BIRDS 120 – COOT AND BLACK-HEADED GULL

 

 


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One for you birders – hello Lynn!!! – adult Black-headed Gull in winter plumage, flying over a Coot, on the freshwater of a local reservoir.

Fieldmarks for the gull: red legs; red, black-tipped bill; the black mark behind the eye; the white blaze on the leading edge of the wing.

And the Coot: actually the Eurasian Coot; prominent white shield on the forehead, and bill white too – and never any red nodules (that’s what the fieldguide calls them!) above the white forehead shield.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to open a (rather grainy!) even larger version.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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CHEW LAKE 13 – ALONG THE SHORE, NEAR THE DAM

 

Shore near the dam
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Coot swimming below lakeside trees, near the dam at this lake’s northern end; 15 May 2015.

This was the first photo of the day, which is distinctly unusual – usually I need some warm up time, the transition from having driven somewhere and then relaxing and starting to really take in my surroundings – strong coffee often helps!  But this time I got out of the car, got the camera strap around my neck – and there was this bird swimming towards lakeside trees.  I took several shots as it moved left.  But this first shot was best as, swimming onwards, the Coot was all too soon visually entangled with the tree’s branches and their reflections.

I very much like the thick tree trunk at upper left.  It curves strongly up across that corner of the frame, anchoring things really, and its branches and leaves provide most of the image’s detail.  The Coot seems intent on getting in under the tree, invading its space.  The water was pale and almost still, and I’ve made it slightly paler still, which removes nearly all of its textures, with the notable exception of the bird’s wake.

To me, this lessening of the water’s detail makes this less like a photo.  It removes some of the realism, and perhaps makes it look somewhat oriental.

For those wanting to find out more about this lake, its full name is Chew Valley Lake, and it is situated not far south of Bristol.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 400 ISO.
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CHEW LAKE 11 – MIST LIFTING, HERONS GREEN 3 (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 

Mist lifting, Herons Green 3
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Low angle sunlight, and a Coot, on the waters of Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake; 6 Apr 2015.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Film Noir 1 preset and partially restoring colour.
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CHEW LAKE 8 – SWIMMING AGAINST THE FLOW (MONO)

 

 

Swimming against the flow
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Coot at Chew Valley Lake, south of Bristol; 18 Mar 2013.

Chew Valley Lake is a large artificial reservoir that provides much of Bristol’s water.  It is fed by the River Chew at its southern end, where the river enters a pool that is channelled under a main road to flow on out into the main body of the lake.

The flow of the channelled water under the road is considerable.  In the picture above, the water is flowing in from the left and down over a small concrete step, and the force of the flow over that step is producing waves and turbulence on the right.

And yet this little waterbird has passed through all of this aquatic turmoil with speed and consummate ease.  Its wake, swept back around it by the force of the flow it is swimming against,  is still visible, right over to the image’s right margin.   Totally at home on the water, it has swum up and over that submerged step with complete unconcern.  I was impressed.

Compositionally, the small submerged step forms a dark linear feature that bisects the image from lower left to upper right, and which is the boundary between the calmer water on the left and the turbulent water on the right.  If this were a person swimming, they would be heading for a calmer, less hectic life.

The area of paler and relatively smooth water immediately behind the bird helps the image, I think, and it is real, i.e. not digitally induced.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 1 preset.

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