Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sand Martins

For a number of years now I have been visiting the nesting sites of the summer migrant Sandmartins along the banks of the river Tyne.  In previous years I haven’t had much luck in photographing them due to a combination of things such as the weather or where they nested.  This year they nested somewhere I could photography them without causing too much disturbance and the weather was ‘reasonably’ ok (sunny spells).  It meant a change of equipment for the visit, reintroducing myself to my Canon 400mm lens which, since getting the Sigma 500mm, I hadn’t used.  I new it would be about a two mile round trip walk so I decided to travel ‘light’ and if I was going to be lucky with where they nested this year, I would be close enough anyway.

When I reached there I was in luck.  They had nested somewhere where I could see and photography them easily.  The location is next to a regularly used path, so they are used to people, but I let them get used to me first anyways before I was in position photographing them.  They were particularly busy and there was a lot of them.  At first I thought I would try and catch on in flight – not a chance, so I settled for my plan of catching them to and from the nest entrance. 

 
Sandmartins
 

Not long after taking photographs, they hesitated going into the nests, flying to, but then hovering and flying away.  I could soon see why, a quick flash of reddish brown through the vegetation and I managed a quick snap.  A predator, though I couldn’t make out if it was a Stoat or a Weasel, coming out of one of the nest burrows.  It was so quick I didn’t see where it went or whether it got anything, but soon the parents were busy darting backwards and forwards again.

 
Sandmartins
 

One fledgling (below) decided to leave the nest, maybe because of the intruder, but then decided the time wasn’t right and came back.

 
Sandmartins
 
Sandmartin
 
Sandmartins
 
Sandmartins
 
Sandmartins
 
Sandmartins
 
Sandmartins
 
Sandmartins
 
Sandmartins
 

After over an hours shooting and lots of miss focused shots, suddenly the Sandmartins were gone!  I looked up and they were all high in the sky – I figured it must be another predator though they didn’t react this way before to a ground one, I could see a dark silhouette of a bird flying over but couldn’t make out what, but the Sandmartins stayed away for some time and only gradually came back.  With the suns appearance less and less frequent and cramp setting in due to the very uncomfortable way I was lying, I decided to leave them in peace and made my way back, managing to photograph the odd scene along the way.

I would have liked to have gone back again, by the time I can get out again next, the young will have almost certainly have left the nest, though there’s a good chance they might have another brood.  I may even attempt to photograph them in the air!

 
TBP_5470

A green field of unripe wheat

 
TBP_5473

A red poppy in a see of green

0 comments:

Post a Comment