Christmas is upon us once more. I am sure the years grow shorter as I get older as it seems like only a blink of an eye since the last. I thought it was time for a seasonal selection box. However, this one is not filled with sticky spiced chocolates but some recent images of the local bird life. Typically the winter weather has not been particularly kind recently and in fact at times it has been bordering on very grim with frequent strong winds, plenty of rain and dark blankets of grey clouds above. As such, light, the essential element for photography, has been in relatively short supply. So it has been a question of being at the ready with camera and snatching odd moments when the light and free time have put in a combined appearance.
I have also been working on a small unexpected winter bird photography project which I will reveal in a future post. The delay in posting is mainly to protect these birds from unwanted attention and potential disturbance.
So lets not waste any more time and dip into the avian selection box. I will start off with a scarce bird for this area, the Long-tailed Duck. I asked a good friend of mine if he wouldn't mind looking in on a lake local to his home whilst passing, to see if there were any Goldeneye present. There were none but he sent a picture text to my mobile and said he had seen an unusual duck but was not sure what it was. I immediately recognised it as a Long-tail duck and more interestingly it did not seem to have been reported anywhere. Unfortunately not one of the stunning drakes but it was too good an opportunity to pass by, a scarce bird that the crowds of bird watchers and photographers had yet to discover. A quick visit was in order. I found the bird easily as it seemed to be staying away from the other birds up one end of the small lake and managed to get close by the old 'move when it is underwater' routine. After a few photographs it was slowly making its way along this small lake when I noticed a patch of reflected reeds that were turning a patch of water golden and this was the result.
The shortest photography session ever was recorded when I decided on a bit of flight practice with some Black-headed Gulls on the local marine lake. Despite a large patch of clear winter blue sky above, the low sun stubbornly refused to lift from behind the only bank of cloud except for about 2 minutes. This was the best I could muster on this icy, blustery day in 120 seconds.
The first was taken on the way home after a wholly unsuccessful session with the small winter project I mentioned earlier. As I swung into the 'home straight' which takes me along the coast I noticed it was high tide and decided to check one of the regular roost for wading birds. They are not always there and I thought may be absent that morning as it was a fairly large tide but was pleasantly surprised to find around 50 Redshank, and a similar number of Turnstone perched high on the rocks. However, what really drew my attention were three Purple Sandpipers and so concentrated on those.
So I would like to take this moment to wish you all a Very Merry, Healthy and Peaceful Christmas with a suitably tacky e-card.