I feel really spoilt for local places to spend the day with my camera. When we first moved into the area over twenty years ago, we were too busy with work and the zoo to explore the parks. Now I’m making up for lost time and I have become a regular visitor. Thanks to a very dear friend, I have also found a nearby wildfowl reserve – it’s a little further away, but well worth the thirty minute drive. It’s probably not the best time of year for birds, although I have seen herons, egrets and the occasional kingfisher. On a sunny day though, it is a haven for butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies. I’ve been there at least four times in the past couple of weeks and I intend to show my husband around when he is on leave from work very soon.
The image featured above is a friendly female common darter. I actually photographed her on two consecutive visits and on both occasions she was sunning herself on this barbed wire fence.
The image below is of one of the little egrets taken from one of the well placed hides. These are a new experience for me and one of the most surprising things is how friendly people have been. I couldn’t actually see the egret due to my size, but another photographer pointed it out and showed me where to stand so I could get a clear view through the weeds.
People have been keen to give tips about finding the kingfishers too and when I came across one gentleman who had just spotted one flying over a lake, I made a beeline for the nearest hide. He appeared a few minutes later and we watched together as the bird made several dives from trees on the other side of the water. It must have been nearly 100 yards away, so trying to take a photograph was out of the question. Not for my companion though, as he set up his trusty Coolpix bridge camera with 83x zoom and proceeded to take several very acceptable shots.
Somehow I felt cheated. Talking to the experts in my forum, I didn’t expect photographing kingfishers would be easy. I appreciated I would have to make many trips and wait in the hides for hours at a time. I expected to miss some shots because the birds are very timid and I also knew that my new lens would only operate well in full sun. Even then, I didn’t really expect to get anything worth showing off and yet this guy had taken three lovely, colourful and detailed shots within five minutes of his first sighting. I was later told by my friends that the image quality wouldn’t be up to that of my DSLR, but I still felt miffed.
Still… I did manage to photograph SOMETHING in flight that afternoon as I spotted this hoverfly from one of the footpaths. As my colleagues in the forum said, it was probably harder to shoot than a kingfisher…