Friday 24 June 2016

Slavonian Grebe (European)

After a torrid day at work contemplating an act of national lunacy seen only once in a generation, I arrived home frazzled. A glass of wine - French - has helped calm shattered nerves, and so I've sat myself down and worked through a number of Icelandic Slavonian Grebe images. I would imagine that many leave voters have never been to Iceland. In fact I would imagine that many of them have never been anywhere and probably don't even have passports, but that's their lookout. They are missing out on these frankly magical birds which were a privilege to observe and photograph. I've only really seen winter-plumaged birds before, and as I think I've mentioned I can barely believe that they're the same species. Here's one of the Wanstead bird from last year - does not even compare!

We were in an area relatively far north having received some brilliant gen from a local birder. Arriving at the place he mentioned we found perhaps six pairs, but only one were in a location that made for a decent set-up - a long and narrow pool, perhaps 30ft across, ie within easy reach of long lenses. Despite reasoning we could get very close indeed, I nonetheless opted to use the 800mm mounted on a tripod and with a gimbal head - this reduces this massive lens to something that is practically weightless. We crept up as the birds dived, stopping when they surfaced, and so quite quickly got into what seemed like a good spot. And we were right! It was honestly like shooting fish in a barrel, all you had to do was make sure you had your horizons level and that you maintained accurate focus, and in some instances when they came stupidly close that you were not cutting any of the bird odd. Having checked the time stamps on my images, Shaun and I spent precisely nine minutes with this pair of Grebes before retreating the way we had come - we knew we would simply not get better. The only things I would have wished for would have been less wind and hence stiller water, and a bit more sunshine, but really I'm picking at straws here.

Apologies in advance for a very photo-heavy post with no real content. I am not really able to speak today in a coherent manner about much at all. In due course I am sure I will, but I am simply seething at the way in which people have been duped by rhetoric into massively changing the future for generations of children including mine. It simply beggars belief that as a nation we can be so grievously stupid, but there you have it. Anyway, have some Slavs. I need more wine.


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