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Wildlife self-challenge

15 Mar 2010 10:00PM
OK heres the deal. I have a Canon 100-400L that I have rarely used (teamed with an EOS 40D). I have set myself a personal challenge to take 3 top-notch wildlife photos in the next 12 months of the more hard to shoot British wildlife (ie not robins and rabbits). Problem? Whilst I love wildlife I have never really tried to photograph it (hence the challenge) but, from seeing some of the photos some of you have taken, there are clearly 'togs out there with the skills and experience. So I am looking for any advice you care to offer in terms of additional kit (note theres not much spare cash available for hides, camo clothing etc), locations (I'm based in South Warwickshire) or good subjects to start out with.

Thanks in advance
KBan 15 512 4 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2010 10:35PM
What about a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Heron.

15 Mar 2010 11:00PM
Thanks Keith, nothing like setting the bar high! I had thought about a heron as I cant seem to get within about 100 yds of them when I try to stalk them. Also thought about a kingfisher though I'll have to spend some time trying to find one locally. I don't want to make it all birds though and was thinking about fox or deer as well.
KBan 15 512 4 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2010 11:03PM
Ok then a fox or a badger thrown in

LensYews 12 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2010 12:32AM
Here's a link to the Warwickshire Wildlife trust's nature reserves. Here is the link to the Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire wildlife trust reserves.

BBOWT also have some wildlife photography courses , useful not only for the skills but getting access to local knowledge. You'll have more success visiting the same location several times and becoming familar with it, and what lives there, and what their patterns are.

As for equipment I would go for reserves with public hides to start with, and perhaps a bean bag.
csurry 19 9.2k 92
16 Mar 2010 6:43AM
Warwickshire - for a Kingfisher get yourself off to Brandon Marsh in a few weeks time. You have to wait until they let the water levels fall a bit. Not guaranteed, but a fairly regular visitor. You need to head to the far Carlton hide.
16 Mar 2010 6:54AM
Thanks for the links Lensyews. I'll pursue the BBOWT course and Cheryl thanks for the local knowledge (ps I loved the golden eagle shot!)
kevspiers 14 67
19 Mar 2010 9:16AM
Also Slimbridge is a good day out for practice/trying settings etc for your 3 killer shots
User_Removed 13 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 9:41AM
Get out early in the morning. Most wildlife is packing itself off to thier beds when humans are getting out of thiers.
Chrism8 14 971 28 England
19 Mar 2010 9:54AM
Slimbridge is a good bet for Kingfishers, they'll be nesting soon and almost guaranteed to be seen between mid April and end of May, providing you wait a while, aim for the Kingfisher hide ( strange that !! ) but be prepared to wait for a space or get there early.

meercat 12 278 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 10:24AM
As a tip, kingfishers are birds of habit, either find a spot where they are seen regularly or set your own up in an area they frequent.

A useful tip I saw once was to set your own perches ready for kingfishers and use some groundbait below the perch to attract small fish, this will then entice the birds. But be warned kingfishers spook easily so use a hide of some kind.
19 Mar 2010 10:38AM
Great idea Meercat. Thanks for the info. I read today in the news that the severe winter may have badly damaged the numbers of kingfishers this year so getting a good shot of one might be more challenging than ever.
Robin_TB 11 204 9 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 11:28AM
Depending on how far you want to travel, Rutland Water is about an hour and a bit away. Time it right to get Ospreys but in my experience it seems to be 'right time, right place' to get the best pics (hence my lack of them!). Lots of other waterfowl, including herons, to get shots of.

I second the Brandon Marsh recommendation, I used to go bird spotting there as a kid and its a great location. Plenty of birdlife and good hides. I also saw several pike just sitting in pools close to the paths. Not sure how easy fish photography from above is but I suspect a polarising filter would help Smile.
19 Mar 2010 12:14PM
thanks Robin-didn't know I was that close to Ospreys! Weather permitting I'm going to do a scouting trip to Brandon Marsh on Sunday.
danielwaters 13 93 4 United Kingdom
29 Mar 2010 4:12PM
I have about 50 good wildlife spotting/photography locations listed on my website so hopefully some of them will help. Here's a couple of suggestions though...

How about Gigrin Farm for the Red Kites. Bit of a trek but well worth it. There's also the seals at Donna Nook, but you'll have to wait until December for them. Bradgate Park in Leicestershire is great for deer apparently, but I've not been.

The Ospreys at Rutland are great but the hides are far away, so you have to hope one flies over or book some time on the boat trip, which is also hit and miss.

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