186/365 Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus


I was sitting in a hide waiting for a species of bird that, in the end, never turned up! Anyway, in the distance I could hear a nightjar churring away even though it was 2 hours before sunset! As you can imagine I was very intrigued to find out where this individual was but decided to sit in the hide waiting for my target subject.  What happened next was pretty incredible.. I heard the nightjar churring again so tried to locate the position of the calling so I could go out and try and find it later that evening.  Next thing, the Nightjar came flying over the trees in front of me and landed in a pine tree right opposite the hide.  I couldn’t believe my luck!! 😉 I didn’t leave the hide until I knew my target species wasn’t going to arrive.  I watched the nightjar for about 45 minutes from the hide through live view on the camera. It was mesmerising to see such a hard to find bird just resting completely relaxed on the branch right in front of me.  I continued to watch it as it yawned, and waddled up and down the branch to find the best position for its camouflage to work.  With the last rays of light just tipping the trees behind the hide, I knew that my target species wasn’t going to arrive this late so took the opportunity to photograph the nightjar instead.  And here’s one of the images…  a beautiful bird and superb camouflage… a truly memorable evening out in the field.

Whats your best memory?

Nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus, Hungary, June, 2013
Canon 5D mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS and 1.4x III converter, 1/100sec at f/5.6 ISO 2000.

186/365 Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus

Project: Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia

Project: Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia


Just a quick blog to show what I’ve up to today.
A friend of mine tipped me off to a site in Gloucestershire where there has been a mass emergence of Marsh Fritillaries.   An hours drive away from my home in Malvern, I set out at 6.15am to get there before the temperature started rising.  Well… I arrived on site and it was 3 degrees above freezing with a light layer of frost on the ground.  Couldn’t believe I had to wear my gloves!
Due to the temperatures plummeting and the wind still quite strong, it was an hour and a half before I found the first Fritillary as they were well tucked into the long grass.
With the temperatures warming up, luckily for me they showed extremely well and I got some great photographs for my portfolio.  I counted at least 70 on site within a smallish area.  The warden had said there has been up to 120 counted in the last few days and a possible 500 estimated over the entire site! I think its going to be a very good year for this little butterfly.
The image below was taken with my usual macro setup; Canon 1D mk4 and Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.   I’d noticed this individual basking on this grass stem and after shooting with the sun behind me to get the usual front on image, I decided to shoot with the sun in front of me to get this backlit shot. The background is a distance woodland partly in sun giving this very camouflage type pattern.
Settings for those interested:
1/250sec at f/7.1, -2/3 exposure compensation, ISO400
Subject distance- 43cm
More to follow as I process them so please keep checking back for more pics.