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Saturday, 19 January 2013

There once was an ugly duckling...

and so again back in October 2012 I found myself 'sarf of the riva' (not at this time of night mate*) at Marshside near Southport in an attempt to practice and attempt to capture some bird flight images, check camera settings and all that.

Believe it or not, the sun was out at one stage before it turned murky as always and despite trampling the scrubland, no Goldcrests or anything other than a Robin showed itself.

More or less as I arrived something must have spooked the Pink-footed Geese as best part of 8,000 or so took to the air and landed out on the marsh/estuary foreshore. The sad thing about still photography is the fact it doesn't capture the duration of the flight and seems little point putting image after image of the birds in the air here and it also fails to capture the noise, both of the wingbeats and calling of the birds. Impressive.

After my previous post about Little Grebe on Newton Marsh, here at Marshside one was showing very well.

Despite all my efforts I managed one or two flight photos of some of the other locals, primarily Shoveler, Mallard and Teal. There were a great many Black-tailed Godwits, perhaps approaching 500 and all I have are some distant images. The Little Egret is almost guaranteed and it wasn't that long ago you were lucky to see one in the UK. So much we take for granted.

I've dropped a couple of images in of the locals... and again all this photography stuff is all well and good but I never knew, male Teal had a brown eye, male Shoveler a mucky yellow eye and a female Shoveler a chestnut brown eye – there aren't many books that go into that much detail, so while enjoying the photography, in the words of Vinnie Jones 'it's been educational' (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels).

The flocks of Canada Geese (seen but not shown) and Greylags,  I have seen at Newton Marsh and Fairhaven and environs and Marshside and the estuary is clearly a home for these mobile flocks of resident geese.

The sun set (again in the west) and the distant gas rig in Liverpool Bay was seen through the haze.

And finally, if I was an artist and I'm not, if someone said 'paint a field' you'd go for green – right? Yet there is but a single strip of green in the final image of the marsh and if someone had said use 'russet red' you'd think they were barmy. Funny what you see if you look.

* from all those days spent racing around London

surprising how the marsh soon hides 5,000 geese
Mallard, Teal and Shoveler.... more like it

now there's a question – why does a bird of the same species but different sexes have a different coloured iris? As in the case of the Shoveler shown here – I have no idea so any responses or comments appreciated.


Pete Woodruff said...

Some good photographs here Geoff, including in flight shots. Don't keep 'knocking' your work, let somebody else do that.

Keep on keeping on mate.

Martin Jump said...

Great images again Geoff,lovely reflections,and impressive flight shots,all this practice will pay off in a big way WHEN we get better light.See you soon mj.

Brian Rafferty said...

Geoff. Great selection of images.My favourite isn't a bird but the gas rig !! A very atmospheric shot with wonderful colours. No doubt catch up again soon if we get some better weather.