Tag Archives: heron

Herring Gull Chicks (and a heron)

After a damp start to the week, today turned out nice and sunny. There was a heron down by Falmer Pond at lunchtime. I’ve not seen them there too often this year (and very few cormorants), so it was something of a treat. A couple of other cameras were also taking advantage of its presence.

Grey heron

Grey heron

Only a short break today, but time enough to take a few shots of the young herring gulls by the car park before I headed back in to work. They are always good fun to watch (if they are awake, which they were).

Herring gull chicks and adult

Proud parent with its chicks

Herring gull chicks

Playtime with a discarded plastic ring (they stayed safe)

Herring gull chicks

A quick scratch

Herring gull chicks

First flight attempts (not successful)

Herring gull chicks

And a final stretch of these weird things called wings

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

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The Heron and the Eel

I’ve photographed cormorants attempting this trick, but have never witnessed a heron attempting to subdue and swallow an eel. This was a chance encounter, at Seven Sisters early this morning.

It was – as it seems to be every day at the moment – overcast. I’d noticed the heron out of the corner of my eye as it landed on the meadow on the far side of the inlet. At first I thought it was pecking at a stick, but then looked closer.

heron and eel

The heron had caught an eel and was attempting to subdue and swallow it. What follows took place over about 10 minutes. The eel put up a good fight. Several times it had been all but swallowed before wriggling free. The heron dropped it several times, and the struggle would start again. The outcome was inevitable as the heron had sensibly brought the eel on to dry land.

heron and eel

The heron gets a good grip on the still lively eel.

heron and eel

Things look good for a quick finish.

heron and eel

Just one last gulp should do it.

heron and eel

No! Back to square one.

heron and eel

The eel makes another break for freedom.

heron and eel

Eventually, after numerous near misses, the eel succumbs.

heron and eel

And the heron, looking a little stiff-necked and somewhat stuffed, keeps very, very still.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

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Oystercatchers and other birds

The oystercatchers are the pick of today’s birds, but I’ll get to them in a moment. I’ll start with some early morning photos of the local heron, something of a fixture at Falmer Pond.

Once again we had sunshine in the morning.

Heron

Heron posing in the sunshine

Heron flying low over Falmer Pond

Heron flying low over Falmer Pond

Heron flying low over Falmer Pond

At this time of day, getting the best of the light depends greatly on where the subject is on the pond. The heron flew into shade, but at the far end the ducks were resplendent.

Female Mallard

Female Mallard

Male Mallard

Male Mallard

The best of the light had gone by lunchtime, but I had a few minutes to spare down at Rottingdean. I headed for the beach, where a smal lgroup of oystercatchers were gathered.

Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers on the beach at Rottingdean

Oystercatcher

Some were feeding…

Oystercatcher

Some were dozing…

Oystercatcher

This pair of oystercatchers were going for a stroll…

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher on the Wing

One final treat, a passing cormorant.

Cormorant in flight

Cormorant in flight

All the shots today were taken with the 100-400 lens with a 1.4 extender attached. It’s a nice combination and performs well, though you are restricted to the centre focusing point with this combination. It does however turn the lens into a 560mm monster, which once you take into account the 1.6 crop factor on the 7D Mark II’s sensor equates to a more than respectable 896mm. You really can get in pretty close with that.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens + Canon EF 1.4xIII extender.

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