wildlife watching supplies

Birds and hares

Readers of this blog will know that for the last 5 months I have been regularly feeding birds at a feeding station a few miles away from where I live.  On the edge of the field are a number of old hazel trees that hang low and heavy with catkins.  There’s only a window of a week at the most, after which they start to turn brown so everything needs to be crossed in the hope of getting good weather!  I got lucky and spent several enjoyable mornings in my hide photographing the birds as they perched a few metres away prior to coming down to the feeders.  Aside from the usual suspects in the form of blue, great, coal and marsh tits, the star of the show turned up on a number of occasions, being the goldfinch.

A very early start was needed since the site was in shadow after 12 so I would be there half an hour or so after sunrise when the light was just gorgeous and the birds more active than later on.  Ordinarily, I would use a semi-permanent wooden hide, they are warmer and don’t flap around, but for this I used a dome hide from WWS which can be moved around the site as the light changes.  They are so light that they most certainly need pegging down!  They are great for the job though. 

Goldfinch. Nikon D300, 300mm f2.8, iso 400, 1/800 sec f4.

Goldfinch. Nikon D300, 300mm f2.8, iso 400, 1/800 sec f4.

The North Kent Marshes are steadily coming alive with the wonderful displays of lapwing, just as the many ducks and waders head north to their breeding grounds.  

Marsh sunrise

Marsh sunrise

On just one of several mornings spent looking for boxing hares, where there was quite a bit of chasing and boxing, I came across this individual who happened to pose close and long enough for me to grab a couple of shots.  The light could have been better but you take what you can get when they stand up like this.

Brown or european hare

The light was extremely flat on this particular morning but there was so much chasing going on that it was great just to be there, watching.  I followed this individual through my lens as it moved across the flooded marsh, avoiding as much as it could, having to jump over the water.  I liked the connection between it and wetland and waited until it was in silhouette.  Producing it as a black and white panoramic image simplified the composition further.

Brown hare on wetland

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Saturday, March 20th, 2010 Notes from the field, Techniques No Comments