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Bye Bye 2023

We had planned to put quite a few hours in over the Christmas period, but a heavy head cold for Julia and dull weather curtailed some of the ideas. However I still managed to get out most days, mainly as I had hired a Canon R5 and RF 100-500mm f/4.5 - 7.1 for the Christmas / New Year and wanted to get my money's worth!!

My first outing with the R5 was to Shakerley Mere Country Park, a couple of minutes drive from home. The Country Park is centred on a lake which attracts limited numbers of wildfowl and plenty of Black-headed Gulls, so was OK to get to grips with the camera and lens. I made several short visits to Shakerley over the holiday, and must admit I was hooked with Birds in Flight usIng the eye-trackng mode.

Black-headed Gull, one of the first images from the R5. The eye-tracking is amazing.


Black-headed Gull - monochrome

It wouldn't be Christmas without a Robin!

With plenty of Waxwings around, we headed down to Stoke on 27th September to Fenton and managed to connect with 22 flighty Waxwings in the rain!!

Waxwing - poor record shot in the rain!

Thursday 28th December found us at the Wildlife Photography Hides base in Bourne, Lincolnshire at dawn for a day photographing Buzzards, Raven and Jay from one side of the hide with the R5 and 100-500mm, and using flash set for rear curtain Sync on small birds from the other side, using a 5D MK IV and Sigma 70-200m f/2.8. During the day we had at least four Buzzard regularly at the pheasant carcass, plus a couple of Raven. Jays also put in occasional appearances as did a Muntjac.

A few Buzzard shots


Inquisitive Muntjac

In between photographing the Buzzards, Raven and company, I concentrated on the small birds coming to the feeder at the rear of the hide. Rear Curtain Flash creates a different effect to my normal photography. The camera takes one image and another as the flash fires with the rear curtain.

Blue Tit slide show

Great Tit Slideshow

Greenfinch Slideshow

House Sparrow Slideshow

The last few days of the year where spent at two of my regular haunts. Burton Mere Wetlands on 30th December and Martin Mere on 31st December. Prior to arriving at Burton Mere, I made a slight detour to Upton near Meols on the Wirral where a small group of Waxwings had been reported - would have been rude not to.


Burton Mere provided good views of Black-tailed Godwit and Stonechat, again a chance to try out the R5.

Black-tailed Godwit


Martin Mere Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre is always a great place to practice birds in flight, as well as the feeding and bathing ducks, geese and swans. The feeders at the Janet Kear hide also proved productive with lots of small birds taking advantage of the seed available.

Birds on or over the Mere

From the feeders.

This brings 2023 to a close. Let's see what 2024 holds

Happy New Year

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