Friday, 14 August 2020

The Birder's Photo

Two days ago, at Spurn, this...



Somewhere I have a very similar photo of the one and only Roller I've seen, at East Budleigh in 1989. That small, turquoise blob draws your eye like a magnet doesn't it? Commenting on the pic, Mark James Pearson said...

'I genuinely prefer these kind of photos. Pin-perfect shots with super-fancy gear are increasingly boring, whereas this just makes me want to leave my desk and go back out birding...'

And I have to agree with that sentiment. As fellow blogger Stewart Sexton put it...

'A sharp, in context, image is a birders photo...'

And it's true, isn't it? This kind of photo simply wouldn't do for the out-and-out photographer, but for the birder, well...

You've got the habitat to give everything its proper context, and you've got the bird nice and small to give everything its proper scale. Unlike the proper togger's frame-filling shot, featuring pin-sharp rictal bristles, this is real life. This is what it's actually like in the field. And I think Mark is dead right - a 'birder's photo' just makes you want to get out birding.

So. Much as I like to feature a sharp frame-filler (when I'm fortunate enough to get one), from now on I will also endeavour to post a few more of those 'birder's photos'. Starting today. I'm sure the quality will vary a bit, but hopefully they'll add a little more patch vibe to the blog, with not just the birds but also the habitat and surroundings.

Here goes...

This morning I tried East Bexington. One of the first birds I saw was a Hobby, and judging by the upperparts colouration, an adult. It dashed rapidly E towards Abbotsbury. Some 9 Wheatears and 3 Willow Warblers later, a load of noisy corvids drew my attention to this smart Marsh Harrier, an E Bex first for me...

Marsh Harrier
First Wheatear of the day, a nice male by the looks of it.
Birder's photo! Wheatear.
Another lovely male Wheatear. You can see it, right?
And...Wheatear.


Just as I was leaving, I picked up these three egrets a bit late. I'm 99.9% sure they're Little Egrets. Just as well really...

Little Egrets in annoying going-away mode.


This afternoon Sandra and I visited West Bexington. Would you believe another Hobby?! Quite decent views by Labour-in-Vain Farm, but again it didn't linger, departing into E Bex territory to the accompaniment of alarm-calling Swallows. A juvenile bird, so not the same as this morning's, but still something like my 6th(?) this autumn. This is way more than I am used to. Also, I am not hearing about other local birders seeing regular Hobbies, so I'm feeling a bit like a stringer ought to but doesn't...

Anyway, the only other West Bex excitement involved Whinchats - three in total. The first one pictured here was so far away that identification with bins was a challenge. In flight it was easy enough, with its white tail patches, but when perched it was right on the limits of confidence. So this 'birder's photo' demonstrates how helpful the Nikon P900 can sometimes be, even with mild heat haze...

Whinchat habitat. Oh, and juv Whinchat.
And this one by the beach is an adult.
Same again. Beach Whinchat.


And by the way, I'm not using this 'birder's photo' lark as some lame excuse for not bothering to try and get close shots in the future. Nor am I claiming that atmosphere, aesthetics, mood and context would necessarily trump a nice sharp set of rictal bristles. But they often might...

2 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Ha ha! No, don't do that Jono. Someone still needs to set standards! 😄

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