A couple of months back I managed to secure the use of private site to set up a new bird feeding station for photography. This site is now known as 'The Plot' and is in an interesting location with a good potential to attract migrant birds. It has taken some work to get the site suitable for bird photography and I have shared the efforts of setting up and feeding with a couple of friends.
December has not been a good for my photography, mainly due to me feeling unwell with some lergy at the start of the month and my energy levels only returning to some normality this week. The weather and light have also been consistently poor, so even if I had been healthy enough to venture out, I don't many photographs would have been had.
A couple of days back a morning of rare sunlight was forecast and having returned to the world of the living, I finally got round to my first session at the Plot. Its is good to end the year with the start of a new project. Conditions were not ideal with a strong 30mph wind blowing in off the sea and the clouds racing across the sky causing very variable light conditions.
The wind was a nuisance as it was causing a lot of problems with my pegged down hide flapping around and causing unwanted noise. A sparrowhawk swooping through occasionally also didn't help put the birds at ease.
It is always interesting when you start photographing at a new feeding station, not only to see which birds are turning up, but also you start to get a feel for the subtleties of how the light changes across the the set up and influences the background colours. This is quite nicely demonstrated in the two Goldfinch photos above and below.
The main bird species arriving at the free food supply were a range of tit species and finches such as this Great Tit.
I was particularly happy to see good numbers of Greenfinch turning up which are beautiful birds.
A party of around ten Long-tailed tits were also doing the rounds and coming through en mass on an hourly cycle. A species that is always such fun to photograph and I look forward to more encounters with them over the coming months.
There were several other species visiting the Plot at the moment but they can wait to future sessions. The final species photographed during my brief session was a bold male Great spotted Woodpecker which seems to have taken a strong liking to one of the upright perches.
So that really brings this year to a close. 2011 has been an enjoyable year with around 110 bird and 5 mammal species photographed including quite a good number that I have not put in front of the camera previously. I have so many incredible memories but some highlights would include the Stone Curlew and Balearic Warblers of Mallorca in the Spring, the Whinchat and Corn Bunting in the Summer and Water Rails in the Autumn. I think my strongest memory will be spending the three hours following a group of hunting stoat which was such a unique and privileged experience.
What will 2012 bring? Well who can say but I already have quite a few plans including a week booked away oversea. I am looking forward to 2012 already and will end this post by wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Wildlife filled New Year.