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Curlew or Vulture

By Hop-A-Long  
I have internet, for now at least. This is getting ridiculous, this is actually my forth attempt today to upload. You wouldn't believe I am still paying for this service.

I took a trip to Weardale and surrounding area for the day. My plan was to drive and when I saw something that interested me, stop and take some photographs of it.
I decided to stop at the side of the road to have some lunch and a bit of a break from driving. The weather wasn't to good as low cloud had come in and started covering the views.
During my break I this sound getting louder and then quieter, this went on for about 5 minutes. I had identified it as a Curlew call, but I couldn't locate where it was coming from, just that it was airborn. Eventually the cloud cleared for a short while and I spotted the bird flying around above the car. It was coming in close then flying away, but always in a circular route hence the change in volume of the call.
I soon realised that this display was aimed at me and the birds nest must have been close by. I didn't want to disturb the bird from her nest so I decided to move up the road a short way, before doing this I thought I would capture a shot or two of the bird in flight as I don't get to see to many of these great birds.
Best laid plans and all, my D300 didn't have the right lens on, so I started to change it. Isn't it amazing how when you are in a hurry your hands appear to become alot larger than they were before and you drop everything. Luckily as my 70-300mm fell from my hands it landed on my coat in the boot of the car, then I dropped the rear lens cap, then the front lens cap. I put my camera down for a minute, just in case.
Finally with the lens attached I took a few shots of the bird that was still circling above me.
After grabbing the shots I wanted I drove up the road about quarter of a mile, it was during this short journey that I felt like I was being watched, I was, the Curlew had followed me and was circling once more. It was beginning to get a little freaky, I was in the middle of nowhere and it was rather like having a Vulture circling overhead. Not that I've had many Vultures flying above me in the NorthEast of the UK, a few face to face in daily life maybe, but not the feathered variety, if you know what I mean.
Anyway, I thought to myself I must be well away from any nest that I was threatening so why is this bird still here?
I watched it for a while and I noticed there were these stone built shelters, I can't remember the correct name for them, but they are for sheep and shepherds caught in storms on the moor to shelter in. The bird landed on one and I quickly grabbed my camera again to get some more shots of it. After about 20 minutes it took off and flew in the direction I had come from and that was the encounter with the bird over.
I can only imagine it had followed me and watched me for a while to insure that I was no longer a threat to its nest, either that or it was actually a Vulture in disguise and it finally got fed up of waiting for me for its lunch.

Note: Thanks Bill woolybill1 for the correct name and use of the intriguing stone shelters in my photos.
Shooting Butts, I wouldn't fancy driving up the road that runs next to them when someone is shooting a shotgun. It would probably make you jump and vere off road, knowing my luck it would me anyway.

I hope you like the upload and versions, any comments as always are welcome.

Tags: Bird Feather Nest Vulture Circle Inflight Curlew Landed Wildlife and nature

Voters: ValSaxby, mrswoolybill, nonur and 21 more

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saeidNL 8 3 Netherlands
13 Mar 2012 9:13PM
Three nicely and great capture.very well done,

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cheesey 12 2 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 9:20PM
Great set Andy, V1 for me, nicely captured.
taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
13 Mar 2012 9:33PM
I do not know which is better, the stone huts or the bird in flight-- but I do know which was a harder image to capture--- Spectacular work!
woolybill1 Plus
11 23 72 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 9:33PM
As far as I know the stone shelters are shooting butts - enough to spook any wild bird I imagine, even out of season, and even spookier for the poor beaters who drive the birds towards the guns. Perhaps the curlew was spooked by the length of the 70-300?
I'd go for V1 myself - the shape is perfect to my strictly non-ornotholgical mind.
pluckyfilly 11 351 33 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 9:45PM
good set but V3 needs a lot less sky to make it a far better picture
AnneWorner 10 620 43 United States
13 Mar 2012 9:57PM
Love the minimalism of v1 and the detail is superb! A wonderful experience for you Smile

ssnowyc 10 4 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 10:24PM
Took me ages to read all that, very good shot
morpheus1955 11 3 2 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 11:58PM
Three super images, or me it has to be V1, I just love the simplicity Smile

mikbee 11 3 8 Scotland
14 Mar 2012 12:06AM
Think V1 is rather superb with just the bird in flight Andy !!
Good set of shots.
AnnChown Plus
8 207 1 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 8:37AM
What an amazing encounter and experience. Thanks for sharing it - and your great images; v1 is my fav with that beautiful beak showing off to its best!
jaktis 14 84 Sweden
14 Mar 2012 6:51PM
Great details in the bird and your write up

Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
16 Mar 2012 9:13PM
An excellent inflight capture Andy and a most entertaining write up to accompany it as always. My Uncle Adie epzer "Tomcat" will feel your pain regarding internet service providers, AOL are finally getting the heave ho and are being booted into touch tomorrow!

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