Saturday 27 February 2010

London Waxwing and other bits

Got the Waxwing in Finchley at the second attempt - failed yesterday. Took some time, but when it finally came in it was instantly worth the wait. The bird had no fear, and on one occasion I had to step backwards away from it in order to focus again. Not the best Waxwing photos I have ever taken, the light was distinctly horrible - a very dull day here in the capital - so I've upped the levels and so on to make it appear nicer than it actually was. I take no pleasure in manipulating images, but I do it for you, dear readers. For your viewing pleasure. Rest assured, in the flesh, this was a dull brown bird that you would not have enjoyed. And it was windy, with precipitation never far off. You're much better off looking at a lovely orangey-pink Waxwing from the comfort of your homes whilst I suffer on your behalf. By the way, the final image before the ducks is not a Waxwing. It is Des, livening up proceedings. He had just performed a rude gesture if you can believe it. Click to see for yourself!

Prior to almost dipping the Waxwing again, I spent an hour in Epping Forest, getting wet and attempting to take photographs of ducks. Once again I proved that by sitting in the mud and slowing things down, better photos result. How often do I get to do that though? If the light in Finchley this afternoon was horrible, this morning in Epping Forest it was truly disgusting. Only by virtue of a very fast lense did I stay in the game, just. I could go all technical at this point, but it would be boring. Suffice it to say that last week and up until yesterday I was thinking of selling the lense as I find it too heavy to lug around. This morning I changed my mind, and the offer is withdrawn. The dismal weather in this country for so many months of the year means this lense is extremely useful and I'm going to keep it. And hopefully use it more than I currently do.

So, have some ducks taken with it this morning. Mandarins and Mallards. I may have said it before, but I reckon I could spend the rest of my life taking photos of Mandarins. Brilliant birds, so photogenic. They never really came particularly close today, in fact they consistently flew away from me, but towards dogs. I suspect they were after bread. But when did you last see a dog carrying bread?


  1. Love the ones of the mandarins, especially that first!

    I owe you thanks, Jonathan. Your blog has inspired me to get back into birding, especially since you bring your children along all the time. I sort of never thought I could bird with children but I love seeing that yours not only accompany you but seem to enjoy it. So, today I saw a lifer, an Ivory Gull (this one:, a real rarity as it is only the 5th record for the state, and the first adult here ever. Brought my 9-month-old daughter who serenely endured lots of questions about whether she had a life list yet.

    Now that I know it's possible I have some other trips I can't wait to make! Thank you again.