Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla


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).

Wryneck_IB05158666

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.