Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 21/03/2011

A Wild Waxwing Chase


Hello again, back for more? So soon? Such a glutton for punishment; I’d like to say I’ll keep it short, but we both know I’ll just start rambling away anyway!

Let’s get today’s image out the way first; another one from Kew Gardens on Saturday taken in the rather magnificent Temperate House which houses plants from the Southern Hemisphere such as South Africa, New Zealand mostly. I can’t recall which continent this was from as I got a bit snap happy in there. There were so many blooms, and the UK is still a bit drab at the moment, the riotous colours made my shutter finger itch too much!

Using my 1D4 with a sigma 150mm macro lens all on a monopod with a marvellous Gitzo off-center ball head (no, dear reader, I’m not picking on you again!) I tried to ensure that the plane of focus ran parallel with the crimson stamen. Being close to the flower with the large focal length lens resulted in a very pleasantly blurred background, and offsetting the flower beautifully. Well, I think so anyway.

The blog title? Well I had a friend ask me today to ID a bird. From their description of the bird and it’s mannerisms it sounded like a waxwing, and this was in the same village I live in. I loaded the car with all my gear and set out but by this time it was 5pm and the light levels were dropping. Unperturbed I drove round and round the village (I hope the Police [no, not Gordon Sumner] weren’t watching me) but the flock of some 200 birds were conspicuous by their absence. The birds had been feeding off a holly hedge that still had berries, and whilst I could find the hedge, there were no berries to be seen. From the sounds this and a couple of other sources, the waxwings are gorging themselves one last time before they set off for their colder homelands. Let’s hope they make a return visit next year, and this time to the holly bushes around my garden.

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