A Blog With No Words

28th June 2014
A blog with no words…..

Well, not many anyway. This is really en excuse to put up a few more obliging waterbirds pappling around in some Bulgarian mud. These are not the most newsworthy birds and are unlikely to be picked up by the Daily Mail as none were apparently feeding in a gangam-style or were threatening the profitability of a Tory-donating grouse shoot.

However, there was some pleasing light and some comfy soft mud to lie in. I try not to do bird-on-a-stick shots and the low angle gave you something to work with………. I've got loads of half-decent shots of birds that would be very interesting to birdwatchers in England but are commonplace (thankfully) in Bulgaria, so this blog is just an excuse to post a few more. Please bear with me…….

Anyway it's my website and I'll post them if I want to………..

I've not troubled you with any backlit sunrise shots - you've probably had your fill last time.

It would be churlish not to add a couple more of the Black Winged Stilt in golden hour light. I quite like the portrait shots with them small in the frame. This is real vibrant light and the images look good as a big print - even I've added an A3 to my portfolio

A Wood Sandpiper in the same place and light - albeit apparently retching on a crustacean. At least it's doing something behavioural?

If you did a 90degree turn from the Stilt snapping point, this was the view. Reasonably unattractive, but one morning 1000+ Pelicans seemed to find it a decent place for a stopover.

The many little ponds were a cacophony of Marsh Frogs and these Toads

I snapped this little critter thinking it was yet another variety of Yellow Wagtail. It turned out to be a Citrine Wagtail and, therefore, interesting.

Strangely, this shot is one of my favourites from the week. I have taken Gargany several times in the UK - all with pretty unsatisfactory results. In Bulgaria they proved irritatingly furtive, but I managed a quick burst as they (three), briefly emerged from the reeds. Good points: Pin sharp, low perspective, water droplet on bill. Bad points: No sun and not doing the duck-wing-flappy-thing

There was a Corn Bunting singing from every high point. Agricultural differences, methinks?

Meanwhile, back at the mud……..

The Little Ringed Plover continued to entertain - often at a range of about 6"

A few Godwit bimbled past at regular intervals

A favourite bird was the delicately marked Greenshank. They were usually about, but not easy to snap amongst all the bits of broken reed and detritus. They suited my fave high key style

A small-in-the-frame Greenshank taken in virtually no light at an ungodly hour. Hence the blur on the legs

Wash & brush-up, Greenshank style

Quite like this one: a Ruff delicately looking for snacks on the underside of a leaf. Nice delicate pastel lighting

I did have a morning when a group of 4 (dammit) Spoonbill flew in and performed admirably: feeding, preening, sleeping etc. Unfortunately it was on one of the flat-light- mornings. I must have taken 500 snaps, from ground level & slightly raised trying to get a decent background - but ultimately, I don't like any of them. Something always spoiled the shot, usually the background. I have put in a couple of high-key images, more as a record than anything else.

High Key Spoonbill. Not sure of the angle, but slightly-raised was the only way to exclude the background fields, which (take it from me) ruined the image. Its a pity they couldn't have rustled up a 5th bird…….

Different background - equally unsatisfactory

In true migration fashion, I was lying in the mud having a doze and chatting about World Cup prospects to Richard and the Little Ringed Plovers, when a group of 12 Spotted Redshank flew in, and did all the 'Oh, thank God we've arrived things'. It was flat light, but this was a bird on my shot list so I was pleased to see them. They were there for 30 mins next day, but then were gone………….

Bathing Spotted Redshank - although it does appear to be muscling its way out of quicksand. Perhaps this style of post-flight wash is unique to the SpotShank as all the images of all the birds look equally inelegant

Spotted Redshank, showing of its swanky emerging breeding plumage

Just a high key Grey Heron

A gratuitous high key Wood Sandpiper - because they were always there

So that's Bulgaria wrapped up, for this trip anyway. A top place for bird photography. This visit didn't have anything 'exceptional', including the weather, but its always nice to have a week devoted to bird photography without the phone ringing; bringing forward deadlines or asking for photo's, 'but we haven't got a budget for photography!'