BIRDS 137 – EURASIAN COOT (3): THREAT DISPLAYS


 

Spring at Chew Valley Lake, just south of Bristol, and the breeding season well underway for many birds.  On open water near the lake’s edge, aggressive male Coots were fiercely defending their territories against each other.

The upper photo shows the start of such a display, with the bird flat on the water, about to rush forward in a charge towards another male.

The lower photo shows the charge, with the bird pushed down into the water by the force and speed of his advance, and his bill open as he accompanies his rush forwards with loud calls.

Click onto the images to open larger version in separate windows – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format at 450mm; 500 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 5 May 2021.

 



BIRDS 136 – FEMALE TUFTED DUCK


Common and well known, mostly on freshwaters, and with the small tuft of feathers on the back of the head.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format at 450mm; 500 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 5 May 2021.



ARCHIVE: STILL LIFE 4 – THREE HERONS (MONO)


Left to right, a Little Egret and two Great White Egrets – three herons – processed with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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

Technique: the X-T2 firing at 200 ISO, and really quite a tribute to what this APS-C format camera can achieve with distant subjects.  X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared Low Contrast preset; Capture NX2; Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake; 24 Nov 2017.

ARCHIVE STILL LIFE

This is a new category on this blog – Archive Still Life studies.  The Still Life definition will certainly be followed loosely – e.g. some studies may only have been made “still” by the split second opening of the camera’s shutter – and my objective will be to use as many different types / genres of subject matter as possible.  Some images will be Minimalist and, in general, I try to make simpler images, rather than cramming them with visual content.

Some new Still Life studies will (hopefully!) continue to appear.

BIRDS 135 – EURASIAN COOT (2)


Walking on the lake shore, showing the characteristic long, lobed toes.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format at 450mm; 500 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 5 May 2021.

BIRDS 134 – MALLARD, PREENING


A duck, a male Mallard, rearranging his feathers – and keeping an eye on me at the same time.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format at 450mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 5 May 2021.



BIRDS 133 – EURASIAN COOT


Coot swimming, on a day of blue skies and fluffy white clouds.  This is one of the Rallidae, the Rails and Crakes, and a common bird on lakes and other freshwaters.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format at 450mm;  800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; 5 May 2021; Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol.

BIRDS 132 – DUNLIN


 

Dunlin, a wader / shorebird, Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 5 May 2021.  Dunlin are common on our coasts in the winter.  This one, in summer plumage, was on its way to its northern breeding grounds.

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

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format at 450mm;  500 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile.

 

ARCHIVE 594 – STILL LIFE, IN FLIGHT

 

 


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Black-headed Gull, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 27 Sept 2013.

A still life?  Really?  Well, one way of looking at this is that, since the camera shutter was only open for 1/1600th of a second, it has effectively frozen this instant in the life and doings of this living being – and so it is “Life”, yes, but it is also “Still” – or, more correctly I suppose, “Stilled”!    And living things e.g. plants can of course be included in still life assemblages – if their movements are too slow to register in the resulting image.

But the real reason for my calling this a still life is that when I looked at the whole of this image and saw this powerfully down-sweeping wing, I was struck by its beauty, and so cropped the image to make it the main feature – with the bird’s head just peeping into the picture to add a little context.  So that, ok, it is a bird in flight, a moving object, but to me it has now become more of a design, or a set piece if you like. 

The fundamental difference between this image and a conventional still life is that it is not supported on anything that we can see, like a table top for example.  All support here is provided by the whirling and invisible air.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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BIRDS 131 – GREAT WHITE EGRET

 

 


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Great White Egret, a member of the heron family, on the edge of a reed bed in Herons Green Bay, at Chew Valley Lake, a reservoir just south of Bristol.  Two things make this photo rather special to me.  First, this was one of the places where two school friends whom I am still in touch with – one in The States, the other in Australia – got me into birding in 1967.  Herons Green Bay looks much the same as it did all those years ago, and its good to go back there now (less than half and hour’s drive away) and see this part of my birding roots more or less as they were.

The other thing is that the presence of this bird shows just how things can change because, back in the 1960s, this was a very rare bird in the UK, whereas now small numbers breed in the UK and there are usually a few individuals  at Chew Lake.  I imagine this is somehow related to climate change.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.
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BIRDS 130 – BLACK-HEADED GULL 3

 

 


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Adult Black-headed Gull in winter plumage.  The dark brown hood of the breeding plumage (see here ) has been replaced by diffuse dark markings on the head and, notably, a dark spot behind the eye.

An agile, small gull, quite common around here at the moment as they scavenge, uttering their shrill screams, over the city and out around the suburbs.

There is another photo of this species here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 450mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 7 Dec 2020.

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