I’ve not done a lot of bird photography so I was reading a report about Horn Mill Trout Farm from Greg Coyne and thought I’d like to give it a try. I knew there’d be an early start but getting up at 3am for a 4am stroll down to the hide was rather alien to me – probably also some of the other guys with me – although it has to be said that they sounded as though they’d done a lot more bird photography than I have. Anyway, we set up in a well kitted out hide, comfy chairs, clean and well positioned almost at water level and waited for the action. Reports from Greg suggested that the first action could be as early as 5am because there are hungry mouths to feed in the Mr & Mrs Osprey nest. At 5.20 the osprey came to see us and sat in a tree nearby. It sat a while more then sat a while more and all of a sudden decided it was fishing time. It only came down the once whilst we were there despite all the praying and my technique needs some work so there’s only one image posted here.
We then got a visit from 3 kingfishers who didn’t fish at all. They just sat admiring the size of the trout but methinks they were possibly too large for them. Either that or they were already full. Then we had a visit from a red kite which came down a few times. It had possibly seen a dead fish at the far end of the lake but couldn’t quite get down as safely as it would have liked so in the end it gave it a miss. This gave me the greatest pleasure as I’d not even seen one this close up before so a really good experience. The final visit was from a kestrel who decided to sit on a pole a long way away.
I felt really sorry for one lad sat next to me – his lens was exhibiting some intermittent focussing problems whilst the osprey came down so he never got a shot off. He changed lenses and got the rest of the birds though. Thanks to Greg for refreshments and advice – thoroughly recommended experience.