There’s a phrase in Hungary which is spelt ‘nem jó’, pronounced ‘nem yo’ and means ‘no good’. In this recent trip to Hungary I was it a lot when asked how the wryneck photography was going. I have never been so frustrated in all my photography years.
Wryneck in the UK are a regular passage migrant but you have to be very lucky to find one. With one or two breeding every few years in the UK, they are all but extinct as a UK breeder and are highly protected when they do so photography is out of the question.
To hear the news that a wryneck was nesting in the garden of where I was staying in Hungary you can imagine how excited I was. My imagination was running wild with all sorts of images I was going to achieve of this very elusive species. To cut a 7 day story short, the image I had in my head didn’t materialise. What I wanted to achieve was the image below but in much better light. This particular photograph was taken at 10.22, 5 hours after sunrise. The background light hitting a distant tree is extremely harsh even though the bird itself was shaded by a large vertical stump of the tree where the nest box was. The balance between bird and background was just too much. Had it had been overcast it may have worked better. I planned another 4 sessions in the morning and late afternoon but this male didn’t want to play fairly. I ended up getting on the plane with no images of this species in great light which should have been fairly easy given the circumstances. It has certainly been a learning curve and one that has left me inspired, although extremely frustrated at the time. Patience was certainly a virtue. Although I didn’t get the image I had planned it was fantastic to see such a beautiful bird every day and I’m glad that I achieved this image to show you all.
Canon 5D Mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens, 1/400s, f10, ISO1600, on remote setup (hence the ISO1600).
The drinking hole that the woodpecker was using seemed to be too tempting and has now had excavations on it and has been turned into a nesting hole! It was digging it out for at least five days and this is one of the moments where it was spitting out the saw dust it had been pecking out!
Black cheeked Woodpecker, Melanarpes pucherani, Costa Rica, December, 2013.
Canon 5DIII with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.
As mentioned in the previous post, Tree Sparrows breed under the tiles in the roof of the visitor centre at Bempton Cliffs RSPB. This image shows a male with a beak full of spiders and other insects ready to feed those wide open gapes of the hungry chicks.
Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, Bempton Cliffs RSPB, East Yorkshire, June, 2012.
Canon 1d MkIV with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.
On another part of the London Wetland Centre, this pair of Coots were rearing 4 chicks. The adult male was always bringing little bits of food back for the sitting female and the chicks. Occasionally it would bring back extra strips of reed as nesting material. It would very gently hand it to the female and this is the tender moment of this offering.
Coot, Fulica atra, London, April, 2012.
Canon 1D mkIV with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.
Image 044 is of a Purple Heron bringing in a large branch to its nest. You will often find that species that are rare to photograph in the UK are very common abroad and it is these situations that I make the most of. On the golf course from yesterdays post, there was a lake with an island in the middle. On the island there was a henronry being occupied by at least 5 species of heron and egret, with the Purple Heron and Little Egret being the most abundant. It was just a matter of figuring out the best location for the sunrise and waiting for the adults to start becoming active.
Purple Heron, Ardea purperea, Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia, April, 2010>
Canon 1d MkIV with Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens.