I’ve been so busy recently it’s easy to forget to make time to get out with camera. With fantastic locations on my doorstep there really isn’t a good excuse for this so the last couple of weekends I made time and nipped over to Castle Water to see what was about. I took a different route than normal and cut through the open fields and followed the waterways. The first movement of real interest was from pairs of Stonechat. Always lovely looking birds that perch well, I had to hope they came close enough to warrant a shot or two. Sure enough they obliged…
These images were both taken at some distance. I plan to take over a portable hide and wait for some closer shots to really show them at their best. This weekend there seemed to be a pair every few hundred yards accompanying us all the way round towards the castle.
I spent a couple of hours in the hide and, as most will attest, you are almost guaranteed to get a glimpse of a Water Rail as it dashes between the reeds. Getting a useable image can be really frustrating as by the time you spot it you either get a blurred shot of a tail or you are too late. Today was a little different and despite the low light and patchy rain I did manage a couple of shots of this skulking bird –
Despite good numbers of wildfowl, I find this location a little frustrating for decent shots as they are often just a little too far away and they have a habit of not flying particularly close to the hide and more often than not staying on the water just that bit too far away with just the odd stray heading near the closest shore. That said, the spectacle of whirling flocks and the calls of the Widgeon and Teal mean there is always something to watch. While i’m on the subject of watching, I like to think of myself as pretty well “tuned in”. I spend alot of time just watching and waiting, taking in every noise and movement to attempt to be ready for that “decisive moment” when a shot presents itself. Despite this, it was my wife that pointed out the 4 snipe that were sitting not 20 yards from us and I hadn’t spotted for the last 30 minutes! Once your eye is in you realise just how well camouflaged these birds are and often are unseen until flushed while walking along suitable terrain. Although among the straggly grass, I was glad to get the following images –
We were lucky enough to watch these stunning little waders for about an hour before they were flushed, by a dashing Water Rail no less!