As many of the regular readers of this blog will know, I like to keep a camera by my side as often as possible to take advantage of any wildlife photography opportunities that cross my path. One such chance event occurred recently as I was driving past one of the local fields which the winter flocks of Curlew like to use during high tide to feed and roost. I suppose I was fortunate to be passing at the right time and also that the sun briefly showed on an otherwise grey and overcast day. When I first found the flock they were busy feeding but too distant for photographs of individual birds.
On the scale of difficulty of approach, I would rank Curlew fairly high. If you are on foot then they will start walking rapidly in the opposite direction long before you have managed to get anywhere within photography range. However, they don't seem to associate a car with danger and so I used mine as a mobile hide. This was one of the rare occasions when some dog walkers actually helped me photograph the birds. Two appeared on the far side of the field and the immediate response of the birds was to start walking in the opposite direction but in this case it was towards me.
It is always a great feeling when your subject starts getting larger and larger in the viewfinder as not only do you know the photographs will improve with each step but also the fact that you get opportunity to observe the birds at close quarters.
Despite staying alert to the now distant dog walkers the birds continued to feed on earthworms. No earthworm within 10cms of the soil surface is safe from that long elegantly curved bill.
Still the birds came closer and were now completely filling the frame. You will notice that there is a large difference in bill length between the bird in the photograph above and the one below. If I am correct I believe the females generally have the longest bills.
The sun even managed to put in a brief appearance while the birds were at close range.