The chances of having the wrong lens on your camera is directly proportional to the number of lenses you own. This well-known dictum is one that every photographer learns as soon as they buy their second lens. Hence the popularity of zoom lenses (and thankfully they are of good quality these days). First though, you need to have your camera with you – and make sure that it is to hand. What you can almost guarantee is that if you leave your main bird photography lens at home and then leave your camera securely tucked away in the boot of your car, something special will happen.
It was bright and cold as my wife and I went out for the day. I didn’t set off with the intention of taking photographs, but I thought that I’d throw my camera in the car boot ‘just in case’. On arrival we had parked up and set off to stretch our legs a little. “Waxwings” she said, “I can hear waxwings”. Sure enough, looking up into some nearby trees we spotted a small flock of waxwings feasting on a crop of bright red berries. We had never seen them this close before, or had such a good view.
What do I do now? Rush off for my camera perhaps, only to find that the waxwings have moved on before I return, or stay a while and enjoy the viewing. It was a day out for both of us, so I chose the latter. After watching them for a short while I realised that although the waxwings were moving around, they weren’t moving far. So I reverted to Plan B and went for my camera.
They were still there when I got back. 300mm was the longest focal length lens that I had with me, so I had to make do with a wider field of view than I would have liked, but I was pleased just to be able to take some pictures of these lovely little birds. As you can see, the pictures I took aren’t show-stoppers in any way, shape or form. But as the only photographs I have ever taken of waxwings, I was definitely going to keep a few of them at least.