Thursday, January 17, 2008

Birdbrain goes into hiding!

There was no way I was going to be able to photograph birds in the lawn area without putting up some sort of hide. After debating all the options, including a green dome tent with some scrim netting thrown over it, I eventually purchased one of Kevin Keatley's purpose built hides from Wildlife Watching Supplies.

I went for the standard dome hide, in 'Advantage Leaf' - this really is an excellent camouflage pattern for all year round in the UK. These hides are not cheap (around £200), especially when you consider it is basically a tall dome tent without a floor! However, it is designed for the purpose, the extra height allows you to sit comfortably and the three viewing 'ports' are perfectly positioned and designed. There is a flap at the front that you can poke one of your tripod legs through, this give you a bit more room to manoeuvre inside (although consider going for the larger version if you're tall or big!). So far it's stood up to all the January wind and rain and hopefully should give years of service.

I bought a fisherman's chair from my local angling shop, this has adjustable legs so you can level it on uneven ground and wide 'mud' feet that won't sink into soft ground. A nice bit of comfort for around £30. To finish things off, a scrim scarf (ebay) is thrown over the lens barrel and some camouflage material wrapped around the exposed tripod leg. Wildlife Watching Supplies can supply everything you need, but ebay is a good source of bargain army surplus bits that will do the job.

So, does it work? You bet it does. I threw it up one morning, and even as I was checking out the tripod for size, a Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared on the feeders less than 2.5 metres away, even though I had only just popped inside out of sight. Brilliant!

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