Fuente Flamingos

I was recently provided with a wonderful opportunity to spend some time in Andalucia photographing some incredible water birds. Our base for the week was near Fuente about one hour north of Malaga. Despite an incredible amount of rain in the area this winter there were still plenty of amazing sights, and we had timed our visit to coincide with the spring migrant passage.
As my friends and workshop attendees will identify I like to use utilise the light during dawn and dusk. However, most I also love my bed! So it was with great delight that we found the sun rose at 8am, enabling both a lie in and the opportunity to photograph at dawn every day.
Most of my thoughts before the trip were how to get the flamingos in the sunset and sunrise and with the amazing light during our trip there were no shortage of wonderful opportunities. 
Imagine the scene – my first sunset at Fuente – WOW!
Fuente de Piedra Lagoons are nationally important for a range of wildfowl, but it is the Flamingo that really captures the imagination.
Firstly there are about 20000 of them during peak times! They are very obvious and can be heard as well as seen (and smelt) from quite some diatance
As the sun sets and rises pink shadows and shapes move across the sky and reflect in the water
It is during those golden hours that things get interesting.
It was with a heavy heart that we had to say goodbye to such incredible colours. This really is a special place and one I would thoroughly recommend visiting.
If there is enough interest we will run a workshop in 2011 to photograph these wonderful creatures. Please let us know if you are interested.
Not just Flamingos!
A Superb supporting cast, which we managed to get shots of when not looking at the Flamingos .
Cattle Egrets at Dawn
Crossbill feeding young. An intimate moment that delighted the group.
Red Rumped Swallows – everywhere, and great fun to photograph

(check out the fly in this shot!)

CornBuntings were much commoner now than they are in the UK.
Woodchat Shrikes were seen very frequently, and the odd one posed for us.
Talking of posers these Stonechats were superb show offs.
And an Orange Tip…
Thanks for looking – please feel free to comment in the guestbook

Spring came and went

March was an incredibly busy month. Establishing relationships with land owners, a busy schedule of workshops and spending the latter part of the month photographing at the lagoons in southern Andalucia (trip report to follow!).
We thought that Spring had finally arrived in the Highlands and the Red Grouse all popped up to say hello. Before the snow came back and all the roads were closed again! I shot most of these cracking males from a hide that I set up in the Heather to enable me to get down and dirty enough for some ‘nice backgrounds’. Refreshingly the gamekeeper is encouraged by the returning Hen Harriers. apparently they help disperse the Grouse and also remove some of the weaker birds. If only there were more considerate landowners.
They really are in fine fettle at this time of year and for once they seem to lose a bit of their fear factor and pose quite well. Then as we were getting used to the warmer temperatures and dismantling the Crested Tit feeding site the snow came and sent us right back to square one.
That’s okay though because we went off to Spain… to follow…