Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

We have lift off…

I had been watching this individual very carefully and following its movements.  I knew i wanted an image of it in flight so increased my ISO to 3200 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/6400 which was enough to freeze the moment of take off. All that I needed then was to have the luck to capture a nice wing angle which this image does nicely.

Canon 5D3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.
1/6400s at f/7.1, ISO3200


Target practise…

When at any coast, I always strive to photograph waders of some variety, whether it be an Oystercatcher flying along the beach, a Ringed Plover hesitatantly searching for food, with its stop-start behaviour, or the Sanderling, as they constantly run along the shoreline, with their little legs whirring and feet hardly touching the ground.  Waders rank second in my list of favourite bird families to photograph, just behind birds of prey, and just in front of ducks and geese.  When photographing waders on the ground, they provide wonderful entertainment as they forage along the shoreline.   In flight, they are even more spectacular.  Zipping past at lightning speed, these Dunlin were hard to keep track of with a 500mm lens.  More often than not I would just get a head or a tail in the frame.  They definately can put the speed on when they need to .  These are worthy birds to get sharp photographs of as they twist in and out of each other and providing havoc for the auto focus trying to lock on to them.   
Leaving their high tide roost I was fortunate enough to get lots of small flocks (and some considerably larger flocks) flying past a position where the sun was directly behind me.  Trying different shutter speeds, apertures and panning speeds gave me the results below.  Panning along side them with slower shutter speeds gave varied results and often produces more throw aways than keepers. 
If you do have the wonderful opportunity to photograph any sort of waders or any bird for that matter, make sure you take the time to just put the camera down for 5 minutes and watch them.  Its all too common for photographers to take pictures 100% of the time and miss the spectacle that is happening in front of them through their own eyes.