1/1000s - f11 - 500mm - ISO400 - Canon 7d
I spent the afternoon at a new reserve today, Sculthorpe Moor Community Nature Reserve in the Wensum Valley, managed by the Hawk & Owl Trust.
We spotted this reserve last year as we drove past, and had few hours to spare so we decided to stop by and try the hides and walks on offer. The visitor centre has a webcam feed coming live from a marsh harrier nest out on the marshes, and this is displayed on a large TV screen as you first come in, awesome idea and great proof that you'll see the harriers during your visit.
The first hide of the 3, is the woodland hide. Situated in mixed woodland, the hide looks out on a patch of ground with feeders located not far from the viewing ports. Bullfinches, chaffinches, blackbirds, pheasants, dunnocks, and great spotted woodpeckers all frequent the feeding station and give a good opportunity for shots, if the light is sympathetic (ours wasn't). With the poor light the ISO had to be ramped up to 1000 to get any sort of acceptable shutter speed, and this was a good time to test the Canon 7D at higher ISO values than I would normally shoot. Although I did snap this GSW on the feeder - I tried to get him on the branches or the ground for a more natural shot, but he wouldn't play ball :
The next hide along looks out on the marshes, and looks right over the top of where the marsh harriers are nesting, so it guarantees views of the birds coming in and out of the nest, and if you are lucky this time of year, you'll see them bringing food back for the young in the nest. This female has raided a nearby nest and is bringing back a chick as food :
The last hide on the walk takes you out to a scrape beside the River Wensum. Kingfishers are resident and have been seen on the scrape but we weren't that lucky today. From the hide I photographed a grey heron who was fishing in the reeds at the water edge, and a family of coots was trying to stay out of his way. As we were just settling in, a little egret came in and landed near the heron, giving us great views and shots of this fine crane.
Sculthorpe Moor is a great little reserve, I just wish we had better weather, giving better light for photography but you can't have it every way!
About this blog:
Photographic adventures from from behind the DGPix Wildlife & Nature Photography lens!