Friday, 18 April 2014

Elmley RSPB

I always enjoy visiting the Elmley RSPB reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. It's one of those places that has something to offer all year round.

I left the house around 5.30am last Saturday and arrived to a fantastic sunrise.

Sunrise over Elmley

It was a shame however that I could not gain access to the reserve as, owing to some overnight thefts, it does not now open until 7am. It did give me a chance to check out the gun club area, where I spent a very pleasant time talking to Brian, who is researching short eared owls for a book he is writing.

Once the gates were open I worked my way up the track, where lapwing and redshank were abundant. I was hoping to photograph one of my favourite birds - yellow wagtail - but the single male I located remained too distant for me to get any good photographs.

I spotted a drake shoveler swimming up one of the channels, so I positioned myself ahead of it and waited for it to come into range. I was pleased to capture an image of it in its natural environment and chose to 'letterbox' it for more impact.

Drake shoveler
Drake shoveler
My favourite shot of the day came from an encounter I had with a redshank just as I was leaving the reserve. It posed for just a second before scuttling off; enough time for me to capture the image below. It looked good on the camera's rear LCD screen and I was pleased that it looked just as good when I opened it in Lightroom. It was one of those shots that needed virtually no post-processing and all the more pleasing for that.

I plan to visit again over the Easter break where I hope that more yellow wagtails may have made their way over from Europe.