A few times a month my strange (non birdy) job takes me to rural Norfolk, near ten mile bank which is over the Ouse from Welney WWT. Over the years I’ve found a few nice birds there, highlights being a flock of six Common Cranes one winter, an out of place Hawfinch over one spring and things like Brambling, the occasional Hen Harrier and fields full of Yellow wags on passage.
With abit of fieldcraft and abit of luck I got close to this (first year?) Kingfisher at the bottom of a standard fenland ditch on my lunch break recently. I spent probably 15 mins getting close and 10 mins shooting and watching through bins as the bird changed position, perch and stretched its wings.
This photoshoot came at an interesting time, especially shooting pictures of a Kingfisher – quintessential ‘Nature Photographer’ species. I had just read the recent British Birds article about birder-photographers. (and spent some of the earlier part of the year cursing ‘no bins’ camera heads in hides in Hong Kong) I often think about how using a camera as part of my birding affects it, I think its generally a good thing; It can be sort of used as a scope, It can allow me to appreciate commoner species more… it prolongs the experince and makes the birding more visual. Getting into position for photography and taking in a close up wader for example is indulgent in a great way (if the bird doenst mind) and akin to looking at an amazing living illustration in a bird guide… More on this another time.
Fast track to today in London, a visit to the patch before work and a fairly disappointing session although almost all the commoner warblers present.
Willow Warblers, Common and Lesser White throats , below.
The below male Kestrel is half of the local pair and may be the reason why the cow field has not yet yielded its annual Whinchats so far.
After work a quick circuit of the Lockwood turned up 2 Greenshank, an adult and a juv (pictured below) a Juvenile Little ringed Plover, c10 Common sandpipers and my first Wheatear of the autumn. Showing 7/8 primaries in the closed wing and buff panel mid wing sort of points to Greenland but perhaps too early?. dunno.
Strangely, this Kingfisher allowed me to get fairly close this evening. There are 3/4 birds hanging around, the others I suspect are first year birds. This and last weeks shots are the closest I’ve been to this species for a prolonged period, funny its happened within a week. Nice though.