Thursday, 12 April 2012

River Calder Wagtails

At least one pair of Grey Wagtails can be regularly seen feeding at the bottom of the weir, near Island View in Dewsbury. Getting close enough to photograph them meant a struggle through the undergrowth before setting up my tripod on the water's edge. Now all I had to do was wait for them to turn up!

My luck was in though and no sooner had sat down than one of a pair appeared right in front of me. It was  further away than I would have liked but I can't really complain.

It was feeding on the small creatures which were hidden in the nooks and crannies of the rock and was soon joined by its partner. Not that I've any idea how to tell male from female.

The second one to arrive had to be content with the more precarious side of the rock.

On the way back I saw a couple of Reed Buntings - or are they Sparrows?

This shot of a nesting Dunnock demonstrates the value of a good, sturdy tripod. It was taken with a 500mm lens + 1.4x tele-converter at a mere 1/80th second - (I think the general rule-of-thumb for hand-held shots is that you should have a shutter speed of at least the focal length of the lens, which would mean around 1/700th sec in this case). The tripod is a pain to carry around but there's no way I could have captured anything other than a blur without it.


  1. Nice shots of the Grey Wagtail, how similar the plumage colours are to the upper surface of the rock. I occasionally see one on the River Aire near Kirkstall, Leeds but haven't managed any decent pics yet.

  2. Thanks for you comments, KC. The grey 'camo' hadn't occurred to me before but I suppose the more they can blend in with the rocks from above the better.