With little time to go out birding and doing photography, due to work and domestic commitments I decided to shorten the odds of getting a decent bird image. My pictures of Buzzards to date have been all flight shots. Whenever I have seen one on the ground it has always flown off before I could get close enough to press the shutter. So with a sunday off and a green light on the domestic front I opted for a day at Tom Robinson's Farm and more importantly in one of his Bird Photography Hides.
Tom has sent up a number of hides on his family's farm and concentrates on particular species. His hides are really quite superb, spacious with tea and coffee facilities, one way glass and even supplied with chocolate biscuits. One such hide is the Buzzard hide which I had heard was doing well at the moment. Buzzards were coming down to feed on a daily basis. Sometimes two birds, adult and juvenile. The utmost important advice he gave was to let the bird settle before moving the lens at all. Wary of any movement the bird will fly unless settled, something previous trigger happy photographers had experienced to their cost.
So arriving in the dark early am to ensure the birds don't see you, I was installed in the hide. Daylight began around 7am and I was surprised to hear the Buzzards calling that early. Plenty of hedgerow activity and then around 10am a few Crows started to come into view. Then a few Magpies. A few hours later and while the Buzzards had been calling and I was beginning to wonder if this was the day the birds had decided to go elsewhere. Then at around 1pm Bang, a Buzzard crashed in right next to a magpie which was feeding.
To be so close to these great birds was a fantastic experience and to come away with pictures as well - fabulous. Tom's website is http://www.wildlife-photography-hides.co.uk