It’s strange what sticks in your mind. Years ago now, I read a magazine article about a photographer who had staked out a small woodland pool that he had built and photographed whatever came along. Ever since then it’s been an idea that occasionally claws its way up from the dark recesses of my mind and spurs me on to have a go. But to be truthful, my meagre efforts have never been very successful.
However, if past failures stopped me from tying again, I would never get past the first hurdle with anything. That’s my excuse to explain why I was once again staring across a small woodland pond and hoping for the best. Things were going remarkably well for me with the usual suspects dropping by and dipping in, blue tit, great tit, thrush etc.
Being a wearer of spectacles, my eyes are set back when I’m looking through a viewfinder, which means that even when looking forward I still have some peripheral vision. Because of this I spotted something out of the corner of my eye, movement. There it was again. At first I thought it was a chaffinch, but no. It was a hawfinch. A hawfinch! I’ve had never even seen one of these birds before, let alone photographed one.
I didn’t move a muscle as I waited and hoped that Mr. Hawfinch would come down in front of my camera. He did and landed straight in the pool with a bit of a splash. Despite an almost overwhelming urge to fire up my motordrive immediately, I heroically resisted. I’ve messed up before; a bird arrives, I spook it straight away and it disappears, never to return. This time I wait a few seconds (and you can believe me when I say that they felt like minutes) before carefully trying a single shot. He’s a cool customer and doesn’t lift off. I try a few more. There’s still no sign of undue nervousness. Now it’s game on!
My patience paid off. He came and went a few times, never staying for very long, but long enough for me to rattle off a few decent pictures each time. Later, Mrs. Hawfinch dropped in for a brief visit, shortly followed by Junior. Result!