The month of May saw the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions start to ease, however I carried on exactly as I had done in March and April, working from home & only going out if I had to. In the evenings I carried on with my walks around my Somerset village with my camera. May sees the arrival of the Swifts, the true masters of the air. Every year sees me pointing my lens skywards, forlornly attempting to get a unique photo of a Swift, one that doesn't look like every other Swift photo ever taken!
There was one evening when I did get in my car and drive a little way. This was with the hope of seeing a rare Red Footed Falcon. I went with my other half Nick.
After parking, there was quite a long walk to get to the spot by a river where the Falcon had been seen, but it was a beautiful evening and every walk in countryside is special. I briefly saw a Cuckoo flying ahead of us but unfortunately failed to get a decent photo of it. When we got to the river we went over a little stone bridge, then followed the public footpath down to a sharp bend in the river, negotiating a field of cows, which I was very nervous about. (If you have read my '100 Birds' book you'll know why!)
Sadly, the Falcon didn't show, so I had to console myself with trying to photograph a group of Swifts that were swooping about left, right and centre. Swift by name, Swift by nature.
After an hour or so the light started fading and we made our way back to the car. I was very disappointed, not just because of the no-show by the Falcon, but also because I missed the Cuckoo and had to try and make do with yet more 'Swift in the sky' pics.
Funnily enough, going through the photos later, at least 2 of them were quite different from the norm.
I shared one of a Swift flying very low down against the grassy riverbank on my Twitter and Instagram, and it was very popular. Hannah Stitsfall messaged me asking if she could show it on her BBC Springwatch live show on Facebook, which I allowed of course.
The next day I shared the other pic, of a Swift coming straight at me, showing how thin the long wings are and how aerodynamic these special birds actually are! Lots of people commented that it looked like a Seal with wings, others said it looked like a Spitfire!
The photo was even more popular than the low flying Swift shot, definitely helped by Mr Springwatch himself, Chris Packham, retweeting it to his hundreds of thousands Twitter followers!
The pic has over 8000 'likes' on Twitter now, and of all my photos, only Super Tit has more!
I also gained well over 2000 new followers in the next 2 or 3 days, thanks to the popularity of that photo alone.
So what had initially been a disappointing evening trip out turned out to be very rewarding!
This perfectly sums up the beauty of nature and wildlife photography. It's unpredictable. It's exciting. Disappointments often lead to new opportunities! Just one of the many reasons I love it so!
The month also saw me photographing Rabbits more than I normally would. Laying on my stomach on wild land at the back of my village, I waited for the young Rabbits to appear from their burrows. They're definitely less shy than the adults, but would flee at the first sound or sign of movement. The click of my camera shutter had them freezing, ears pointed and alert to any possible threat.
The pics I got were also popular with my social media followers, and it was enjoyable to photograph something other than birds for a change.
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Here is a collection of all the pics taken in May, including plenty of juvenile birds that started emerging from nests.
^Above^ - Swifts
^Above^ - Whitethroats
^Above^ - Blackbirds.
^Above^ - Green Woodpeckers.
^Above^ -Woodpigeons (Juvenile in bottom pic)
^Above^ - House Sparrows.
^Above^ - Jackdaws.
^Above^ - Goldfinches (Juvenile in bottom pic).
^Above^ - House Martins.
^Above^ - Starlings.
^Above^ - Linnets.
^Above^ - Grey Heron.
^Above^ - Swallows.
^Above^ - Lesser Black Back Gull.
^Above^ - Young Herring Gull (I think!)
^Above^ - Robins.
^Above^ - Juvenile Robin.
^Above^ - Carrion Crows (With Jackdaws in bottom pic)
^Above^ - Adult and juvenile Greenfinches.
^Above^ - Great Spotted Woodpecker
^Above^ - Magpies.
^Above^ - Stock Dove.
^Above^ - Great Tits.
^Above^ - Tiny baby bird, possibly Robin.
^Above^ - Chiffchaffs.
^Above^ - Collared Doves.
^Above^ - Mallards at sunset.
^Above^ - Red Kites (Flanked by 2 Buzzards in the top pic).
^Above^ - Blue Tits.
^Above^ - Dunnocks, plus juveniles in the bottom 2 pics)
^Above^ - Female Blackcap.
^Above^ - Wren.
^Above^ - Buzzards, being mobbed by a Carrion Crow in the bottom 4 pics.
^Above^ - Sparrowhawks. Carrying a Starling it had just caught and mobbed by a Carrion Crow in the 2nd bottom pic and a by a Swallow in the bottom pic.
^Above^ - Male Chaffinches.
^Above^ - Reed Bunting.
^Above^ - Marsh Harrier.
^Above^ - Adult and juvenile Long Tailed Tits.
^Above^ - Song Thrushes.
^Above^ - Rooks.
^Above^ - Curlews.
^Above^ - Distant Hare.
^Above^ - Rabbits.
^Above^ - Mayfly.
^Above^ - Wasp.
^Above^ - Charm, our Flat Coated Retriever.
^Above^ - Calf and Cow.
^Above^ - Sheep....stuck on its back in the top 4, luckily it got back onto its feet again.
^Above^ - Village scenes.