A chance to see a rare vagrant gull on my doorstep was too good to miss and so last week I took a visit to the Ogmore estuary in South Wales and was not to be disappointed.
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.
We woke to rain, nothing unusual about that, but the van wasn’t shaking and it just felt stiller. Looking out to Handa was just too much, we had planned to move back south today but being opposite the island and now with the possibility that today the boat just might run, we had to give it one last shot. We could move down south a little quicker it was a chance we had to take. It had even stopped raining!
I spent a few hours in the ‘doorless’ hide at Forest Farm yesterday, being so close to the city has its problems but it’s a great little spot and always provides something of interest. There had been at least a couple of Bitterns there over the last weeks and quite possibly three!
Little Gulls used to be regular and in good numbers at Seaforth but in recent years they have fallen off considerably and apparently are now gathering in significant numbers on the Wirral. Something to do with a change in the salinity of the marina, which is just on the other side of the reserve, and has affected the insect numbers that predominate on the surface of the water.
Getting access to the Seaforth reserve took a little bit of time and effort, particularly as I’m not on the spot. You’ve got to apply to the port authority police and then have an a short interview with them and get passes for the car and yourself. The previous post looked at the site itself and framed it with respect to the book ‘Edgelands’ This post will look at some of the birds I’ve photographed at the site during a few recent visits.
Down to Labrador Bay (RSPB) for the Cirl Buntings on the way to Falmouth where my daughter is studying on the BA Press and Editorial photography course. Then up to Scotland with my mum and brothers for a long weekend to visit the loch where we scattered dad’s ashes.
A few days on the Solway during February to see the High Arctic archipelago Svalbard Barnacle Geese also bought some good sightings of Ban Owl, Whooper Swans, and the Yellowhammers feeding off the seed of the main paths at WWT Caerlaverock.
On a recent visit to Ogmore estuary I came across a Grey Phalarope, it’s the second time I’ve seen them at this spot. It’s a delight to come across such a delicate and confiding bird and then to spend two or three hours working with it.
It was one of the highest tides this year and being around 11.30am gave a good opportunity to get into the hide on this reserve, which is managed by the local council, a couple of hours before the tide was at its highest point and sit tight. The reserve has been partly created by the spoil produced when the Pen-y-Clip tunnel that takes the A55 was built.
On a recent brief trip up north, Barrow and Liverpool I managed a few short forays out with the camera. The images in this post were taken at Askam pier, about a hundred yards from where my brother lives.
You are always looking. If photography and the desire to respond to what’s around you is deep within, you never stop seeing. It’s also impossible to go anywhere without the means to photograph.