Friday finally saw my 500mm f/4 Lens go off for it’s tripod mount collar repair and even though I’m going to miss the beginning of the spring/summer season whilst it is on its trip to Barcelona, I am still preparing for its return.
Today, I went on a scouting mission to find where the local European Bee-eaters are starting to nest build and it if you know what you are looking for, it didn’t take too long. Although there was no real evidence of new nest building at this location, I sat under a nearby Oak tree and waited. 20 minutes later a pair arrived. I was sat in full view of them, but they didn’t seem too bothered. I did have my “walkabout” lens (the trusty Nikon 80-400mm) so did manage to shoot a few photos before I left them to their colony building.
My view of their flight wasn’t great as it was into the sun, but did shoot this back-lit shot with the sun’s rays shining through the wings.
Early this morning we had a thick fog and as it started to clear the warmth of the sun was good enough for me to wander around the garden eating my breakfast cereal. In the distance I could hear European Bee-Eaters and before I could blink a large group of between 25 and 30 of them appeared out of the fog. Almost dropping my bowl as I ran to the house to grab the camera, I was lucky that they decided to perch on a nearby electricity cable and stop to hunt for their breakfast. Photos aren’t my usual close-ups (see some past photos at the end) as I was still some distance away and of course the clearing fog didn’t help.
As I knew it was going to be another terrible morning for light, I had a lazy morning. Around 8:30am I woke to the sound of a pair of European Bee-eaters outside the bedroom window. As the light was so bad (only nighttime could possibly be worse) I took this shot when one of them sat on a cable that didn’t have the dull grey sky in the background, it’s still fairly high ISO for a static shot at 2800.
The pair were both males, I’m unsure if this is the same pair I keep seeing as still there seems to be very few here.
None of the local colonies have established yet, but there is the odd occasional Bee-Eater flying around. I suspected this cold and wet spring would delay them slightly. I remember from 2018 when we had a lot of rain in February and April, they were 2 weeks late, they are currently 9 days late.
As for photographing the ones that are here, well the light is also terrible, but here is a quick shot that I grabbed this morning of one flying quite high.
UPDATE : Since this morning the noise of these amazing birds has been increasing so it seems they are returning in numbers now. More tomorrow…..
After the disappointment of finding a destroyed Bee-Eater nest (see HERE) and of course, one dead and one rescued nestling, I took a look at another location where there are nests and watched a pair actively returning to the nest over and over with food for the young inside. Whilst the birds are digging their nests and mating, I (mostly) leave them alone as not to cause them to flee and abandon, but now they young to feed I will watch and shoot from a safe distance.
The great news is that it has a very natural hide for me courtesy of the river bank. I look forward over the next few days capturing some shots, although the very unseasonable cool and cloudy weather may put a stop to it!
Here is a shot I got of one of the parents leaving the nest.
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