Recently I spent four days in the Dumfries area of Scotland photographing a range of wild birds from some purpose built hides owned by Alan McFadyen.  To see the blogs for the 1st day click here and for the 2nd day here.

The third day was spent at a hide in a woodland clearing close to the reflection pool of the previous day that has been built alongside a feeding station for the small woodland birds.  The birds are well fed which encourages them to the area in deed there were many Jays present, gulping down the free nuts and squabbling constantly which kept us interested. The previous day the female juvenile Sparrowhawk had been giving the Jays a hard time early in the morning but she was a bit quieter this day, she still made 4-5 visits to the area though. The female is easily distinguishable from the male by having much less of a ruddy-brown chest – it is much more muted in colour and she chased a few Jays around, pausing in between sorties to catch her breath back. The action shots were difficult due to the early morning low light levels but this was enough to grab some shots of her on a dead tree. The Greater Spotted Woodpecker made many visits to a tree to the right of us, sometimes both a male and female were there together. The action highlight of the day was when one of the Woodpeckers was attacked by the male Sparrowhawk which narrowly missed in the ambush. As the hawk recovered on a nearby tree a Buzzard descended from high in the surrounding woodland and almost took-out the hawk, what a waste that would have been but no doubt it would have certainly been a spectacle. As both attacks were unexpected (by me) I didn’t get a worthwhile shot of the events, just a blur of wings and feathers that are unrecognisable – there are times when the long lens is just too much!

The three main performers of the day spent several hours with us in various states of inactivity interspersed with bursts of action, all providing for a great day’s photography. Culling the images back on the PC was difficult; I had to throw away so many quality shots that I had taken as there were too many to keep and many were in similar areas and/or poses.

Shown below are a few of the images captured on the day, all taken using a Canon EOS 7D2 and 100-400L v2 lens.

Sparrowhawk, Female

Sparrowhawk (male)