For this session I decided that I was going to try a closer approach using the 300mm F2.8 lens. This lens has very fast autofocus and thought it might help with the erratic nature of the Jays flight path. However, this would of course be offset by the fact that I would be now much closer which means the action is much faster and more difficult for photographer and autofocus to keep in touch with the birds. The easier approach would be to set-up a log or stump and pre-focus on it but I always like a challenge and can assure you that trying to photograph free flying jays is definitely not easy. Not only are the birds quite erratic in flight but also perform what I call the 'jay flip' on landing which is a bit of mid-acrobatics just before touch down. This can see them flip out of the field of view just at the critical last moment.
The session was reasonably successful although quite a few images ended up in the trash from this session. I am still debating whether using a longer lens at greater distance is a better approach. Of course there are a lot of variables during each individual session which affect the birds behaviour such as wind direction, how many jays are visiting and the interaction with other birds. I doubt I will ever find the magic formula for success beyond perseverance. This is why I keep returning to Project J and am sure this certainly will not be my last session as it is always a pleasure to spend time with these charismatic birds.