Rocky and the Snipes

by Helen Hooker January. 12, 2019 484 views

The title of today’s post may sound like the name of a lesser known 1960s pop band, but it nicely reflects the photos I’ve taken today! I swapped my wide-angle architecture lens for a much longer one this morning and headed for Rainham Marshes, somewhere I’ve been longing to return to for months.

Mrs Rocky was rather shy, watching me inscrutably from nearby branches while her hubby shamelessly fed from my hand!

Mrs Rocky was rather shy, watching me inscrutably from nearby branches while her hubby shamelessly fed from my hand!

My first port of call was the old cordite store, where I hoped I might see Rocky, the resident tame robin. Sure enough, he was waiting right by the entrance to the store and he’d brought a friend along too! As soon as I dug out some mealworms, Rocky flew straight to my hand and tucked in, perching on the tips of my fingers. Mrs Rocky though (it seems a logical assumption they’re Mr and Mrs as January is robin courting season) was more reticent. She was happy to eat anything I put on the ground or on top of nearby posts, but it took a lot of time and patience before she plucked up the courage to fly to my hand, grab a mealworm and return to a nearby tree to eat. I probably spent half an hour with the happy couple before leaving them a small pile of mealworms and continuing on my way.

Husband and wife

Husband and wife

The light today was very flat and far from inspiring. This made catching in flight shots very difficult, but I had more luck with birds in the various pools. The lapwings looked lovely in this soft light, showing the subtle shades of green in their plumage.

When I reached the final hide a fellow photographer pointed out a large flock of Snipe on the edge an island. I’ve never had much luck with these beautiful birds before and, to be honest, I would probably never have spotted these ones without help as their camouflage is astonishingly good! I also photographed a couple of lone birds away from the island, one of whom was doggedly flapping in the opposite direction to everyone else!

It's very easy to miss the Snipe, even if you know they're there!

It's very easy to miss the Snipe, even if you know they're there!

Going against the flow....

Going against the flow....

As I walked the final stretch, back to the visitor centre, I became away of a garrulous conversation going on in nearby bushes. I realised I was surrounded by what must have been a hundred or more sparrows, but I couldn’t see them. Patiently waiting on the path, they eventually began to emerge into the branches, and I photographed one before it flew away to grab some grub from the nearby feeding station.

12 January 2019

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Stephen Penfold 2 years, 1 month ago

Winter, in my opinion, is a very underrated season for photography and bird watching, because the light can be magical, clear and illuminating  ... love your images and their great characters  ...

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Kay Hooker 2 years, 2 months ago

Love them all Helen, but Mr. & Mrs. Robin are my favourites.

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
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