Tag Archives: swallow

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.

Some Small Delights

This is a bit of a mixed bag of photos,some taken over the weekend at home, and others at Falmer. I’ll start in the garden with a photo of two bees enjoying some wild marjoram that has invaded our ‘lawn’ (it’s more of tiny meadow right now!).

Bees on wild marjoram

Bees on wild marjoram

Just alongside from there we have an old prefabricated pond. The newts like it, but it is being slightly overgrown by blackberry. The fruits are ripening and will serve birds or foxes well.

Ripening blackberries

Ripening blackberries

Now for the photos from Falmer. The first was unexpected, and was pointed out to me by a workman from the local farm. A kestrel had found a temporary perch at the rear of St Laurence Church.

Kestrel at St Laurence Church, Falmer

Kestrel at St Laurence Church, Falmer

The second is a bird I’ve been trying to photograph for a week or so, with little success. It’s a common sandpiper. They are highly prone to zip off into the distance, but this was just sufficiently in range and nicely perched on a floating branch in the middle of the pond.

Common sandpiper perched on a branch in Falmer Pond

Common sandpiper perched on a branch in Falmer Pond

There’s a treelined area (not quite a wood) along the southern fringe of the pond which provides a good habitat for the speckled wood butterfly. They enjoy the shade. This one is sharing a leaf with a greenbottle.

Speckled wood butterfly and greenbottle.

Speckled wood butterfly and greenbottle.

The last shot was taken over the fields at the western end of the pond. It’s not perfect, but capturing swallows in flight over uneven ground isn’t easy. Most of my efforts were badly out of focus, but this one just about works.

Swallow in flight over fields at Falmer

Swallow in flight over fields at Falmer

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

Cute Badger Video plus…

Another mainly badger post this weekend, but if I have time I’ll slip in some daytime wildlife as well. I’m going to start with a short clip taken by trail camera a few nights ago. It’s a sequence which shows some behavioural traits as two badgers meet in the garden.

Cute, eh?

Now for a few photos… This is the bolder of the pair. We spotted him at the rear of the garden. He backed off when I went out to lay out some peanuts for him, but soon returned. Their sense of smell is acute. He stood at the rear of the garden sniffing for while, and hten headed down the path straight to the small supply of food. I was 10-15 feet further down the garden with the camera.

Badger on steps

Badger on steps

Badger on the path

Badger on the path

Badger on the path

Ok, some daytime stuff from last week. The current pick of the birds at Falmer are the house martins, swifts and swallows. Mostly they are sweeping the skies overhead for insects, but they also skim the pond (though getting decents shots of that is even trickier than following hteir erratic flight paths against the sky. Hence, sky shots.

House martin

House martin

House martin

House martin

Swallow

Swallow

Swift

Swift

Swift

Swift

More next week, but probably not daily for a while. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe via email if you want to keep up to date.

Camera note: all badger photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens. Birds and rats with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.