Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bird Photograph of the Year 2008

Perusing Mark Lewis's blog last night, and wassat... a Bluethroat at Girdleness. Mmmm... I fancy some of that. Funny but when I realised I was moving to Aberdeen a jaw-dropping 6 years ago, I thought Girdleness... Bluethroats... easy. But this is the first one I had chance to see in those 6 years, so 5.00 this morning, I was up and awaaaaAAAAYYYYY!!!!! Got to the Torry Battery and there was just one other car there, but not birders so I naturally assumed it was only a young couple enjoying the fruits of love. Nice, but I've got better things to point my nockies at. Did a clockwise circuit of the battery, nice and slow, bit of pishing, about 10 minutes, then from the NE side I heard the busy song of... a Bluethroat! coming from round the corner. Sidled gently round and there he was, at the top of a nasty scrubby Bramble. Remembird was up to the job, and I got some sort of recording and a sonogram.

For what it's worth, you can listen to it (just about) here. Quite a lot of wind on that that recording - mind I did eat an East India Chilli Chicken from the Bollywood Tandoori, Newtonhill's BEST Indian Restaurant last night, so it's only to be expected.

The birdy soon stopped singing and went down onto the path to feed in short grass. Now I had had a brilliant idea that rather than persisting to try photos with my phone, I could maybe use Diane's camera, umptididdly megapixels and all that. I neglected to try and work out how it works before I tried to use it. So I got it turned on OK, and tried a shot.

Argh! Where's the AF? C'mon camera. Press some buttons and see if it can do any better.

Oh, you beastly camera... why won't you focus???

I decided to leave that little problem solving exercise for another day, and settled down to give him a good grilling. Shortly after though, he did something that in my experience Bluethroats are very good at, walked behing a tiny twig of gorse and disappeared. I lost him and did another couple of circuits of the battery without bumping into him again.

45 minutes later and no further sign. I went back to the car in time to see the ferry coming in from Shetland, carrying a cargo of Shetland twithchers desperate to see Mark's Bluethroat.

Oh, I see you'll focus on that won't you? F***er!

Then the occupants of the other car got out, and it was an old couple (eugh!) but no... no naughtiness, he got his rather nice camera out and started taking photos of the ferry - they'd obviously been laying in wait for it. I'm not sure who's most nuts at 5 am... the overnight ferry-spotters, the swarms of golfers teeing off, or the birder looking for someone else's scarcity. A young couple having al fresco sex would have added a touch of sanity to the proceedings.


Marianne said...

Hey DocM. Lovely Bluethroat. I am in the process of building a collection of similarly... um... atmospheric bird photos. Good old AF.

Martin said...

Hi Mazza... *if* that's your real name... Yes, I personally regard my images as 20 years ahead of their time, and yours probably are too.