Saturday, May 09, 2009

Yellows in Peril

I had my first attempt at photographing yellow wagtails last year which was not particularly successful. Given that the time of year had come around again I thought I would try again. The male birds are really stunning and unfortunately a species that has shown huge declines across the UK, mainly as a result of changes in agricultural practices. It would be a great shame to lose them as the yellow headed variety is virtually exclusive to the UK.

Not the most camouflaged of ground nesting birds.
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Their decline has been attributed to a number of factors such as draining of wet meadows, change in crop type and planting methods. It was quite interesting at this particular site to note that they were all using one particular field where the crop was slightly longer than those adjacent.

Their call is very distinctive.
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They are tricky to photograph and all these were taken by using the car as a mobile hide, combined with luck and patience and use of the 1.4 teleconvertor to give the camera some extra reach
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The best opportunities arose when the birds flew over on to the wire next to the track where I was parked. They always seemed to land on the wire rather than the supporting posts.
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Hopefully the way some farmers have responded to the decline in skylarks through changes in their management practices will also be extended more to these wonderful birds in the future.

6 comments:

Ginnymo said...

What a pretty little bird! Beautiful photos!!

neil said...

A fantastic set of photos of a beautiful bird

Rambling Rob said...

Fantastic photos and informative notes. Thank you Richard.

T and S said...

Stunning as always but the shot of the wagtail against the blue skies is simply top notch Rich

Cathy B. said...

Beautiful photos and blog :-)

Rich Steel said...

Many thanks for your comments. I have not been back to try for the wagtails again and probably will not get opportunity now. However, already looking foward to another session with them next year.

Cheers

Rich

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