Green Woodpecker and juvenile - 27/07/2017 - Dyke Hide
© Penny Dixie - Canon 1DX Mark II Canon EF 100-400mm L IS II USM - 1/2000sec at f/5.6 ISO 1600 400mm
Having spent time in the Dyke Hide earlier in the season, I couldn’t wait to rebook! The opportunities are exceptional. This time I was even luckier than previous occasions and witnessed the moment that one of the Green Woodpecker parents visited the ant-hill with a demanding juvenile close behind! During that morning, one parent bird also visited with two youngsters and spent ages around a perch. They all indulged in lots of preening and beak cleaning, they tried to dig for their own food and spent lots of time calling and posing beautifully for the camera! You’d have thought they’d be trained and paid extra for putting on an amazing show that included lots of wing flapping and stretching. All in all, quite magical.
Eurasian Otter - 17/11/2017 - Pond Hide
© Malcolm Clements - Nikon D500; Nikon 80-400mm lens; x4 remotely triggered Nikon SB5000 Speedlights (x2 @ front, x2 @ rear of the otter); x2 Lastolite Ezybox Speed-lite 2 flash diffusers; x2 Magbeam fresnel flash extenders
Tom has a knack of providing photo opportunities with enigmatic subjects. And so it was that I found myself at 5.00 pm recently sitting on a comfortable padded seat in his newest, insulated & heated Pond Hide (tea and coffee provided) with lens positioned in a water level port thro’ a one way glass viewing panel, all set up for an all-night session.
And I wasn’t disappointed – a Grey Heron arrived at 6.00 pm and although initially frightened off by something in the darkness it returned again later (on previous occasions I’ve had the bird in front of me for over 5 hours!) But things got better – at 3.30pm tell-tale ripples on the surface of the pond signalled the arrival of the star species – a Eurasian Otter.
To see such an animal only a few metres away was magical – to photograph it for about 20 minutes whilst it acted in a totally relaxed way was one of those dream situations.
I left the hide at 7.30am; tired but happy!
© Ian Haskell - Canon 1DX, 500f4 -1/3 1/2500 @f4
I have photographed Herons, Green Woodpeckers, Kestrels and Buzzards from some of the Wildlife Photography Hides setups that Tom has been developing. My favourite image so far has been that of a wild juvenile Kestrel running along a footpath sign. Wildlife Photography Hides offer a differing service covering a wide range of species, specialist setups and are also willing to workaround the requirements of the photographer to help achieve different images. www.ianhaskellphotography.com
© Shirley Russell - Canon EOS6D, 1/4000/ ISO 500, F/5.6
On both occasions when visiting Tom's hide, I had the most wonderful day, getting loads of close up shots and spending some time just enjoying watching the birds behaviour. Tom really tries to give you every chance of getting to see your favourite bird. He rang me to say that the Short Eared Owls were no longer on his site. I decided to go anyway and photograph the buzzards instead, but he found time to take me on a trip to see about six short eared owls hunting over the fields in the area. My most recent visit was to his new pond hide - the two way glass makes it so easy to watch the Kingfisher diving and I can't imagine that I will spend such a long time again watching a kingfisher at such close quarters.