10th September 2019ff

September 15, 2019  •  Leave a Comment


1:September 10th: Magpie photoshoot

Back to Saltholme and to Phil Stead hide hoping for more merlin encounters. The bird showed well in the morning but my visit was in the afternoon. A magpie photoshoot entertained me in good light. None of the magpie photos have had their colour adjusted in any way: what colourful birds they are in good light!

If you're going to star in a photoshoot presumably you have a good wash first...

...and a soak... ...a preen...

...and ready for action!

Also seen: snipe and blackwits

A young moorhen practising diving...

A highland cow!

In the quiet times I practised too! Photographing dragonflies in flight! Darters in tandem - after mating the male guards the female to prevent other males from mating.

Double tandem!

Ok. My best bit of the afternoon was a juvenile water rail.

2: September 13th: Wizardry!

I decided to go back to Saltholme in the morning and hope for another merlin encounter. This bird has provided me with one of the photographic and general birding highlights of the year and my session on 13/9 was the climax. I wanted to get some flight shots and I realised the only way to do it was to get the camera as stable as possible and stare through the view-finder constantly - no breaks allowed. As the bird flies you need almost a reflex action to press the shutter and hope! Here goes: a lot of merlins. I hope you like them...

When the merlin disappeared out of view there were always the merlin's food source to mess with: trying to photograph the common darter dragonflies! I took a few more: here's some I liked.

I did a good walk round the reserve but saw little of note. A few godwits were near the Wildlife Watchpoint...

...and later I saw a kestrel sunning itself down the Zinc Works Road.

3:The anti-climax!

A long-billed dowitcher was reported at Fairburn on the south-east lagoon. I was unsure where this was so I went down Lin Dike and sat in the tin hut all alone feeling increasingly I was in the wrong place!

A spoonbill lingered in the dark mangroves [I know they're not mangroves but there's a section down the left side of Spoonbill Flash that reminds me of them. And the spoonbill shone through the darkness.

Eventually I learnt that I needed to go up the Coal Pits Trail where I would find the correct lagoon and a line of birders many of whom I knew. There was, however, no sign of any dowitcher! Bearded tits were flying around. I sort of managed a shot of one.

After an hour or so I went home. After lunch the dowitcher was reported on Spoonbill Flash after all so I went back with Sheila. A long way off but we haven't had what I call a 'cuckoo shot' for a good while. A 'cuckoo shot' is my term for a ridiculously distant attempt at a photograph which is then mega-cropped to produce a 'proof I saw it' photo. This was indeed a very long way away....

Quite anticlimactic, I think!

226 UK 2019





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