There was a time when I’d drool with envy at the variety of wildlife photographs taken by photographers. I would dream of going to exotic places and taking those ‘once in a lifetime’ images we all dream about. After a while I realised that all I was doing was neglecting the wonderful wildlife I have on my doorstep and literally take for granted. This last week or so I have concentrated on my own back garden, simply because there has been a family of starlings paying visits to the feeders. Both parents and four fledglings, to be exact. They would come and sit on top of the brackets supporting the feeders and call noisily for their next beakful. I watched as the parents would take turns pecking chunks out of the suet block and flying up to stuff the next hungry chick. Quite often though, at least one of the chicks would drop to the ground and the parents would drop with it and feed it there. I wanted a picture of the young bird with parent and ideally being fed. So I set about setting my stall out.
The ground was damp so I laid out my tarpaulin to lie on. I also opened up my camo netting alongside it, so I could simply pull it over me when I got into position. I then got my camera gear (Nikon D200 with 1.7-TC, AF-S VR 70-200 1:2.8G and Manfrotto tripod) and moved into position when it was clear. I pulled the netting over me and waited. At this point I was about 8-10ft away from where they were landing. Now came the waiting game. It wasn’t too long before birds started dropping to the grass and foraging there so I knew I would be able to get some shots of other birds, if not the starlings. Because of the angle I was at, to the feeders, I could not see them clearly. nevertheless around ten minutes later I heard the youngsters again and knew they were back. Sure enough a couple of minutes later several birds dropped right in front of me and in the frenzy that followed I was able to take several pictures with the birds oblivious to my presence. My main concern was the noise of the camera shutter but the chicks crying for food drowned that out! As I started firing the shutter and looking through the viewfinder with one eye I could see other birds dropping to the floor to feed all across the front of me, with my other. It was a wonderful position to be in, not knowing where to point the camera next! Then, as fast as it had begun, it ended. The starlings flew off and did not return for several hours and the other birds paid the occasional visit to the ground. I managed to get several nice pics but the one of a chick being fed did not materialise this session nor for any to date so far. Time is running out as starlings only fledge for around three weeks so I may not get THAT shot, this year at least. Here are the images I took (click on the image below for a gallery with slider):
In addition to these, several of my macro shots (bees, flowers, flies) have all been taken in my garden. All you have to do is go find your own subject in your own garden. believe me, there’s a wealth of them in there!
Thanks for reading and I look forward to any comments you may have