Tag: starling

We found a Murmuration!

We found a Murmuration!

My challenge to myself in February, was to get better photographs of Birds in flight. I have to say, that what I have taken since the beginning of the year has been some of my best bird photos ever. This is partially due to time, but also but techniques and understanding of my latest camera.

One of my side challenges was to try and capture a murmuration with my Son. He’s just getting into photography, using my old kit and has enjoyed the garden birds, but like me, wanted to see a murmuration.

We partially achieved are our goal, and while it wasn’t a massive murmuration and it disappeared behind the trees, we did see it and the build up to it.

There is a bit of a background story here though. We had been out many times looking for one and never found one. People kept telling us about them and saying, did you see it, but we were always looking somewhere else. One evening, while looking for it, we were told of a Barn Owl. So the next night went looking to that, after about an hour, I saw Starlings in the distance, about 500m away.

So we abandoned our Barn Owl search and ran. I could just see them above the tree tops.

On reaching the field, we were given an amazing low level display with birds, landing and taking up, swooping back down and repeat, all the time being nicely back lit.

The display was pretty impressive.

After more swooping, diving, and flying around the field

They headed to another field and took off to really start the murmuration just out of our view.

The next night we were back on the search for the Barn Owl, but we had to wait another 2 nights and several hours of waiting before we were rewarded.

Bird Photography Progression

Bird Photography Progression

So, with the 2021 UK lockdown into it’s second month I thought I’d post an update update on my progression of my bird photography.

To be honest, I’ve been putting off writing the post. What with home schooling and tutoring if I can, I’ve much preferred, when weather allowed to be outside testing my bird photography skills than trying to write about it. However, I thought I’d give a progression report.

I’ve, been constantly updating my bird table and added new feeders. I started with table as shown in my previous post, and I must say, I have been pleased with what I got…

…the birds liked my perches and it returned good results. I really like this Blue Tit photo.

However, I wanted more (doesn’t every photographer?). I changed some perches and I introduced an interesting stump, with has given me some great photos. Although the background isn’t amazing on them – I’m still working on that – but I noticed quite regularly the images didn’t seem as sharp as I’d like.

So I made a change. Despite using an image stabilising lens, I felt this was where I was losing the quality. I have a big heavy zoom lens and felt I was not steady enough and so I started using a monopod (I didn’t have room for a tripod in my make shift hide) and I immediately noticed an improvement. I also started upping the ISO (I hate doing that, but need to with moving objects). One issue though, is I’m fighting the weather, the dull conditions, which doesn’t help anything!

Since I’ve made those 2 changes, my results have really increased and improved.

My Son found for us (he’s been giving this a go to) a really interesting stump, which has added some great interest to the images.

I have been lucky enough to get most of our visiting birds land on it at some point.

Now, trying to do this in January, I’ve have spent a few days looking out the window at the rain. So, I finally to the plunge and braved some rain photography! I normally avoid it, but have now embraced it and have been very pleased with the results!

It’s funny, Starling are regarded as noisy and annoying birds, but I have loved photographing them in January and they have now given me inspiration for my February challenge to myself and that is to photograph birds in flight.

I’ve started at the beginning of February with the birds landing on the perches, but now I want more flight photos.

So that is my February challenge.

Watch my progress in my Garden Bird Gallery page, and I’ll write another blog on my progress soon.

Lockdown Bird Photography

Lockdown Bird Photography

When the first UK lockdown was announced in March 2020, one of the first things I did with my kids was to build a custom bird table using an old broken one I had.

I found some old branches and created a stand that the birds could land on as well as feed from. It also gave it a natural look for taking photos.

Nine months on, when our 3rd lockdown was announced, I decided to modify the table and add some more interesting perches to it, with the intension of photograph the birds on it.

I admit, it is not an amazing creation, but you only really use bits of it in the photos.

Taken on the same day as the above photo, I had a Nuthatch land on the left hand perch.

Over the days, many more birds have come to land on this and it has created some nice photos.

I’ve found the small birds to be the most tricky to photograph on it, but plenty of bigger ones and landed there too.

The starlings have actually liked the perch on the right, that sticks up. Initially I had this as a cut rose stem,

but have since changed it to more of a mossy gnarled stick.

After the seemingly success of this, I went in search of some more perches and items and found an old tree stump.

If you fill parts of this with seed, that is hidden from the cameras view, the birds will happily spend some time on it routing out all the hidden goodies.

Sometimes they’ll even pose for you.

I’ve managed to get a great selection of bird photos so far using this simple setup. One thing a would add though, is Ive bought some camo netting from which I’m managing to hid under to take the photos. This has definitely helped.

More photos are now in my Garden Birds gallery.

Even more Success

Even more Success

Today some Starlings visited the bird table, the new food most be working!!

I got this great close up of one of the Starlings

Starlings may be regarded as nuisance birds, but their colouring is really quite amazing