Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Operation Birdbrain - Part I

I moved house late in 2007, my new location is quite rural and I was very soon struck by the variety of garden birds and the stunning colours of some species, such as Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Jays, that I had never even noticed before! I set about installing feeders and spent a few months casually observing my feathered visitors. I'm no twitcher, but soon I found myself buying binoculars and a bird identification book.

When it came to setting my January 2008 photographic objective, it was an obvious progression to move on to try and photograph the birds in my garden. So, 'Operation Birdbrain' was born!

My observations during the last months of 2007 had given me an insight into not just what species to expect, but also some clues to their likely behaviour: Great and Blue Tits would flit about all day, rarely settling anywhere for more than a few seconds; Great Spotted Woodpeckers would swoop in two or three times a day and gorge themselves on the peanut feeder. I knew that these types of observations would be a big asset in trying to capture images of the birds.

What I wanted though was natural looking images, not birds clinging to birdfeeders, but birds perched on branches, and even that classic (but cliched!) shot of a Robin perched on the handle of a garden spade! Over the next series of posts I'll describe my approach and how this has evolved to give me the results I am aiming for (hopefully!).

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