Sunday, January 30, 2005

Eldernell























I was already getting ready to go to the Nene Washes when one of those text message things arrived:
"Eldnel. 3wpit. 250-300blkwit. 1m marsh h. Ringtail hh. 10s thous lapws. Seo. Its on fire! M"

He wasn't joking. I didn't see the Water Pipits, or the harriers, or even a Short-eared Owl, but the presence of thousands of Lapwings, Golden Plovers, hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits and assorted wildfowl (mainly Wigeon, plus Teal, Pintail, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Shoveler and Gadwall) was more than enough.

Add a rather large Peregrine to the mix and it was an explosive combination. The waders (particularly the Goldies) were up in the air a lot of the time, trying to keep above the falcon. Most of the time the ducks stayed put, but a few times, everything got up as the Peregrine made a low pass over the flood and panic ensued.

As well as the visual treat of seeing thousands of birds shimmering in the sky, the sound was something special, too. For a few seconds while they were getting airborne, the shrill cries stopped and there was just the sound of beating wings.

Digiscoping Lapwings in flight was good fun. I didn't expect the results to be much good. My technique was to wait until the birds were up in the air, point the scope at the flock and take random pictures. The light was excellent so I got 1/1000th all the time and the pics turned out to be shockingly good (for me)!

I wasn't going for sharp pics (obviously!)... I just wanted to get some of the atmosphere, and I'm happy.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece