Much less common than it once was, reed bunting can still be found locally to where I live. As the COVID-19 lockdown continues, I’m reinspired to bird locally around my village and I always enjoy photographing the everyday birds I find. This immature male reed bunting was coming to the feeding station located at Anglers CP, a short walk from where I live.
As the lockdown continues due to the covid-19 outbreak. I headed once again to the local countryside to try and capture a few images and see what, if any, spring migrants were in. Newly arrived and swirling arounbd over the reservoir were around 30 sand martins and a long staying long-tailed duck gave distant views. For me though, the male yellowhammers were the shining jewels in the spring sunshine. Here a male soaks up a bit of sun in the hedgerows giving me a beautiful view of his ginger, rusty-coloured rump.
I photographed this spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) in Spain a few years ago. We were in a hide overlooking a broken pan-tiled roof where a small colony of lesser kestrels were breeding. Mixed in with the kestrel were good numbers of spotless starling, a Spanish speciality. I have many images of them from several visits to Spain and I always think they are a super bird to photograph. Despite looking black from a distance, they have a beautiful glossy plumage and are amazing songsters and will mimic many other birds and man-made sounds that they hear.
Due to the covid-19 lockdown, I have plenty of time on my hand without the day-to-day distractions of my commercial photography work. I am using the time to revist old images taken on trips way back when. I’ve just been going through my old images from a trip I made to the Greek island of Lesvos back in 2007. The first thing that strikes me is the much poorer quality of the RAW files compared with today’s cameras, but at least Lightroom and Photoshop have improved considerably meaning I can re-edit some of the images and nab myself some new keepers. This is an image of a black-headed bunting on a mourning thistle taken during the last couple of days of the trip. These arrive on the isalnd during the second week of April and it was incredible to witness. We noticed a single bird on the island during our day in the field and, by the next day, they were everywhere. These colourful birds would sing from any prominent perch in an attempt to establish their new territory and attract a female. Here’s one I’ve processed from a RAW file that I had not previously edited. It’s amazing how looking at a bunch of images long after they were taken, results in new images standing out as being a great shot!
We are past the 21st March so we are now officially in psring and at the moment, a current band of high pressure is giving us clear skies and sunny conditions so the spring migrants will be well on their way. I’ve already heard increasing numbers of chiffchaff in the local countryside, but one of the more colourful ealry migrants, the northern wheatear, will soon be heading our way too. Wheatears do not breed locally to me but are regulalry seen on passage as they head north up into the dales and moors of Yorkshire where they breed under rocks and in holes in the ground. Here’s one I photographed last year on passage on the NE coast around South Gare.