Keeping it local

Out and about with my new camera yesterday. Decided to upgrade to the D300s, and I’m really impressed with it. I have to admit I was sorry to see my trusty D200 go, it’s been a real reliable workhorse for me. The D300s is great though, better noise handling and weather proofing, larger LCD screen and bright viewfinder. It is slightly heavier than the D200, that’s the only downside for me!

Headed over to the fen for my first proper outing with it. It was a cold, frosty start but the light was great. The local Kestrel seemed reluctant to fly in the cold, but still kept his distance from me. I sat patiently at the bottom of a tree and eventually he came closer, hovering and hunting not too far away, wonderful to see. Maybe he’s getting used to me? Maybe soon I’ll be able to photograph him.

Walking further up a Sparrowhawk zoomed past with wings half closed, scattering the small birds, but I don’t think he caught anything. After the danger passed the small birds continued working their way along the line of trees, the flock consisted of Blue, Great and Long tailed tits, with a pair of Treecreepers associating with them. I see them so often on the fen, but they are so hard to photograph.

A Squirrel sitting up one of the oaks seemed intrigued by me attempting to sneak up on him, and allowed a couple of shots before leaping away.

Walking back I was surprised to see a Stonechat, a first for me on the fen. I don’t normally associate Stonechats with fenland, but she seemed quite at home and was finding plenty to eat. I hope she sticks around so I can try for some photos. Whilst watching her, I was suddenly aware of birds in the tree above me. A pair of Blue tits were feeding, along with a trio of Goldfinches. There is a small ‘charm’ of Goldfinches on the fen, normally found feeding on the thistles. These birds though, looked like they were using their needle like beaks to open up the buds on this oak tree.

Finally that evening I managed to get a first photo from my local Corvid roost. Over the last couple of weeks I set out to locate my local roost after seeing an impressive ‘pre-roost gathering’ of Rooks and Jackdaws over on the fen. I had a good idea of where to look, but disappointingly all was quiet. I eventually found it by following a stream of Corvids flying high across the fields at dusk. Rounding a bend in the road I was stunned to see thousands of crows swirling above a wood. An impressive sight, though perhaps not quite as impressive as the largest Corvid roost in the UK at RSPB Buckenham Marshes, where tens of thousands of crows gather to roost. Although in some ways it seems more impressive when it’s local to you, just a few minutes drive away, and of course when you’re the only person watching! Anyway last night the roost wasn’t quite as large, I estimate somewhere around 2000 birds, I guess that some shooting nearby had put a few off.

A bit tricky photographically, low light,  trying to capture as much as the flock as possible as well as showing the atmosphere. I’ll have to brush up on my landscape photography!

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