Saturday 22 July 2023

Somerset Wildlife Hides - 5 July 2023

This was my first visit to Peter Spencer's raptor hide near Yeovil. This was somewhat further afield than my normal range and required an overnight stay the night before.  [Peter doesn't appear to have a website, but does maintain an active Facebook Group].

The key attraction of his raptor hide at this time of year is a family of  Kestrels that nests nearby. With the young having recently emerged, all were coming down to the perches. Hence there could be the amazing sight of up to about 4 of the 5 juveniles and one adult (usually the male)  present at the same time!

This hide faces NE and so with a sunny morning, the lighting was very difficult. However after a few hours it become more cloudy which helped. In the afternoon it stayed cloudy when I would have preferred some sun! Such are the vagaries of photography from a fixed location on a day booked months in advance. It least it wasn't pouring down with rain all day, as it had been doing the day before!  

This hide features a large range of perches, but many had rather close backgrounds which I prefer to avoid. There was however one post where the background was some distance away. The hide also had a reflection "table" very close to the hide but none of the birds went in it when I was there. 

There were frequent visits during the day, especially the morning, so I took a huge number of photos. 

I show a few of them below (click on the captions for larger versions).

Also, there are more photo on my website, which can be found by going to this gallery:

Kestrel Gallery

For this shot, these two juveniles were on this post, and briefly were both looking in roughly the same direction towards me. 

Two juvenile Kestrel together © Stephen Burch

I never find flight shots easy with the restricted viewing at most hides and this was no exception, especially when using the rear screen all the time and not the EVF. However this one worked out although I'm not too sure about the background.

Kestrel in flight © Stephen Burch

For this shot, I tried the pre-capture facility on the R7 which worked for once: 

Incoming Kestrel © Stephen Burch

Below is a portrait of the fine male. A very well coloured bird:

Male Kestrel © Stephen Burch

I believe this is the female - about to depart:

Female Kestrel © Stephen Burch

One of juveniles calling to be fed, even though they could all do this themselves perfectly well!

Juvenile Kestrel © Stephen Burch

A juvenile on a different perch:

Juvenile Kestrel © Stephen Burch

A juvenile on the hedge in a bit of sun:

Juvenile Kestrel © Stephen Burch

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