Monday, 14 May 2012

Photographing Sea Swallows in Flight

Sea Swallows, or in today's parlance Common Terns, are one of the most graceful flyers and it is easy to spend many an hour watching them waft backwards and forwards. However, photographing them in flight is not that easy as they are adept at sudden changes in direction and of course, always at the precise time that you are about to press the trigger.

The problem with trying to photgraph them over lakes or reservoirs is that they tend to be distant for most of the time so it is much better to select a linear body of water such as a river or canal so that they are funnelled past you. The only problem with this is that, because you are so close, they do tend to hurtle past. For my first effort I chose the Lee Navigation at Amwell.

Patience is the name of the game. I positioned myself where a couple of birds had been fishing over the canal earlier and they, of course, promptly returned to the main lake. When a bird did appear it shot by so fast that I hardly got it in the view-finder, and disappeared off towards Ware. However, with a little perseverance I got the hang of predicting their behaviour and eventually got a couple of reasonable shots.

A quick visit to the ramp next to the viewpoint revealed a couple of waders feeding amongst the now flooded vegetation. They were feeding very close to each other, never more than 2 feet apart, and therefore one assumed that they would be the same species. However, a close inspection revealed that they were in fact a Dunlin and a Ringed Plover.

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