BIRDS 119 – MUTE SWAN 6 (MONO)

 

 

The three young swans slowly and silently make their way down into the river

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In an earlier post (which you can find here ) I described a meeting with a family of Mute Swans on the banks of Cripps River, on the Somerset Levels.   I’d come upon a family of these birds on the river bank and, keeping quiet and still, started taking pictures.  I looked at them, they looked at me and then, unhurriedly and very gently, they made their way down to the water’s edge, and slowly moved off upstream.  Here are two more images from that quiet encounter.

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Two of the young swans, moving off slowly up river

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; in-camera processing and cropping of raw files, using the Graphite profile; further processing in Capture NX2; Cripps River, at Eastern Moor Bridge, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 118 – STARLING 2 (MONO)

 

 


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I like the contrast here between the gaunt, inorganic, linear, metal structures of the pylon and the small, rounded and very much alive birds – that’s “the big picture” here.

But do enlarge the image by clicking onto it twice in the usual way, to better see the massed ranks of these little birds clustered on the right side of the pylon – with all of their little beaks poking out.

There is another Starling image from this pylon here .

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 280mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Harsh preset; Court Farm, southeast of East Huntspill, on the Somerset Levels; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 117 – EGRETS ON THE SOMERSET LEVELS (MONO)

 

 


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Great White (the two larger birds towards the left) and Little Egrets, feeding in the mud and water of old peat workings on Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels.  (For info: egrets are in the heron family)

Climate change?  I started birding, not too far from where these pictures were taken, in 1967.  And, as a friend from those far off birding days says, if we had submitted records of such a gathering to the Somerset Ornithological Society in those days, we would have been treated with total derision, with doubts about our honesty / mental health probably being thrown in too.  In 1971, anxious to see a Little Egret, my first in the UK, I had to travel all the way to the far west of Pembrokeshire, in Wales, for the treat.  And the Great White Egret has changed its status from being a rarity in the UK late in the last century, to being quite common now.

So, is this climate change?  I don’t know, is the simple answer; although, equally simply, I do believe that climate change is taking place.  But, from my mapping of the ranges of Kenya’s bird species, I know that factors other than climate change can influence bird distribution.  What is certain though, as my old birding friend said on seeing these pictures, is that this is not the Somerset that we used to know, 50+ years ago.

And of course, although we are seeing dramatically increased number of these egrets, numbers of many, many other UK bird species have fallen dramatically over these 50+ years: climate change may have had an effect here, but intensive farming practices are probably a bigger culprit at the moment.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 .

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 12,800 ISO; jpegs produced by in-camera processing of raw files, using the Graphite profile; no further processing; Westhay Moor, on the Somerset Levels northwest of Glastonbury; 25 Oct 2019.

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BIRDS 116 – MUTE SWAN 5 (MONO)

 

 


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Immature Mute Swans, moving slowly away while keeping me cautiously in view, on Cripps River.  I’d come upon a family of these birds on the river bank and, keeping quiet and still, started taking pictures.  I looked at them, they looked at me and then, unhurriedly and gently, they made their way down to the water’s edge, and slowly moved off upstream.

This is a jpeg generated and cropped in-camera from a raw file, using the Graphite profile, with no further processing in Lightroom.  Because my blog has a white background, I’d wondered about adding a thin black border in Silver Efex Pro 2, but then decided to leave these birds floating within a wider whiteness.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of the raw file, including use of the Graphite profile and cropping; no further processing; Cripps River, at Eastern Moor Bridge, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 115 – STARLING (MONO)

 

 

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Large flocks of Starlings roam the flatlands of the Somerset Levels in autumn.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique:  Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 70mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Dramatic profile; Court Farm, southeast of East Huntspill, on the Somerset Levels; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 114 – MUTE SWAN 4

 

 


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Adult swan standing in the shallows at the lake’s edge, preening.  I’ve added a light vignette in Color Efex Pro 4.

Other recent bird pictures from Chew Valley Lake are here: 1 2 3 4 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Color Efex Pro 4; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.

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BIRDS 113 – MUTE SWAN 3

 

 


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Other recent bird pictures from Chew Valley Lake are here: 1 2 3 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 112 – MUTE SWAN 2 (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged – click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Two swans preening, but in black and white more – to me, anyway – a collection of patterns, tones, forms and textures.  I particularly like the birds’ big, heavy, contorted and almost obtrusive shapes, which rather tight, claustrophobic framing may help to emphasise.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast And Structure present and adding a light Coffee tone; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 111 – LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window. and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – giving me quite a fixed stare!  The medium to pale grey upperwings are typical of this bird, and the dark markings on the white head appear in winter.

This is one of the common, larger gulls in the UK, being found around coasts and lakes, and also as a scavenger in towns.  I grew up alongside gulls in a seaside town and have always liked them and viewed them as a normal part of the landscape, but many think otherwise, both because of the mess that these birds can make around human habitation, and for their sometimes aggressive behaviour.  Walking around south Bristol, taking photographs for this blog’s Outer Suburbs series, I sometimes have these gulls come down to have a look at me, but as I’m never carrying/eating any food there’s no problem – although I do always invite them to come down and try their luck – if they’d like a spot of bother, that is …

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 110 – MUTE SWAN

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

An adult Mute Swan rests beside the waters of Chew Valley Lake, Somerset – while keeping a watchful eye on me!  It was a stormy day, dark clouds, rain and bright sunshine following each other in quick succession, and I was drawn by the way the light washed over this bird, creating shadows and highlighting textures.  Adult swans have white plumage, but this one’s head and neck are tinged pale brown due to the bird up-ending in the lake’s muddy waters when feeding, and the underparts are also slightly darkened.

This is the swan commonly found in many parts of the UK, sometimes becoming semi-tame – as here – around inland waters and also harbours.  Two other species of swan are wilder and less common winter visitors.

Birds are big with me >>>  I was a highly committed birder 1967-2002 and, while a photographer of many things now, I have never lost my love for our feathered friends.  In this instance though, that love is tinged with respect: these swans can weigh up to 11.5 kgs (25 lbs) and have wingspans up to 2.2m (over 7 feet), and they can on occasion be distinctly aggressive.

One of the many fairy tales (aka imagined realities) that help provide the foundation of Our Great Nation is that all swans belong to the monarch.  Well, maybe there is actually some piece of legal paperwork somewhere stating just that, but having fairies at the bottom of my garden seems an eminently more realistic and desirable alternative.  However, for those believing differently, I do have an exciting range of bridges for sale/lease.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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