Brayford Wharf in February

Whilst I tend to go slightly further afield at the weekends, at lunch-times during the week I have to take pictures where I work. Most of the time (if I’m not working from one of my company’s other offices) this is Lincoln town centre. Fortunately the Lincoln office looks onto the Brayford pool and there is usually some wildlife in or around the pool most of the time.

After taking pictures over the last few weeks (posts here and here), the trick is to try and find something different to photograph or photograph in a different way. Whilst I am still learning some of the features of the camera, I am more comfortable using the camera and understanding how it works. The camera does have a couple of annoyances (usually called features by the manufacturer) that I can work around, the most annoying is when you remove a memory card, the camera automatically switches to the other one in the camera. I prefer to use the compact-flash (CF) card as it can transfers the pictures form the cameras buffer much faster than the SD card does (even though the SD card is rated at 95MBs and the CF card only 60MBs). So sometimes when I forget this I am left wondering why it is taking longer to write the images to the card from the buffer – Canon really need to fix this!

So whilst I took some photos of the usual subjects my keeper rate for the BIF has increased a little although this is helped by the extra focal length the 100-300mm affords me. The only down side is that I have some camera shake in some of the photographs as there is no Image Stabilisation (IS).

One of the most prominent birds that is around all of the year are the Mute swans, they also are known for breeding in the area too. Although last year was literally a wash out for a fair number of eggs and cygnets did notice a reasonable number of young swans towards the latter half of the year, most of these have lost nearly all of their grey feathers and although won’t breed this year will next year. The swans are quite used to people around the Brayford and will usually swim near you if you at the side of the pool just in case you have some food for them:


In the not seen before category I did notice this odd couple. It may just be that they were swimming together but here we have a Greylag goose and a Canada goose. I have seen some young cross-breeds in the past around Hartsholme Park but not their parents:


They did seem to be attached to each other, if I had to guess I think that the Canada goose is the male as seemed to be looking around more than the Greylag . I think that this is an instinctive male attitude (making sure no other males were around). In fact this pair were the only geese in the Brayford on the day:


As usual for this time of year, the Black-headed gulls are the most common as they tend to come in-land during the colder months and are less common in the warmer months of late Spring and Summer. The 300mm length allowed me to capture this one (no cropping required):


I did notice that the day was colder than it has been so the flight times for the birds were quite low and with one exception (more about that later) they did not fly around much so practicing my BIF technique was limited on the day. The best shot was of this Black–headed gull in flight, it is a little soft at 100% but it is nice that I didn’t crop the photo – more practice needed though:


As stated earlier there was one moment where almost every black-headed gull decided to spend a few seconds in the air. Something must have spooked them, I did wonder where they came from as one second there was just a few here and there and then the sky was full of them:


The location of where they were was revealed when they landed:


The roof of the Wagamama restaurant that juts out into the pool was where they came from and landed. The flat roof probably has felt on it that warms up under the small amount of sun we have at this time of year.

As it was very cold and I had forgotten my gloves I decided to walk back to the office but I don’t put the camera away until I get back; I have missed a few shots before by putting the camera away too early. Half-way down the North side of the pool, there is an observation deck of sorts and occasionally I have seen various birds there. There was a Moorhen there having a look around, they are very timid, I tired to approach from the opposite side but this was enough to spook the bird which took to flight across the pool. I managed to get a few shots and most of them were not great and are technically “butt-shots” but this photo does show the web-clawed feet and the eye is in focus:


I enjoyed the 20 to 30 minutes I spent around the pool at lunchtime and occasionally you can see something different and if you are lucky you can record this as a photograph. I count myself luck for working in the area where so much is going on and this is going to get better in the coming months when the wildlife starts to breed.