Sunday, 3 June 2012

Patience has its Rewards

A bird I have consistently struggled to photograph is the Reed Warbler. They are very energetic, constantly moving about the reed beds, suddenly appearing at the edge before disappearing back into the sanctuary dense foliage. Even at this time of year when males are setting up territories they can be hard to see. Unlike Sedge Warblers that will climb to the top of a reed to announce their presence, Reed Warblers will stay low, using a louder voice to let others know they are available. As a result I find them most frustrating to photograph, but always up for a challenge, yesterday I set myself that objective. So I decamped to North Marsh hide at Tophill and settled down.

There was plenty of singing, so the signs were good that I would at least get an opportunity. There was a fleeting visit by a Kingfisher, but the Reed Warblers were a little more circumspect. However, they did begin to show, and eventually after waiting and watching for a good hour and a half I was given some excellent views.

Perhaps the Reed Warblers had been nervous given the singing male Cuckoo on the other side of the river?

On my continuing walk around the reserve I was told that one of the Barn Owls had been seen hunting late into the morning around Hempholme meadow – the same area where the over-wintering Short-Eared Owls had been so successful. So I thought I would spend a little time by the wire fence to see if one might make an appearance. Twenty or so minutes later I was rewarded with the sight of an adult quartering the field, hovering over a potential target, and pouncing on an unsuspecting vole. The prey was taken off to a nearby fence post before being whisked off back to the brood of hungry chicks.


  1. Great pictures as always, especially the Reed Warblers and Barn Owls. I also read your excellent and well argued letter in the Yorkshire Post Country section yesterday regarding the proposed trapping of Buzzards. Thankfully the government seems to have backed down now from the proposed plan.

    1. Hi David. Thanks for the comments. I was surprised to see my letter published. I don't ususally write, but that silly move just made me mad!! Thank goodness the plan has been withdrawn - although I suspect it was more from political than conservation reasons, or am I just a bit too cynical?