While the weather was not always favourable when I got the chance to put the trap out, I was able to get a few species to photograph. Getting them to pose was another thing though.
Nut Tree Tussock.
Nut Tree Tussock.
Turning my attention back to the local dumps now that the weather had improved during the days and the wind had decreased, the number of Wheatear and Yellow Wagtails had increased. A male and female had set up territory on one pile and were most obliging and very inquisitive at times, coming too close to focus.
It was nice to get them against a blurred backdrop of colour too, with the greens and yellows from the surrounding crop fields certainly adding to the image. And as long as they were not too far away from me then the heat haze from the heaps did not cause a problem.
The subtle pastel colours on the males stood out at all times but it was surprisingly difficult to pick them out when they moved, blending in very well by just keeping still on one of the many clumps, looking for tasty grubs and flies to fly at and it was only then that you could relocate it. The female with the cream and browner tones simply vanished in front of you when running around for food, only when she ran up onto the highest clump of muck did she give herself away. But then she would pose and pose beautifully at that, keeping one eye on the fly banquet and one on the male, not letting him encroach on her corner of the heap for too long.
The Yellow wagtails were not as numerous as in previous years but I had been told a huge count was had the day before. They were active enough but the males were very territorial and just as one came into view it was promptly chased off by another male. I only picked up on one or two females so most birds were probably already very active around the nests.
There is no mistaking how striking the male Yellow wagtails can be, and with a coloured backdrop too bring out the vibrancy even more its not hard to see why I return year after year. Not that its easy to capture these gems though, they dart around at a great speed only when they stop to survey the area and decide to sing a few notes are you able to click off a few frames, but its challenging to follow them whilst feeding and try to get an action shot that leaves the rest behind... one day I'll get it.
And when all hell breaks loose and vanishes then you know a predator is nearby, and on this occasion it was a Kestrel. Dropping down to the ground to pick up insects it certainly had the smaller wagtails nervy. But the one thing that stood out the most was the incredible odour from the muck, and where I had manoeuvred the car around to get a good spot I had not noticed how deep it was around my car wheels. Later on parked up outside my home anyone would of thought that the local farmer was muck spreading the fields it was so intense... and I mean intense. Yet that was nothing compared to when I took it to the local hand car wash, those poor buggers were turning up their noses, I thought I would be charged more for the inconvenience I had caused. But even after jet washing the car you could still,albeit less pungent, smell the pong. Oh well ! I'm used to it anyway.