Thursday, January 12, 2012

Plan B

Last weekend, I did have good intentions but they proved to be too optimistic. The idea was to rise early on Saturday and head to some pine forest to try and find some Crossbills. However, I was booked in for a rare Friday night out in Liverpool and eventually arrived home at 3am. I very rarely drink and so the few drinks really impacted on my well being the next day. Not only did I sleep through the alarm clock but woke feeling like an army of blacksmiths were trying to hammer their way out of the back of my head. Looking out the window there was a strong breeze blowing which instantly cancelled out the tree top hugging Crossbills. Given my very delicate hungover condition a more gentle pursuit was required, a Plan B. I eventually forced myself out the front door to look for some winter thrushes.

I made my way to reliable site, feeling and probably looking decidedly green, and located a flock of around 60 Fieldfare slowly making their way across a field. However, there was a chain-link fence between myself and the birds which made any photography impossible. Time to look elsewhere. My level of motivation was rapidly declining as the pounding in my head seemed to be increasing. What kept me going though the trauma was the rare view of the sun shining, in what has been the worst winter weather for photography that I can remember.

Eventually I found a low Firethorn bush with a few remaining berries and three species of feeding thrushes. I positioned myself so that a grey wall of a building behind the bush provided an unusual neutral back drop to allow the colours of the birds to shine in the low winter sun. First bird before my sore eyes was a Fieldfare that landed on top of the bush. This bird was a really beautifully marked individual of a species that seems to show quite a degree of variation.
Another berry disappears.
Usually when so few berries are remaining these isolated bushes are dominated by a lone Mistle Thrush which tends to chase all the other birds away from its personal larder. However, this bird seemed quite relaxed about the Fieldfare and Redwing busily depleting the dwindling food supply.
The bird I was most happy to see coming in to feed were the Redwing, which are always particularly shy and one of the most difficult to approach. One waiting in a tree next to the bush.
Several Redwing were coming in to feed at the same time.
Memories of the previous night, down in one.
The session was cut short by an increasing feeling that the best place for me that day would be back in bed to recover from my self-induced illness. I have already planned next weekend and this time I will be back on track and with a clear head will be resolutely sticking to my plan.


Neil said...

Excellent shots.

Ive only managed some half ok shots of fieldfare of the winter thrushes. There are loads where I work but I cant get close and they stay at the top of the tall hawthorns too!

grammie g said...

HI Rich...Absolutely amazing photos, and amazing that you got them to ...the hung over birder... love the decription!! hahaha!!
Great light and photo opp. how wonderful is that!

Laurence and Maria Butler said...

Great photos, as always. I really like the rich, strong hues of this setting, in addition to the birds.

Marc Heath said...

Stunning shots Rich, absolute quility jobs.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Bless your head.;))) Glad you finally got yourself up and out the door, for these images were worth the effort. I especially like the 3 rd image down, all of them are truly grand though~

Matt Latham said...

Superb thrush images Richard. I wish I could capture images that good under the influence! Happy new year.

Salvador Recio Urbano said...

Excelente reportaje, unas fotos preciosas, te felicito. Un saludo.

MANA GROUP said...


Rich Steel said...

Thanks for the replies. Never again will I photograph birds with a hangover. Lesson well and truly learnt and it was a fairly unpleasant experience.




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