I think one of the most graceful sights in all of nature is a bird in flight! From the smallest; our little goldcrest, who flits about so quickly among the trees and shrubs it’s hard to keep track of them, to one of our largest; the grey heron, with a giant wingspan that allows them to soar for miles traveling between bodies of water. I can never tire of watching birds in the wild! This weekend I will be doing my bit to help the RSPB collect data that is so important in conservation work, The Big Garden Birdwatch. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing this weekend, perhaps you can find just ten minutes to stop and watch the birds too!
I think most of my readers know that I love all things winged! My entry for last week’s challenge, Early Bird, would have fit equally well this week. Sticking with feathered wings this week, I’m reducing the size of the birds! My featured image is a long-tailed tit that was flitting about, high in the trees above where Sue (WordsVisual) and I were sitting outside The Glasshouse Cafe at RHS Wisley Gardens. It was pure luck that I caught this image of him taking off from one of the branches and deserving of short accompanying poem!
Do, also, visit Brenda (HeavenHappens) who has a similar love of garden birds to me. This week she has shared some wonderful photos of a dear little long-tailed tit who visits her daily and perches on the door-handle, watching what she’s up to through the glass! Priceless 🙂
My gallery below is a bit of fun from Stover Country Park in Devon. My main aim that day was to capture more natural images of the birds in the trees and shrubs around this bird feeder, which attracts so many of the birds to this particular spot. I couldn’t resist putting the camera on the tripod and capturing a series of images of these birds flying onto and off the feeder! The chaffinches are always the best for this as they will almost hover around the feeder before alighting.
The saying goes, “It’s the early bird that catches the worm”. This week we were challenged to get up early and capture the morning light. My challenge while in Devon over Easter, was to get up much earlier than I usually do and catch the birds! Specifically, birds of prey. I’ve been sharing a few of these images with you over the past few weeks, but this montage took some time to compose and get the feel of motion and light that I wanted. The story that I hoped to tell with this image is of the special relationship between the owl and her owner.
This is Pepper, a pure-breed British Barn Owl (Tyto alba alba), flying to her handler, Steve Hopper from South Hams Hawks and Owls. Steve is a falconer who runs a raptor rescue centre and flies his birds of prey for educational displays and photography groups. Pepper was rescued at the age of sixteen when her owner passed away. She’s now twenty one, which is very elderly for a Barn Owl! She’s almost completely blind so can only manage short exercise flights, relying upon the sound of Steve’s voice and the taps he makes on the glove to guide her to him. Watching her short flights was a real privilege. She flies high and, as Steve put it, creates wonderful “angel” shapes with her wings.
Afloat on unseen Currents of air Adrift in skies Vast and clear The huntress circles
The huntress circles On rising thermals Flowing gracefully A dance eternal Spiraling ever upwards
Spiraling ever upwards Toward the heavens Almost an angel Called from our presence Afloat and unseen
While we were in Devon, photographing the captive-bred and rescued birds of prey, the wild buzzards circled above us. There were several individuals that we believed were a male and female who will hopefully be breeding soon! I love falconry and being able to get close-up to some of my favourite birds in the whole world, but it’s even more exhilarating to see a wild bird of prey flying high on the thermals.