Thursday, 7 October 2010


Have spent the last week thinking about taking a trip down to Dorset with the aim of photographing the seemingly very obliging Glossy Ibis that is hanging out at Stanpit Marsh NR. Everyday in the run up to Wednesday i would check the recent sightings and every day without fail it was still there! So on Tuesday night when it was still being reported i packed up my stuff ready for an early start on Wednesday morning. The morning couldn't have gone any worse....the weather was horrible, grey, dreary with heavy rain, i was disheartened but the weather reports did say it was to improve by 1pm. The M25 was my next major problem as i was held up for over an hour longer than i should've been, really making the journey drag, even more disheartened!

But as i approached the New Forest the weather began to improve, i stopped off for a cooked breakfast and popped into a couple of decent places to photograph woodland birds just to check if the birds were back for the winter and then finally pushed on to Stanpit. My mood brightened as the Ibis was still repoted that morning on Birdguides and as i was 20 minutes away the sun snuck out from behind a cloud and everything was in place, and it never went away for the rest of the day! Here's my first view of the Glossy Ibis taken only metres away and kindly pointed out to me by a nice chap....unfortunately the nice warm morning glow was shining straight behind the bird but it did create this nice silouette...

I left the Ibis and waited for better light and so explored the rest of the reserve. It's a brilliant little place right in Christchurch Harbour and was pleasant to walk around. Saw plenty of Little Egrets and Swans as well as some wader species and gulls but my main focus was of course the Ibis. I relocated the bird feeding in a different spot but once again light wasn't helpful as this time the light was right over the top of the bird shining directly onto it but in a bad way. This meant all the photos were quite bright and it was a struggle to see the bird properly. A large group of noisey birdwatchers attempted to get close to the bird which is fine, but they did it in such a way that it was spooked and flew behind into another pool to feed, and out of reach of my camera. At this point i wasn't sure what to do so went back to my car to have lunch.

After having lunch i decided to leave and visit a few other places, i just didn't think i was going to get a better view of the Ibis and just had to make do with the photos i had. I began to drive away, got 5 minutes up the road and had a change of heart. I wasn't pleased with what i had and was determined to get better pictures, the evening light was nice and i knew that i may not have another opportunity to turned around and headed straight for the part of the reserve that it apparently favours in the afternoon (by the old rusty boat). I got there and it wasn't around, another couple were also scouring every bit of vegetation and also looked dissapointed...and then over our heads flew our Glossy Ibis and proceeded to land straight next to us and immediately began feeding!

We hardly needed to get any closer to the bird as it was already close and we didn't want to disturb it anyway, it then gave us 20 minutes of close up action as it fed frantically on crabs and other things only stopping for a quick strut or was great!

A lady with 2 large dogs walked by us and the dogs began to move towards the Ibis despite the owner trying to pull them back, it looked up and decided to take to the air which was dissapointing but gave me the opportunity for a quick flight shot which came out well! Overall the day was brilliant, it ended amazingly and i'll never forget it!

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