The winter weather continues to be very poor. This is certainly proving to be one of the worst winters for weather and light that I can remember. The weekends when I tend to do most of my photography have either been plagues with dark grey skies or strong winds or both. As I look out the window now this is exactly what I am seeing. My shutter finger is getting very itchy.
A couple of weeks back I did manage to catch a few moments of rare sunlight at the end of the afternoon and headed up to the local marine lake before the sun disappeared to have a quick session with the long-staying young Great Northern Diver. I love photographing all divers and still have one on the list to do which is the Black-throated variety, which is a stunningly beautiful bird. Something I hope to try rectify in the not so distant future but will probably require a summer trip up to Scandinavia.
The young Great Northern Diver has been resident on the marine lake for many weeks, happily munching its way through the crab population. As with many long staying birds in very public places this one has become very accustomed to people, however has developed a tendency when surfacing or feeding to always be facing away from the perimeter footpath. So you always have to wait for it to turn before taking any photographs after which it usually shortly disappears underwater again. This is not the easiest lake to photograph birds as it covers a large area. However, it does have the benefit that around the majority of the lake it is easy to get close to water level on the surrounding path. Fortunately during my visit the bird decided to go foraging close to the footpath on the right side of the lake for the light direction.
Since visiting the bird its colouration has changed and it seems to be starting to develop a dark collar as it starts to slip towards the conversion into summer plumage. No doubt it will have long since departed before the conversion is complete. Unfortunately during my brief visit it was proving very unsuccessful in capturing crabs as I was hoping to get some feeding photos. However, the soft low winter light was wonderful and some very close encounters with the bird were had. Always such a joy to be in close proximity to one of these birds.
As a bit of extra news, I have recently booked this year's overseas trip and will be returning to the Varanger Peninsula in Arctic Norway at the beginning of June. Excited by the prospects of getting some ruff in breeding plumage back in front of the camera.