Category: Birds Eloquent Project

Birds Eloquent looks at the visual poetry of birds within the environment and the context within which they are found. It explores the relationship between place and species and also looks at how birds interact with each other within a fragile ecosystem.

The project simply grew from a love of being with birds all my life, watching and recording from an early age and accompanying my brothers on bird outings. All the work is carried out in the British Isles, a country offering so much diversity but under so much pressure.

Never chasing, never collecting species, never year lists or life lists, just a love of watching, anticipating and being in the company of birds. Photographically, I came late to birds, and would rather, at the end of a days shooting, have an eloquent image of a more common species than a record shot of a rarer one. My main focus is exploring how the medium can help convey a sense of place and the extraordinary habits of birds, giving a sense of my own experiences in the field.

As the work continues to develop I find myself pulling back from the bird and working more with how it is experienced in the field. Time waiting for the ‘right moment’ is time not only invested in the image but in my well being and this aspect of ‘slowing down’ is becoming central to the work.

Ruff at Martin Mere

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Another recent wader encountered whilst out with the geese was the ruff. Five birds spent a good half hour picking up the swan feed towards dusk and it was interesting to note the very different stages of plumage from wintering adults to juvenile birds. It’s the leg colour that varies more than anything and is pretty well emphasised in these images.

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Islay Again and the Geese

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Back to Islay and the geese. The aim was to place them in a wider context and I was fortunate that the weather was with me (seems like it’s not been very good since then). The mornings were superb and straight out of the van I was able to work with a perfect backdrop and the geese coming over the waters of Loch Indal. Trying to work them together is not such an easy task, focusing is all against you and the focusing spot had to be continually adjusted.

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Martin Mere and the Whooper Swans

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Over last weekend I was up at Martin Mere again and continuing my work on the swan and geese project. The whoopers can be quite aggressive to each other and to anything that gets in their way as the images with the mallard show here. It lunged towards the unsuspecting duck, twirled it round for a few ‘spins’ before the mallard escaped its attentions.

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The Exe Estuary and Mulled Wine!

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Early morning at Topsham harbour on the way to the hide

More to come from Islay later but I managed a few of days down on the Exe estuary last week, again in search of getting some images of geese, dark-bellied brent this time from arctic Russia, in the context of the estuary. It was also an opportunity to witness a spectacle that has to be one of the finest in Britain, the population of avocets that flock in large numbers to this part of the world during the winter.

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Tern on the Wear

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Whilst I was waiting for my brother to pick up his passport from the Durham regional office back in the summer (I’ve a bit of catching up to do!) and listening to the Ashes on TMS, I noticed a common tern fishing by a weir on the Wear. We were due to visit the Cathedral later on and as per normal I carry the 50 -500mm with me at all times.

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