This past week I have been on work experience working down at a national trust estate near me, it has been great fun working on the estate as I got to know the habits of particular species such as a red-legged partridge (otherwise known as Ted).
On Friday Sophie Ellis, the ranger, said that we could just do photography for the day which was good as I could go around before the public, this allowed me to photograph a species that I have longed to photograph,the black bird. Although a common bird which is found all over, the black bird can be wary at times so is difficult to photograph. My plan was to lie under a very overhanging tree to conceal my body and lens. And soon enough a male blackbird strutted around the grounds before walking right in front of me. The image is by no means a good one but I will hopefully be spending more time up at the estate to get a better image.
I then headed over to the big national trust house for some low level wagtails. Previous experience has taught me that wagtails are fairly tame and are not wary of humans, and this was no exception. I put all my kit down and laid down to watch and photograph these curious little birds. I was quite lucky to capture one individual catching a small beetle. Wagtails are funny little birds, with their constant bobbing up and down and small flight jumps. Maybe next year I will see if I can track down a nest and photograph them growing up.
We then went out to photograph a wasps nest in a skip, can you believe it. This particular nest was inside an old sofa, and although only the size of a small football there was constant activity of wasps. They were mainly building the nest up more and using their wings as an air conditioning system. Many people assume wasps will go crazy if you get close but as long as you are slow and any movements are steady then they will allow you to get quite close. The sound of the wasps were truly awesome with the constant droning and their wings beating together as they came back into the nest.
Sophie then suggested we put up a trail camera in the woods, so we headed off deep into the estate. Along the way we encountered a young roe deer buck who didn’t mind our presence at all and allowed for some decent pictures. We then went and put out the trail cameras, and saw and heard young sparrowhawks flying low through the woodland clearing.
Heading back I decided to make one last stop off at the car park to track down Ted who usually came to the car park in the early evening. And soon enough I found him picking off flies from the bumpers of cars, a trait he has learned over the years. I then spent about 30 minutes photographing him and constantly moving back to allow the camera to focus. He came ,at the closest, 30cm from me which was really cool, and this allowed me to take a closer look at his plumage.I then said good bye to Ted and headed home after what I can only describe as a wildlife packed day.