Blog 5 - Pagham Harbour with Adam.M


Firstly, my apologies in the rather large gap between this blog post and the last. I have been ill the last couple of weeks, adding to that the general "life" getting in the way and you have two of the more famous excuses for the well know but not yet published "book". Moving on...

Pagham harbour:

Surprisingly I believe this is my first blog post which contains photographs from a trip to my local nature reserve, the RSPB's Pagham Harbour to be precise. Admittedly my first blog post mentioned my encounter with the group of turnstones at Pagham beach. But the more observant among you will realise that the word "Harbour" and the word "beach" are not quite the same, which means that although these places are close to one another they are not the same place.

Adam.M is a very nice gentleman that I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago whilst at Arundel's wetland centre. Following a mildly competitive battle between us both to be the first to get a photograph of a Tufted Duck diving (in focus and sharp of course), which you can read about in one of my previous blogs, we met up again last week.

Our plan was to photograph reptiles at the top of Goodwood hill (famous for both the horse racing track and the festival of speed). Somewhat predictably the weather became cold and overcast just as we arrived at a spot well known for reptiles. This, has hopefully explained the lack of photographs so far in this blog due to reptiles being cold blooded and consequently not very active without the sun.  Sadly that void is not to be filled with photographs of reptiles enjoying the sunshine. Don't worry, that is soon to change.

Still with time on our side, even if the weather wasn't, we decided to go to where wildlife was guaranteed. Once we arrived we walked along a path called the wall (a large sea defence made up mainly of boulders to protect the fields one side of it). With an eye out for the usually numerous wadding birds such as curlew, godwit's and lapwings we stumbled across something I had not seen before.

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Macro photography is something that I have only just started to dabble in so forgive me if this is your area of expertise and I have made numerous elementary errors. I hope to improve this summer.

This little guy caught our eye, very small, very ornate and could even be described as hypnotic in its movements. Again, those more observant of you will have noticed that it was not alone, and that the bokeh (the out of focus areas in the background) shows the outlines of another caterpillar. This photograph actually shows only two of a very large group!

The photograph below was what caught my eye first in all honesty, it reminded me of a spiders nest, crawling with young, but I had never seen this with caterpillars before. Unfortunately I have not been able to identify the species, so if anybody knows please leave a comment to let me know.

Pagham Harbour with Adam.M (1 of 1).jpg

As always, whilst our cameras were set up for the intricacy and maddening processes that is macro photography in the wind, we were treated to a fly past by a large group of Godwits. Usually this would be an excellent photography opportunity, sadly it was a case of change the lens as quickly as you can and grap whatever photograph you can. I manged to come away with two images that were moderately interesting at best. Although, under the circumstances I was very happy indeed.

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Pagham Harbour with Adam.M (3 of 13).jpg

I will be honest with you. At this point in the day I was starting to write the trip off as being one of those days that make the good days feel as good as they do. With our spirits being dampened by the persistent wind, and Adam running out of time we headed back to the car park. Adam packed up and started to drive off, not before pointing out that there were a number of sparrows very close to the car that didn't seem bothered by us.

Delaying my packing up I attempted to photograph a couple, optimistically thinking that this would somehow become the gem that we all hope to come home with after a days photography.

Noticing that some were feeding on the ground of the car park I decided to lay flat in order to get level with the sparrow and give a much more interesting and intimate angle. Which rather predictably caused them all to take off and land out of sight. This in turn resulted in various passers by coming to the conclusion that I must have been missing the fact that the car park was far less biologically diverse and interesting than the adjacent nature reserve. However, whilst I lay optimistically on the car park floor I spotted out the corner of my eye a flash of colour dart behind the front wheel of the car I was laying beside. Having spent a lot of time with wildlife I came to the conclusion that as soon the mystery bird saw me it would give itself a fright and disappear.

It didn't. Instead this bold little Robin poked its head out from behind the wheel, took a steady look at me then at my lens, which must have been a little perplexing. After which it decided to investigate me further wandering around me, at some points being within 30cm of me. Eventually it paused at just the right distance for me to take the two photographs you see below which I was very happy with.

Pagham Harbour with Adam.M (11 of 13).jpg
Pagham Harbour with Adam.M (13 of 13).jpg

So, in conclusion, no matter how much you think you know about wildlife it will always surprise you. Also, it doesn't have to be a rare animal in a ridiculously hard to reach location to make a pleasing photograph. I actually plan to print the first of these two images because I was able to use a low Iso and I didn't have to crop in post processing. This will give me a very clean image which should look brilliant when printed big.

Next week I plan to go back to look for those reptiles, possibly adders and grass snakes but I cant be sure. Additionally I am hoping to photograph hare at some point. See you next week !