Thursday, September 09, 2004
Serpentine Brick Pit
I think these are some of the nicest photos I've taken in a while. It was a lucky encounter. I decided to put in a quick visit to Serpentine BP and was marching along in rather a hurry, thinking about going back and 'well, this looks good for Wheatear, but why aren't there any?'
(I could pretend that I had noted the meteorological conditions and calculated that Thursday morning would be the ideal time to find migrants, but I'd be lying)
As I drew alongside a big heap of bricks, I suddenly caught sight of a bird perched on top. Grabbed my bins and got an eyeful before it flew off to the next heap. Wheatear! Excellent! I think we both did a double-take.
With a careful approach I managed to get close enough to get these half-decent digiscoped shots. I had to 'stop down' about -1.0 because of the bright sunlight in the east (obviously) hitting the bird in the breast and 'bleaching out' on the camera's monitor. Surprisingly, the pics didn't need too much work in Photoshop (I only ever do cropping, resizing, a bit of Levels adjustment and some Unsharp Mask).
After that I had to Proceed Directly To Work (do not pass Go, do not have any breakfast), but I came back this evening and the bird (or what I presume was the same bird), a juvenile/first-winter, was still there and fed on the ground among the brick debris. The light wasn't as good as this morning and the bird was more active but I got the last shot above. Even that's not too bad.
Nay-sayers might sneer at my Wheatear-induced excitement, but to me, that's just the kind of bird I need to encourage me to Get Out There And Do It. It doesn't take much, just something nice to remind you that it is worth looking for stuff...