Back to reality with a bump now. No more golden eagles to look out for, but the old
familiar if slightly less dramatic wildlife of the wood. I am beginning to think
that its occupants might be getting used to me at last. On my first visit back, a
squirrel actually took refuge from an aggressor inside my hide and while it was in
there had a good look round. It took no notice of me even when I asked it what it
thought it was doing! After a couple of minutes, it lifted the side of the hide with
one hand, and peered out to see if its tormentor had gone and then left. I no longer
shut the hide right up, preferring to just open a wide gap high across the front
which gives me the least restricted view and the wildlife seems happy with that.
Many of the birds are on the feeders before I have even got inside these days.
Photographing common birds is very challenging for a couple of reasons. The small
ones are very quick and there is not much light at this time of the year, especially
in the wood. The biggest issue however, is just how do you make another blue tit
picture interesting and, importantly, still challenging to capture. The secret I
find is in the background. A common bird is always enhanced by a fresh background.
A blue tit is a blue tit, we all know what they look like to the point where we barely
pay attention to them any more. To invest interest into a picture of one there is
only its stance and its behaviour to play with. The background however, can be light,
dark, colourful, detailed, bland and lit in a multitude of different ways in any
combination thereof. It is the background that really makes the picture, and it changes
with the seasons, the time of day and the weather.
This year then, I have refrained from clearing too much vegetation in the wood, preferring
to struggle for sight lines in the hope of capturing more variety. I have a new visitor
this year, a nuthatch moved in almost straight away and now has a partner. They are
very industrious and spend the whole day coming in and out, eating me out of house
They are charming birds and so I am in woodpecker and nuthatch mode at the moment.
However familiar the wood becomes, there are always more challenges flitting around
the edges. Crows, raptors, thrushes, mammals - small and large, that I have barely
got to grips with yet. My camera trap films them all, its up to me to find a way
to do the same.