Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Goosander in Flight

This post is a continuation of the previous post on my trip to North Wales to photograph some Goosander on an upland lake. I have undertaken several sessions previously with these birds but never managed to photograph one in flight. This has resulted from the birds never actually taking to the wing during my previous visits. Therefore the main objective of this session was to try and capture some of those elusive flight photographs.
The birds seemed very active, which may have been a result of the high numbers of males creating competition and trying to impress the two females present. This resulted in the birds frequently taking flight. Just like public transport you wait ages for one to arrive and then three turn up at once.
As this was the first time I had seen the birds in the air I was amazed by the speed of their low flight across the lake. Fortunately they tend to fly in reasonably straight lines which allows time for the photographer to track the bird and the camera focus to lock on the target. It reminded me a little of photographing puffins on a larger scale. I didn't manage to take a photograph of one of the females in flight but was happy with my results for the male birds.

It was interesting to watch these birds coming in to land as not only do they use their wings and large webbed feet to slow down their approach but in the final moment dip their fanned tail into the water to provide an additional brake. Given the speed of their flight the birds have a lot of momentum to dissipate before landing.
Another thing I had not realised from previously watching the birds swimming around the lake was the width of their body which is shown on this head on approach photo of bird coming in to land.
These birds will no doubt have dispersed now to their breeding areas on the fast flowing streams and rivers that drain the surrounding hills. However, I am sure they will return once more to this lake next winter and no doubt I will join them once more for another session in attempt to capture a female in flight.


grammie g said...

Hi Rich...I have one thing to say "FANTASTIC"!!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Once again, I just love these, they make me smile, they show such beauty and your images always so crisp and the subjects work so beautifully with the background~ Once again, I love them~

womagwriter said...

I've just found your blog - was alerted to it by volewoman. Love it! I especially love the photo of the three geese in flight - reminds me of the 3 ceramic ducks my mum used to have on the wall of the sitting room.


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