Sunday, 28 June 2015

Great Snipe lek - photo time

Three days after guiding to the Great Snipe lek I was back on the first day of summer holiday and this time I was focused on digital capture of these great birds. Conditions could not have been different and the cold (5C) and cloudy conditions of Wednesday night had become warm (22C during the day) and a near cloudless sky. The warmer conditions brought out the mosquitos which had been completely absent on Wednesday but they were not too much of a nuisance. When I was walking up to the lek I heard a bird displaying already at 2218 and when I sat myself down there were a couple of birds singing about 50m from the lek. I thought this would mean serious activity would start early whilst there was still good light but it was not until after 2330 that regular display started on the lek and not until 0030 that there was constant action. There were a minimum of 6 displaying males but could easily have been 9 or more. There was also a calling Willow Grouse close by.

I chose to sit close to where the main action had been on Wednesday and although the initial action occurred away from me eventually I had birds less than 5 metres away. At this distance you would have thought I would have got great photos but it is so dark that autofocus doesn’t work and trying to get manual focus plus a fast enough shutter speed is not that easy. If I had invested another $10,000 in my equipment I may have got better shots though…


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