Thursday, 17 July 2014

Terning Circles

Oh flippin' 'eck this has been coming. These last few months have been pretty horrible (workwise that is, though the weather's been lovely i'm told), but that's not to say I haven't taken all that many photos. I've got a few posts worth I think, but with my editing backlog the size of a small mountain it'll take me a while to get through it all. Still, here I am, and here's a very recent post of images from Anglesey.

I've spent an awful lot of time on Anglesey, i've got family there and there's a great trainline out to the Isle of Shadow (Ynys Mon). So when there's a free few days I often find myself over that way. And so the other day I found myself on the Virgin service through to Holyhead in hope of catching up with the Peregrines up on South Stack cliffs. I was about a week late for them, so perhaps unsurprisingly I couldn't get any decent shots off, though saw the young bird on numerous occasions.

So I went to photograph something altogether more common, as I am want to do in such scenarios. Theis is what I call the 'bird in the hand' scenario; there's no point chasing hypothetical peregrines about when there are perfectly good subjects at hand to work with. The light was pretty dire and the wind was blowing an absolute gale, but Stonechats can always be relied on to perch openly.

I located a group of newly fledged youngsters in the bracken below the path, positioning myself above them so as to catch the adults coming in. I should add, before getting into any shots, that I am using my brand new Canon 400mm prime, which is a stunning beast. This may expain any improvement in quality. First the female...

South Stack 1213_2

South Stack 1012_2

...and her mate...

South Stack 1234_2

South Stack 1085_2

Further off the path the Stonechats soon learned I wasn't prepared to go, so sat happily there and surveyed their young...

South Stack 1161_2

And with the shots in the bag I headed home for the night.

Next day was Cemlyn day, somewhere I've never actually visited in decent light. This trend showed no sign of changing, and the slate grey skies mirrored the colour of the tern wings. This made exposures something of a nightmare...

Cemlyn Bay 571_2

Nothing for it, I was just gonna have to shoot below the skyline where the exposure wasn't such an issue. There are primarily three tern species at Cemlyn (aside the Roseate, who's existence I refuse to acknowledge until it obliges me with a photo); the Sandwich, the Common and the Arctic Terns. Sandwich is biggest and also the commonest here...

Cemlyn Bay 1141_3

Still can't decide whether to crop this some more, I quite like it as a headshot. But I digress, the next species is Common Tern, with orange beak and feet. It's a little less numerous but still if I came away without having photographed one i'd be disappointed...

Cemlyn Bay 333_2

Cemlyn Bay 1040_2

Last of the Terns (and i'm not sure they breed here, if they do it's as an offshoot of the colony on the Skerries) is the Arctic Tern. The longest migration of any animal, it's no surprise these two were just loafing on the beach (non-breeders, I assume)...

Cemlyn Bay 903_2

Cemlyn Bay 863_2

A bonus was this Oystercatcher, the new prime lens nailing every single shot of it against the busy background. It's quite a piece of kit...!

Cemlyn Bay 1128_2

Anyhow it was a lovely few days, and hopefully over the next few months i'll get some of my other shots up for your entertainment and appraisal.

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