Saturday, February 16, 2008

More woodland birds!

16th Feb 2008, a fantastic day teaching woodland bird photography to Ali Packham and Tracey O'Brien. All the birds were playing their roles to perfection with woodpeckers repeatedly coming in to the logs and allowing all of us to get great portraits in spectacular winter sunlight. A nice change from other course days though were the nuthatches that are now also coming down and 'almost' obliging by staying relatively still enough to photograph. I've included a great shot of a blue tit by Ali.
The crowning moment for me though was a beautiful view of the male sparrowhawk 'contour hugging' as it flew through the feeding area - the dark slate-blue and the cinnamon barred underside striking in the lowering sun. Contour hugging is one of the hunting methods sparrowhawks use to attack unnoticed. They may drop from a perch and either use gravity or flap to build up momentum before gliding a mere 8 inches or so from the ground and make an attack run. At this stage they try not to flap to stay undetected, just offering a narrow sliver of view to their prey. , Most attacks, h
owever, end in failure but they are dramatic to witness and this was certainly a good one!
As the light started to fail we went off in search of Roe deer and were lucky enough to get a group of 5 or 6 followed by another 3 as we left the wood.
All in all a beautiful day!


Ali said...

Thanks for a super day David - it was good to come back to Scrag Copse again. Arriving at Scrag is a little like leaving the rest of the world behind. A beautiful place to spend time and the perfect antidote to the day to day rush!

The birds were very obliging photographic models and I am pleased with images I have. Hopefully the practise is paying off as this time round I am finding it hard to choose my favourite shots of the day!

Seeing the Sparrowhawk (now christened 'Kevin' I do believe?!) was a definite highlight. Quite stunning to see him sliently hugging the ground as he made his 'run'.

Thanks again.

Tracey O'Brien said...

David, thanks so much for a great day at Scrag Copse.

All the birds were fantastic, from the scruffy little blue tit to the beautiful woodpeckers and of course, the Sparrowhawk. I can't believe how quickly the whole day went and I am sure I will have to come back for more soon!

Deer spotting at the end of day was an extra bonus and I am looking forward to future badger watching opportunities!

Thank you!