I managed to pop out this week with the main aim to photograph Herons returning to their nest with material, these birds begin nesting early in the year and as I arrived on site I realised that most of the nests were pretty much constructed. The nests are re-used each year so any collection of material is mostly just a way to strengthen them reading for eggs to be laid.
My attention was quickly turned from flight shots of which can be a little dull and samey to the birds that were landing and collecting sticks on the ground. Ground level shots of the birds picking up sticks are not something I have seen much before so I couldn't resist having a go, the main bird that was collecting was also in full breeding plumage with its beak very brightly coloured, that was an added bonus!
The shots were not easy, the birds are gangly and so to make them look good is a challenge in itself, also at a site where they are very relaxed around people they seemed strangely nervous when collecting these sticks, approaching them each time they landed was not an option so it was a matter of lying down and waiting, as it was mainly one bird repairing one nest the time in-between visits was some time and with each passing minute I was aware that the park was getting busier with people that could potentially disturb the birds and the sun was getting harsher and would eventually move into the wrong place or disappear behind the predicted clouds.
As time went on the bird seemed to less concerned with nest repairs and soon it was not visiting at all, the number of pleasing shots in the ended wasn't many but I was pleased to capture this behaviour and it certainly was enjoyable watching these rather clumsy birds picking up anything from tiny twigs to huge branches that were clearly too big for them!