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UK Bird Pics Spring/Summer 2020

  Sparrowhawk, South Wales

15 July 2020

This juvenile Sparrowhawk had recently started to come into Ian Howells' perches and even feed on mice etc.

So I arranged a session with the hope of getting some nice photos. This involved a meeting time of 7am, which required a rather early start in the morning!

As well as the more usual perched shots, I thought I'd make an attempt at some action shots as well using my 100-400 zoom. This is the first of three that turned out reasonably sharp despite the dull conditions which made for difficult compromises between ISO, shutter time and aperture.

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For a gallery of all my photos from this session, click here.
Sparrowhawk, South Wales

15 July 2020

As above - another action shot, but this time a fraction of a a second earlier when the bird was still coming down. 

For a gallery of all my photos from this session, click here.
Sparrowhawk, South Wales

15 July 2020

Another flight shot; note the eye focused on the perch.

For a gallery of all my photos from this session, click here.
Sparrowhawk, South Wales

15 July 2020

On one of the more distant perches, using the 500mm lens.

For a gallery of all my photos from this session, click here.
Sparrowhawk, South Wales

15 July 2020

Close up, again with the 500mm lens.

For a gallery of all my photos from this session, click here.
Sparrowhawk, South Wales

15 July 2020

Another shot.

For a gallery of all my photos from this session, click here.
Sparrowhawk, South Wales

15 July 2020

And another, this time head on.

For a gallery of all my photos from this session, click here.
  Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

Had a great session in the morning at Pete Whieldon's Woodland Hide, despite the rain and wind! The afternoon from 13:30 was less productive with no shows, perhaps due to the strengthening wind. However by then I feel I had secured a good number of photos.

This is the male about to make short work of a mouse!

Click to enlarge.

For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here.
Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

The female (on the left) had just given the juvenile a morsel of food prior to this photo.

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For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here.
Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

The female on a post with a nice dark background in the rain.

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For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here.
Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

The female on a more natural perch.

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For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here.
Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

The male just landing.

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For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here.
Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

The male with mouse.

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For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here. 
Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

The male with mouse striking an impressive pose.

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For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here. 
Kestrel, Otterbourne, Hampshire

27 June 2020

The male in the rain.

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For a Gallery of all my Kestrel photos from this session, click here.
  Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

11 June 2020

My final visit of 2020, only about 3 days before he departed. Given his age, a return next year is probably too much to hope for.

By now, the glorious lockdown weather had well and truly broken and this was a largely cloudy afternoon. He was around, on & off, from about 16:00 onwards, but spent much of this time sitting in the nearby tree and on the perchs. Nevertheless, I managed a few flight shots even in the dull conditions.

Click to enlarge.

For a gallery of all my Cuckoo photos, click here
Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

11 June 2020

Similar to one of my photos from the 27 May (see below), but not as symmetric, although the light was a bit better.

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Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

11 June 2020

A low perch gave this unusual view from above. Shame he was facing away from me.

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Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

11 June 2020

Again on the low perch.

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Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

11 June 2020

For once, not on an artificial perch but out in the open on the nearby tree.

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  Stonechat, Thursley Common, Surrey

11 June 2020

Today the Stonechat was coming in much regularly than previously.

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  Redstart, Thursley Common, Surrey

11 June 2020

Unlike previously, the Redstart was on the perch less often. A ground shot makes for something a bit different!

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  Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

29 May 2020

After my two earlier sessions (see below), I returned two days after the last visit with high hopes given the much improved sunny conditions. Sadly it was not to be! I again arrived at about 15:00 but this time there was no immediate sign of Colin. At around 18:15 he appeared in a nearby tree only to fly off into the distance, apparently to see off another calling male. He didn't arrive on the perch until around 18:45 which gave only about half an hour before the sun went off the perch. During that time, he didn't perform well and spent most of the time feeding on the ground - there must have been a glut of mealworms left by earlier photographers.

So no flight shots but there was some compensation in this ground shot, taken after the sun had gone and everyone was packing up to go.

Click to enlarge  

For a gallery of all my Cuckoo photos, click here
  Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

29 May 2020

After the evening sun had left the perch but was still strongly shining on the bushes behind.

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Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

29 May 2020

On the perch in the early evening sun.

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  Redstart, Thursley Common, Surrey

29 May 2020

This Redstart (and a Stonechat occasionally) was around on all visits and presented me with a dilemma. The best lens for the smaller birds was my 500f4 but this was too long Colin for which my 100-400 was ideal. Trying for Redstart and Stonechat photos with the 500f4 lens on, I always had the risk of missing Colin's arrival for one of his less frequent visits. Fortunately he would generally announce his arrival with a loud Cuckoo before flying in - cue a rapid change of setup on my part! 

Click to enlarge
   Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

27 May 2020

After the mammoth session the week before (see below), I decided to return almost a week later but for a shorter period in the afternoon/evening. Unfortunately the afternoon turned out to be largely cloudy, but Colin performed pretty well. He turned up for almost half an hour only about 20mins after my 15:00 arrival, and then for a longer session from about 18:30.

This photo was taken in a brief sunny spell, note the golden light of the late afternoon sun.

Click to enlarge 

For a gallery of all my Cuckoo photos, click here
Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

27 May 2020

A photo taken in the more usual overcast conditions that day.

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Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

27 May 2020

Incoming onto the perch. These actions shots needed a high ISO setting to freeze the movement in the dull early evening light, whilst trying to maintain a reasonable depth of field. 

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Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

27 May 2020

The classic wings outstretched photo coming in from directly behind the perch.

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   Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

21 May 2020

With the lockdown eased so that driving reasonable distances for day trips was back on the cards, I was keen to find out if Colin had returned for what would be his sixth season. I couldn't find out anything but Mark Chivers, who is more in-tune with social media, found a single report saying he was back!

So shortly afterwards, I made the trip. With an early start, I was on-site around 8am only to find out that he hadn't shown at all so far. It was a hot sunny day, and it wasn't until 12:20 that he first made an appearance. The light was then very harsh and he didn't stay long.

By 18:00 there had been no further sign, and having spent 10hrs in the sun I was thinking of departing. It is just as well I didn't as he then promptly appeared. He only stayed about 10mins but the light was superb now and I got a few worthwhile shots - see here and below.

Click to enlarge.

For a gallery of all my Cuckoo photos, click here
Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

21 May 2020

On the perch!

Click to enlarge
Cuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

21 May 2020

Just landing on the perch!

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CCuckoo, Thursley Common, Surrey

21 May 2020

Incoming on the perch!

Click to enlarge

All pictures copyright Stephen Burch

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