Posts tagged “marsh harrier

The Elusive One

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This is generally the closest that I can manage to get to a Marsh Harrier, as this raptor gracefully glides and levitates, surveying the margins of the lake for prey…he’s always there…always spectacular…yet always keeping his distance… 😉

Macro Season

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As the pastures and road verges fill up with this years blooms, the many invertebrates begin to take to the air and soak up the spring sunshine.

After much trial and error from the previous year I have decided that my simple camera was better suited to macro-photography rather than bird photography. Which doesn’t mean in any way that I will give up chasing marsh harriers and ospreys etc…they will hopefully turn up to distract me during one of these intensive macro sessions! 🙂

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Time and Chance

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ~ Woody Allen ~

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Whenever I attempt to create plans and strategies to capture that special photograph…there is always other stuff along the way to provide a distraction…fortunately so, or I’d end up at the end of the day with nothing to show for my efforts…

There I was minding my own business (stalking some small bird I think) and I heard a voice through the hedge asking me if I’d captured any good pictures lately and proceeded to inform me about an osprey he’d been observing…so off I went to “Other Side” of the lake where this osprey was hunting.

On my arrival at the “Other Side” I was greeted by well bearded man waving a stick, asking me if I knew the difference between a marsh harrier and an osprey…so I knew at least I was in the right place…I had been hearing rumours but just couldn’t quite pinpoint where the ospreys were…worse than that, I am tormented by constant rumours of sea eagles too…one day…

So there were a couple of ospreys flying around, diving for fish…you get the picture, classic stuff…

As we witnessed this spectacle I heard a familiar call from behind us…which deep inside I knew but it was a considerable time since I heard this call so I had to dig deep into the dusty archives of my memory…it took me about ten minutes and a mental journey back in time along the banks of an English river before I knew it was a kingfisher…but the man said the kingfishers had died out due to the recent hard winters…shortly afterwards we were told by a couple of walkers that they thought they had just seen a kingfisher. 😉

After a while they all left and the highly observant ospreys kept their distance and as I slipped into a dream involving expensive photographic equipment I noticed this damselfly taking a break…

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“The Race is Not to the Swift…

… nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to
men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance
happeneth to them all.”          Ecclesiastes 9:11

The swifts were flying low and fast, so were the sand martins and the swallows…sometimes so close I could feel their wings next to my ears as I rose to the impossible challenge once again… My stategy being if I just keep trying, I may just be able to capture something…anything really, until now all I managed to do was frighten the spoonbill, heron and cormorant off before I got within reasonable range, the marsh harrier was there too flying away into the distance…laughing at me….

The sand martins are really quite small and unpredicable…the swifts are a bit bigger, slightly more predictable than sand martins but just too fast for human reactions, even with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second…out of 400 attempts today this is the only frame worth showing. 😉

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Blowin’ in the Wind

Marsh Harriers elude me for now…but there are a variety of other species of birds to distract me from my obsession while I wait.

I know the general route where the marsh harriers patrol the margins of the lake and the reed beds…yet they still prove to be unpredictable in their movements, they could always capture something before they near the place where I wait…I’ve even tried running too to get within range…but marsh harriers tend to notice stuff like that…

There’s a cool wind been blowing here all week…beautiful sunshine but the wind just keeps blowing, nice temperatures for getting burnt to a crisp in the backyard but in the evening winds out on the marsh it can get a bit chilly, I’m always grateful for my hoody.

This particular day the wind was quite strong, by the time I returned home I felt like I had been sailing all day…but windy days are also perfect for marsh harriers to levitate…I had already seen one and he was levitating…just too far away…

Close to where I was leaning against a small signpost a pair of reed buntings are nesting….this male posed for me on a old dry reed which really whipped backwards and forwards in the strong wind….inbetween lots of other reeds doing the same thing…so its was a real challenge to capture this at all….the reed buntings’ position is constantly changing as the reed blows from side to side while the bunting clings on….singing…☺

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Point & Shoot…

My first general impression as I got this brief glimpse was that it was probably a reed bunting…I had just arrived, this was my second picture of the day…I only managed to take one frame before it flew away…if it had stayed just a minute longer I would have taken 30-50 frames (sometimes more)…but it stayed there just long enough for me to click once…

So my evening progressed further into my current obsession to search and photograph a levitating marsh harrier…they just hang there so perfectly…but getting close enough is far from easy, I’m beginning to think that England will win the Fifa world Cup before I succeed with my goal…

Later that evening, I returned home to upload the evenings’ attempts…my mouth fell open when I realised that it was a reedling aka bearded tit and not a reed bunting at all. Basically, in that one click I had captured my first ever sighting of a reedling and I didn’t realise till several hours later…

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Buzzard Country

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As you can see, you really don’t want to mess with a buzzard….you wouldn’t want to be a shrew or a mouse either.

These raptors have a good life here in the Frisian meadows…and there are a multitude of convenient perching posts to enable them to survey their territory. It’s worth bearing in mind to move slowly when they are around too because they do have a habit of attacking people during nesting time…especially cyclists and joggers.

These photographs were taken last August just in case you are wondering about the lush green meadows and the obvious difference in the light…it’s been more than 6 months since I’ve been there, yet I do hear some vague rumours (spread by the hopeful songs of great tits and blackbirds) that the winter will eventually give up…

Until that fine day I have only an archive of memories to share, which in turn prove to me that spring and summer really do exist, so you’ll have to forgive my random indulgence. 😉

Underneath is the best view I had of a marsh harrier the same day I met the buzzard….the harriers’ speciality is flying slow and silent, almost levitating at times.

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