Tag Archives: swallow

Summer Swallows

If one swallow doesn’t make a summer, then I think I can safely say summer arrived today (even though it may be short lived).

With the sun shining I headed over to Sheepcote Valley this afternoon. As always I have my eyes open for kestrels (I saw one, way up high), but it was the swooping swallows that caught my eye. This season’s broods have now fledged and the adults were in frenzy of insect catching to feed countless hungry mouths. The fledglings were in smalls groups, perching on low bushes along the side of Brighton race track. There were sheep grazing in the valley, but they were happy to ignore me as I settled down for a long afternoon of swallow-watching.

I’m still working through the shots I took, but here are a few that I’ve processed quickly and am blogging now as otherwise I may never catch up!

fledgling swallows

Four fledgling swallows waiting patiently to be fed.

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

adult swallow feeding fledgling

Adult delivering an insect meal

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

Adult swallow feeding fledgling

Fledgling swallow

Fledgling swallow

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

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Dancing Swallows and other local wildlife

I’ll start with the barn swallows. I took these photos yesterday of them swooping high above farmland at Falmer.

swallows

Swallows flying over Falmer Pond, East Sussex

swallows

Swallows flying over Falmer Pond, East Sussex

Being Falmer I also kept my eyes open for the local rodents. After a relatively barren period they do seem to be back, though not in quite the numbers of a few years ago.

rat

Brown rat at Falmer Pond, East Sussex

rat

Brown rat peeping out from the undergrowth

As always there were plenty of gulls and ducks, but less common is the common sandpiper. These birds are very shy and extremely difficult to approach.

common sandpiper

Common sandpiper at Falmer Pond, East Sussex

Plus one from today, a splendid white duck (a pond resident), imitating a water lily…

duck preening

Duck imitating Lily

And just because I can, here’s a portrait of Long Nose, the young male fox in an ultra relaxed frame of mind.

fox

Portrait of Long Nose

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Posted in Birds, Foxes, rats, water birds Also tagged , , , |

Catching Swallows

One of my regular photographic challenges (self-imposed) is photographing swallows (or swifts) while they swoop over water or across fields. Mostly I walk away with no success at all, but in the last week I’ve managed a few that while far from perfect are at least usable. The difficulties are many: keeping the bird in the frame while it speeds across the lens; keeping the lens in focus and relatively steady; having a fast enough shutter speed; and capturing the bird while it’s facing in an acceptable direction (youu don’t really want back views).

As I said, these ain’t perfect, but hey are among my better efforts. I’ll start with one from last week diving over the pond and – double bonus points – with its beak wide open!

Swallow diving over Falmer Pond

Swallow diving over Falmer Pond

The rest are from today, when the light was decidedly iffy. The ISO was ramped up to 1600 as getting anything usable depends on speed. Ths is actually a fledgling, but it can still motor!

Swallow in flight over fields at Falmer

Fledgling swallow in flight over fields at Falmer

Swallow in flight over fields at Falmer

Swallow in flight over fields at Falmer

Swallow in flight over fields at Falmer

Another one with mouth open! More bonus points 🙂

To make up for the roughness of those, one ‘proper’ photo, also from today. I took quite a few of this group of ducks passing the time of day, but this is the pick.

Three ducks at Falmer Pond

Three ducks at Falmer Pond

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

Posted in Birds, water birds Also tagged |