A group of photographers, all from ePHOTOzine gathered at Monkton Nature Reserve on Saturday 17th September hoping to get a few shots of a rare fungus. The arranged start time of 10.30am was agreeable to most and nine participants duly arrived, imbibed the coffee and set of around this small, enclosed reserved which had been booked exclusively for the day. The great advantage of this is that kit can be put down, wandered away from, and still be there when you return! A few piles worth several thousand pounds could be seen!
A couple of members, who had said they were coming but would be late arriving due to an opticians appointment, (some comments about founder members who need to see optician’s are not printable here!) telephoned to say they had been further delayed due to road works.
The group spread out around the reserve in an attempt to find the elusive fungus but only managed a few more common species and a number of dragonflies that were enjoying the welcome sunshine. After a couple of hours, lunch was taken in the picnic area adjacent to the Field Study Centre on the site and the conversation wandered, fairly directly, to the ‘new’ Kingfisher that had been found at Stodmarsh, an English Nature reserve which was only a couple of miles away.
The latecomers, having heard by a second telephone call, that the fungi were disappointing, had headed straight there and after lunch, the whole compliment headed in that direction.
The hike from the car park to the hide, along with differing driving speeds, (how did Clive get there so quickly?) meant that the arrival was spread over some ten minutes or so, excepting the two late comers who managed to get there first!
But even they had been beaten by a member who knew nothing of the going’s on that were happening and had settled himself in the hide at 9am that morning, hoping for a quiet day’s photography. Apologies should go then to Shane (Tigerman) for spoiling his peace and quiet!
This made wall to wall photographers in a hide that was designed to hold perhaps a couple less, and the occasional look in by birdwatchers resulted in mumbled comments that included ‘...come back later!’
Having been named the ‘Stodmarsh Pony’ in the forums by a certain moderator who made the comment and shall remain nameless, you can safely say that this was a stable full!
Occasional light rattles of shutter fire occurred when a cormorant performed an exercise of coming to the surface with a fish in it’s mouth and prompted memories of last years event when a kingfisher arrived and the sound of shutters was almost deafening. With the best part of a dozen cameras pointed at the now famous stick (this year there are in fact, two sticks, and it is a different hide but you get the idea) there was inevitably going to be a similar reaction if and when the same event happened again.
Three quarters of an hour were spent in jovial banter before the serious part of the afternoon got underway as the juvenile female bird made the first of three visits.
If anything, the expected cacophony of sound that erupted was even worse than anticipated, due in part to the increased frame rate of some more modern cameras!
After nearly two hours of sitting in the same spot (nobody was moving in case they lost their seat!) the ladies decided they would take a walk around the reserve while the call of the car park (which is flanked by a fine hostelry) got the better of a few others. By 4.15pm, the hide was once again deserted, left for those who were prepared to get there at silly hours!
Everyone who attended, even those that didn’t know they would be involved, proclaimed the get-together a great success.
Prize for the furthest travelled goes to Kev Lewis (klewis), although he was working in the county for the week, he stayed for the event and travelled home afterwards!
Kev’s prize for the furthest travelled is a high res file of this shot by Shaun Wakelen. ;-))
Photographers set out to explore the 16 acre Monkton Nature Reserve.
Sigma 120-300 EX on Canon 1D.
Searching for the elusive fungus. L-R Kev (klewis), Alison (AliP), Della (DellaW), and Tilly (TillyP).
Sigma 120-300 EX on a 1D. Members are always willing to share kit at these meetings and it is a good way to try something someone else has already purchased.
Alison (AliP) finds something small and interesting! (ShaunW with a Nikon D100)
The ‘stable full’ consisted of (R to L) Shaun Wakelen (ShaunW), Nick Armitt(Hobbs), Shane Worton (Tigerman), Della Wakelen (DellaW), Tilly Prince(TillyP), Alison Prince (AliP), Clive Burrow (Clive Burrow), Mike Taylor (Greyheron53), Terry Longley (TerryL), and standing back is Kev Lewis (klewis). Missing from the shot are myself (Hiding behind the camera again) (characterboats) and Shirley who had to leave for work at half time!
The Kingfisher provided three displays while we were there. Canon 400mm f/2.8 L IS courtesy of Canon UK and EFII 2x converter courtesy of Nick Armitt.