Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Habitualised Kite.

Gigrin Farm, near Rhayader, what a place.

Bird watchers the country over and Photographers too should have heard of this place. If you haven't then please Google it and go visit it.

What is it? The short answer is it's a feeding station on a grand scale predominantly for Red Kite. Red Kite that have been part of the re-introduction programme for Wales.

From a wildlife photographers perspective is it pukker? The arguments will continue long into the future. These are Captive bred Kite that have been released and have succesfully raised their own young, those young are surely wild. There are obviously a large number of Kite that come to feed daily that are tagged, the reasons for this are self explanatary. There are others that have no tags and one presumes these are the first, second or whatever generation of kite bred from the released originals.

As a spectacle and photographic experience, it should not be missed. If the purists don't want to publish pictures onto their sites because the birds may not be truly wild then thats fine by me. However I defy any wildlife photographer to deny that it is an opportunity to enhance your skill and test your kit to the limit.

I've said before and will continue to do so I am no expert. I am a novice at both photography and wildlife watching. But I learnt a lot from taking part in the experience. Dave Slater went with me and gave me some pointers, things I would never have even thought about, things as simple as checking the settings on my camera regularly to match the changing light. I know you long standing photographers will say "thats basic" but it's the basics i've got to get right. I could hear Dave giggling next to me as I continually cursed myself for taking a shot too soon or too late or not at all. His giggles got louder as I prayed to the big being upstairs that a shot was sharp. The first feeding session of the kite was manic, birds twisted, turned, plunged, swooped, and soared all around us. It was impossible to pick one to shoot. Dave would say "Watch one bird, follow it and snap". Impossible I thought. The birds crossed over each other followed each other and quickly became blurred into one mass of talon and feather. I was knackered, and prayed for a break and surprisingly when it came it was total. It seemed as if someone had flicked a switch. Everything was still, the crows were back in the trees and on the posts around the field, the kite were in the trees too, nothing moved. The pattern repeated itself three times, each time becoming slightly less manic. Below are shots that i've sorted so far. They are not brilliant but believe me I worked hard for them.

I've been advised that when you click on an image and a new page opens that if you click on the "x" to return to the original page it doesn't . PLEASE CLICK ON THE RETURN ARROW until i sort it out. Thanks

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