I paid a short visit to the RSPB’s Burton Mere reserve on Tuesday afternoon. As I approached the main bird hide, a birder passing the other way informed me that a hobby was ‘displaying well’. I gathered this was a good thing, so I thanked him and carried on.
I hadn’t seen so many people in the hide before. Every single one of them bore extremely expensive optical equipment in the form of binoculars, telescopes and telephoto lenses. I tucked my own horse-racing binoculars and bog-standard zoom lens discreetly under my arm, and sneaked my way in amongst the experts.
The chap who had tipped me off had been right about the hobby. It was putting on a magnificent show, gliding high, then plunging down, twisting and turning, snatching hapless dragonflies from the air, and eating them on the wing. Unfortunately, the light was appalling, and the hobby was a very long way away, so I couldn’t take any decent photos.
Crow chasing a hobby.
The hobby continued hunting in this way for about half an hour. All the birders in the hide were extremely excited about it—as was I.
Once the hobby had left, a kestrel approached the hide, and I got some better photos. But, as I say, the light was appalling. I had to turn the ISO setting way up on my camera, then deliberately over-expose to get any sort of shot. I then had to crop and process them on my computer, tweaking up the contrast and removing a lot of the noise. Modern digital technology really is remarkable. I would never have been able to get photos like these with traditional film:
More (closer) photos of the kestrel »
The weather was glorious yesterday afternoon, so I managed to find time for a quick walk down Burlees Lane, up through the wood, and back home down the lanes.
I really need to get back into the walking. I seem to have got out of the habit.
Talking of habits…
More photos »
Just went to the compost heap, where I was joined by a wren. It didn’t seem at all bothered by my presence, flitting along the wall in search of insects. I was indescribably excited.
I paid a quick visit to Burton Marshes on Tuesday. There wasn’t an awful lot to see, but I saw a few skeins of Canada geese flying in V-formation:
Canada geese over Burton Marshes.
Canada geese over Burton Marshes.
Oh, yes, and some people who seemed to know what they were doing had set fire to the marsh for some reason:
Fire at Burton Marshes.
My partner, Jen, and I took a week’s holiday in Anglesey at the start of September. It was the fourth time in five Septembers.
I don’t know if it was because we were a week earlier this year, or because summer is running later, but there seemed to be less wildlife about this time. No wheatears, only a few gannets, and a single tern. But it was still a wonderful holiday, there were plenty of flowers still in bloom, I saw ravens, a seal and goosanders, and I got to take an extremely jammy photograph of a black-headed gull watching a bottle-nosed dolphin failing to catch a fish:
Natural Selection is very much alive and kicking in Anglesey. (As it is everywhere else.)
More photos from our holiday »
I’m a bit behind with this journal, so a quick catch-up:
I went for a walk on the Moor in search of sundews the other week, and wrote about it here.
Then I had a go at photographing butterflies in my garden:
Green-veined White butterfly.
Then I took a short walk at Burton Marshes: Continue reading