Tag Archives: swallow

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.

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.