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Monday, 5 January 2015

Goosander, Kingfisher and the 'joys' of awful light!

The only way to describe the weather today!
Not cold.
Not wet.
Just dark and grey and drab.....
   I was working at the village of Mark in Somerset, and on my way I noticed a couple of Goosanders on the River Huntspill between the villages of Woolavington and East Huntspill. I always have a little look as I drive past here, as I nearly always see Goosanders, the only place I've regularly seen them!
     Despite the weather, I told myself I'd stop and try and grab a photo on my way back from my job!
So it came to pass. I stopped by the river during my lunch break, grabbed my camera and walked to the bridge. Typically there were no Goosanders by the bridge this time, but there was one in the distance! 2 Cormorants sat on overhead power cables and a Kingfisher flew low across the river! I've never got a decent Kingfisher photo, and I wasn't about to today, not with the terrible low light, but I clicked away anyway!
    At this stage I think I should point something out.
My nature blog is mostly a photo blog. I'd love all my pictures to be top quality! I considered not even updating my blog today simply because of the awfulness of the pictures I took!
  However, my pictures here are mainly an illustration of what I have seen on any given day/outing, more 'record shots' than works of supreme photographic art!
  My better pictures are posted on my Flickr page or Facebook photography page, which are here;



My camera is fabulous in good light, however, in low light it isn't great at all! f2.8 DSLR cameras and lenses take great pictures in lower light, yet they come at a price, thousands and thousands of pounds!! The super zoom lenses also tend to to be the size of a small house and need a sturdy tripod and arms like 'The Rock' to be able to carry around!
    So I took the pictures anyway, and I will post as always at the end of this report, then you'll be free to laugh and point and feel superior...

 Back to the 'story'..... I decided to walk along the river bank and creep up on the female Goosander in the distance! Even a record shot needs to be as close as possible! Unfortunately, this Goosander was very flighty, and as soon as I put my head (and lens) over the parapit, she was up off the water and flying on her merry way back down the river where I had just come from!!
   I grabbed a couple of aforementioned awful record shots as she did at least....
 There were a few Little Egrets flying up and down, a Heron in a nearby field and a Kestrel in a tree.
     On my way back I saw a Kingfisher on a metal 'step' that went down into the river, I grabbed a distant shot then tried to creep closer. I almost fell into the river a couple of times as the rocks on the rivers edge were slippery, I also got caught up in brambles, which to be honest is quite a talent of mine, I do it with alarming regularity, even when there are no brambles about.....
   I lay on my front on the damp bank and through a gap in the brambles grabbed some pictures. The Kingfisher was still tiny in the viewfinder and still too far away, even for my 300mm lens, and it was only after it had flown away and I looked back at the pictures did I see that I'd actually focussed on the 'step' and not the bloody Kingfisher!! Damn!
    I got closer, leant into the brambles and waited 10 minutes for it to return. It felt like an hour. Aching, I decided to head back to the van, my dinner break was almost up and the Kingfisher obviously didn't want to play ball!
 Just to annoy me even more, as I slipped and slided my way along the rocks and bank, it decided to return to the bloody 'step' again, I heard it calling, by the time I swung back around it had clocked me and scarpered, pretty sharpish!
   One day I will get a decent Kingfisher shot...... one day!!
At least I managed some passable Long Tailed Tit shots near the van in the road side hedges, which had been trimmed/hacked to pieces by a tractor with hedge-trimmer!

All in all, a lovely half an hour!
The pictures below are much like the weather though......grim!!


^ Above ^ - Huntspill River

^ Above ^ - Female Goosander

^ Above ^ - Kingfisher

^ Above ^ - The 'Out of focus' Kingfisher, taunting me....

^ Above ^ - Cormorants

^ Above ^ - Little Egret

^ Above ^ - Kestrel

^ Above ^ - The Long Tailed Tits..... little cuties!