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  • Writer's picturePeter Howarth

A Chance Encounter

Updated: May 13, 2020

With Covid-19 lock down in full swing I have been forced to keep my adventures closer to home. It sadly took me a few weeks to appreciate the abundance of wildlife located on my doorstep. During my three week furlough period I didn't pick up my camera once. Thankfully this has now changed and I am enjoying photography and being outside again.

The other day on the way home from work I noticed a large amount of flying insects swarming over the river near my house. This got me thinking of the Grey Wagtails I saw last year feeding during a similar event. As soon as I got home I grabbed my gear and set off, 3 minutes later I was there and to my surprise so were they. I set up my camera and waited.

As I sat I noticed a pair of Oyster Catchers land on the island in the middle of the river. The Wagtails were keeping there distance so I turned my attention to the Oyster Catchers. Sadly when I moved to take some pictures they flew off. This commotion revealed a pair of Dippers perched across the river. I had never managed to get close to a Dipper and yet there were now two less than 10 metres away from me. I lifted my camera (still attached to my tripod) and took a few quick photos. Upon review I realized this pair of Dippers was an adult and a juvenile, I watched as the parent fed the young bird before they both flew off.

D7500 Sigma 150-600c 1/800 sec at f/8.0, ISO 1600

I stood in shock for a while longer before deciding I would try and approach the Wagtails again that I could now see down stream. Slipping and sliding my way down the bank I noticed the Wagtails never got any closer, every time I took a step forward; so did they. Deciding this was a fruitless task I turned round and headed home. As I did so, I slipped on an algae covered rock nearly dropping my camera into the water. With a few quick steps I managed to avoid disaster and as chance would have it I was now face to face with the juvenile Dipper I saw earlier. I squatted down and started taking photos. An hour or so went by with me enthralled by this young bird before the heavens finally opened and it chose to fly off.

This chance encounter reminded my why I enjoy being outside surrounded by nature and my camera hasn't left my side since.

D7500 Sigma 150-600c 1/1000 sec at f/8.0, ISO 1400

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