thanks. Jane

Rich Steel said...

Thanks for your comments. If you spend enough time out with the camera then photographs are interesting moments like the turnstone pulling a worm will eventually come your way.

Jane I checked out the kestrel nest box which was cool and no doubt become more interesting as time goes on.



Chris said...

Hi. A wonderful blog that I'm discovering through the photography blog initiated by Ian... Wow, very impressive pictures over there. I will definitively come back!


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