NATURE

All images ©ericweight 2015

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I couldn’t see them being particularly active, so it would have to be pheasants today. Hopefully they would have found my freshly filled feeding station. I needn’t have worried, they had eaten 5 litres of corn since last Sunday and the thing was completely and utterly empty. They had been very busy and my camera trap revealed that at least five of them had been camped in front of it until it had run out.

It took the first bird two hours to turn up, a young one just beginning the process of adopting adult plumage. At a glance, such birds look tatty and untidy, but if you care to look, they still have some lovely subtle shades in their feathers, they just aren’t as crisply organised. I took a fair few shots, trying and not really succeeding in getting lots of rainwater droplets to show up. They were sitting all over its feathers, but the light wasn’t picking them out, so they didn’t add a lot to my images.

After about ten minutes, he just upped sticks and headed purposefully off up the hedge, his position under the feeder taken by a stunning and clearly more important cock bird. Some more chances then, but always tempered by the sheer quantity of sundry vegetation and debris that always seems perfectly placed to clutter up a picture. Everything was going nicely, but the rain was getting worse and as dinnertime approached with no further activity , I packed.

I don’t suppose anybody will be surprised when I tell them that despite checking thoroughly for birds in the vicinity, as soon as I stepped outside, half a dozen burst into the air with a clatter of beating wings. I would rather not have spooked them close to my hide, but what can you do?

My new mobile approach didn’t last long. The weather forecast for today was for loads of rain and wind, and I can’t say I fancied sitting in a ditch with my trousers filling up with cold water. Hides are not all bad, are they? My woodland hide is closest, but as I suspected it might be, the wind was blowing in exactly the wrong direction, straight at the main viewing window. I chickened out and headed on back to the farm. I saw plenty of hares on my trek to the hide, but they were not happy about the weather either.

My nature