January 2012 - Garden Birds
A few years ago, before I moved to digital photography, I took a lot of photos of birds in my own back garden, using bird feeders to attract the birds, providing photographic perches for them to use on route. I thought I would have another go this year - whilst it might not be quite the same as photographic Puffins on the Farnes or Gannets on Bass Rock, it does have the advantage of convenience. It also has the potential to increase my opportunities for photography as I can always nip out for an hour or so from time to time when other longer trips elsewhere are not possible.
Generally speaking, garden birds are quite small and you need to get quite close to photograph them - some kind of hide or camouflage is essential. Originally I couldn't justify a purpose built hide and used a toliet tent instead! - it was a lot cheaper and fulfilled the same basic principle of providing privacy - I even have an aerial photo of our house with a toliet tent in the garden! Nowadays I do have a portable hide, albeit an Amerstep hunting hide, rather than a specific photography hide like those supplied by Wildlife Watching Supplies.
My initial session was experimental - with the best will in the world you won't really know how your set up will work, and importantly how it will be lit as the sun moves round, until you give it a go. So I will hope to get some better shots, but I was reasonably pleased with some of the results.
One of the first birds to come down was a Robin.
My other main photographic subject in this first session was the Chaffinch. Both male and female birds came down to feed.
I had three species of tit come down to feed during this session - Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit. Most of the time they would fly straight into the feeders and away again. One Great Tit did stop off on one of my perches, but I hope for better images in the future.
I came away from the session planning to rearrange the feeders, the perches and the position of my hide. In actual fact this has now been taken out of my hands. The strong winds of the past few days have destroyed my set up completely, sending perches and feeders around the garden, including one log I could only just lift on my own! I had to rescue the hide before it blew away completely!
So back to the drawing board....... watch this space.
More images of Garden Birds can be found here