Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 22/01/2011

Four Seasons In One Day

Crowded House, from New Zealand, sang about the changeable weather that can be experienced in a single 24 hour period in their home country and the same seems true of this country these days.

A trip out to a local supermarket had an ulterior motive today, having packed my camera gear in the boot before setting off. I’ve been following local sightings of Waxwings and the one where we were heading seem to provide the most reliable number of twitches.

Within 30 seconds of parking the car, we were able to locate a group of about 20 individuals, all a little high up but never the less, still well within range to photograph. The weather however, seemed to have other ideas with a bitterly icy cold wind whipping through the trees and straight through us.

Lighting conditions were pretty poor, and a high ISO was needed to approach a shutter speed anywhere near usable, and even then the birds were not illuminated by a strong key light source, in fact the pale insipid sky was working again me, ensuring that birds images on the viewing screen were dark. Luckily, and what I had been waiting for, a couple of birds ventured down from their high vantage points to feed on the berry laden bushes lower down and then surrounded by foliage, I was able to snap a couple of frames. Not great, and certainly not the photo I had envisaged, but my first passable photo of a Waxwing which I will be posting to Flickr soon.

Emerging from the supermarket later that morning, barrow loaded with the weekly shop, the bright sunlight was a stark contrast to the conditions we’d experienced whilst watching the birds.  Time constraints did not allow for a return visit, which is a pity, but with a plentiful supply of food still available, and winter conditions still on us I suspect I will be back frequently to see them until I have the captured the  photo of these charismatic birds I have in mind.

This pheasant, affectionately branded “Phil the…“, is a new visitor to the garden. He is in good company with the pigeons and squirrels, hoovering up the sunflower hearts dispersed below the feeders but one much more tolerated than the other two denizens of the back garden. Close up, his dazzling plumage is a sight to behold with many colours and patterns cascading over all his body. From the iridescent blues and greens on his neck to the rich russet and bronzes on his breast, he truly is a magnificent bird – and it hasn’t once crossed my mind that if I fatten him up enough so that he might be a welcome guest one Sunday lunch. Honest!



  1. Very beautiful job and interesting comments.

  2. Where exactly is the facebook like link ?

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