Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hungary for Birds - Day 5: The Beautiful Heron
This post is a continuation of the previous one that found us in a hide in the middle of a huge reedbed in Eastern Hungary. One frustrating part of the day was watching Marsh Harriers floating above the reedbed hide to the right hand side of the hide at close range. However, the angle through the one-way glassed front of the hide was too acute to get any photos with various attempts through the day just resulting in 'soft' images. I must admit I am very self critical when sifting through photos and if it is not pin sharp then it heads straight to the waste bin. After several attempts and positioning myself to the very right hand side of the hide I managed to reduce the angle between lens and glass to capture a couple of images of the male Marsh Harrier that had been 'tormenting' me all day.
A more typical view of the Marsh Harrier floating in flight across the tops of the tall reeds looking for prey.
The rest of this post I am unshamedly dedicating to what turned out to be one of my favourite birds of my trip to Hungary, the Squacco Heron. This is yet another bird I have long admired in books and had a yearning to see and photograph.  I certainly was not disappointed when one first appeared in front of the hide at very close range. In fact so close all that could be fitted into the frame was its head and shoulders.

They are such an attractive bird with the long black and white head plumes and abundance of subtle warm feather colours. They are also a surprisingly small bird when compared to the Grey Heron that we have in the UK.

The background colours of the reeds and lilies provided some good subtle hues to compliment those of the bird. I often think that an image is enhanced when the colours of the background are a similar palette to those of the bird.

The charm of these birds is added to as they are slightly ungainly as they walk along perches with their very large feet.

The first Squacco Heron did not stay very long but the next one to arrive was even more amazing and was partially showing some breeding colours with its bright blue beak. Apparently when in full breeding colours the legs are also bright red which must be a sight to see.

This bird spent some time unsuccessfully waiting and trying to catch fish through gaps in the lilies that covered the pool's surface.

The day in the 'Pygmy Coromarant' hide had finally produced the rewards after a long inital wait which was made easier by such an attractive setting. The day may have lacked a wide range of species but was made up for by some interesting birds and in particular the beautiful Squacco Herons.

We made our way back to the hotel for the now nightly routine of shower, eating, sorting through images and preparing the camera kit for the nexr day. The anticpation for the early morning start was high as we would be heading out to photograph bee-eaters in the morning. So be prepared for a blaze of colour in my next post.


Nancy J said...

A wonderful series of photos, I do like the reflection shots, such still water and the coloured feathers show so well against the background.Happy snapping tomorrow. Cheers, Jean.

Dina J said...

Amazing bird! I though our reddish egret was beautiful. Love that blue beak.

Christian said...

The Harrier looking left from the right side of the frame is a sensational shot Rich.


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