Feeding Station Update
Since my last post I've managed to spend another couple of days staking out the feeding station and am delighted to say that I've got some really pleasing results. The jays have been a bit more frequent (albeit still extremely shy) and the other birds are getting a lot more used to me being about. I even had a woodpecker come down whilst I was outside adjusting the hide. It was no more than eight feet away, took a look at me, and proceeded to peck away on the peanut feeder.
Below are a few of the jay images I've managed. Better, but still not the shot I really want. On the plus side, I can still relish in the anticipation of the next visit :)
I've figured out the route the jays seem to take before arriving at the food provided and more often than not they announce their presence with a typical harsh scream or a more muted and nervous sounded bubbling. I had Monday off work and set up a new perch adjacent to the bird table and it didn't take long before a jay alighted on it, however it was off almost immediately. The perch may have been a little unstable, or I may have been spotted. Either way, this happened four more times during the day so I removed the perch for the time being and concentrated on the ones already in place. Sadly, no more visits after this so no more opportunities.
Other visitors have included the great spotted woodpeckers and there are now at least three different birds coming in to feed. My suspicion is a pair and potentially one of their offspring. The adult male and female will tolerate each other but the third bird is seen off very quickly. The male is also much more confident and is totally at ease with the sound of the camera shutter firing and me moving about. I'm enjoying getting to know the quirks of these birds and am tempted to name them. Any suggestions are welcome!
The nuthatches are also very regular now and are at times very aggressive. This is behaviour I've seen many times before from these feisty little acrobats and it's very entertaining watching them chase after other species as they come in to grab some food. When they're not harassing other birds, they do take the odd moment to hang out. Classic nuthatch pose!
During my time in the hide on Monday, there was a very heavy downpour. The hide was perfectly dry though and I made the most of the opportunity and went for something with a wider angle to capture the conditions. A nuthatch posed perfectly and I opted to use quite a lot of negative space to show the rainy conditions. I'm really pleased with the image below and it proves that being out in all weathers can offer some really dynamic photographic opportunities.
A slightly unexpected visitor to the bird table was a cock pheasant. As I mentioned in my last post, a group of these birds has been coming and going and whilst I was waiting for a jay to arrive in my viewfinder I was taken aback by a sudden flash of colour. I couldn't fit much of the bird in frame so opted for a head shot. The lighting was ideal and it really helped emphasise the stunning plumage that these birds possess.
I'll be spending more time in the hide over the coming weekend and will again be focussing my efforts on the jays. The weather forecast between now and then includes some potentially strong winds so it will be interesting to see how that impacts the leaf-fall both in terms of lighting from behind but also the bokeh behind the birds I'll be shooting. Time will tell. I just hope the jays are still up for some free food!
Keywords: Bird Hide, Bird Photography, Birds, Feeding Station, Jay, Jays, Nuthatch, Woodland Birds, Woodpecker
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