Farlington Marshes

For years I have been wanting to photograph the geese and starling winter migration. I had visions of my perfect shot: a really heavy frost, some patches of fog, the early orange sun glinting on ice and creating a glow through the fog, and finally a group of 4 to 8 geese taking off from a lake. I thought if I could get all those components together then I’d be onto a winner. I woke up at 6:30 am on the 6th of December,  I was worried I had left it too late in the year, that all the geese could have left by now. I think I was lucky because I woke up on the first proper cold morning of the year, which probably triggered the goose instinct pretty instantly. I had found a great website a few nights prior, which had a load of maps of small nature reserves around Hampshire, here I found out about Farlington Marshes,  which are located off the A27 in Portsmouth. We headed down to Portsmouth; although it was about -5, there was not much frost at the marshes, probably due to the fact the sea is warm and heats up the area. A small lesson learned on my part – if you want a frosty lake scene, keep away from the sea and head inland. Once we got there, I started wading in the mud in the main bay, to try and get close to some of the geese that were milling about there. I gave up when I almost lost both wellies in the mud, and we continued along into the proper nature reserve. As we were walking along the path, I spotted this goose walking along the mud, reflected in the rising tide. I had to climb down the sea wall and the rocks, and then crouch just above the water to get low enough for the reflection. image As I was taking this picture, I heard a loud swooshing noise; I looked up to see hundreds of starlings swoop just above my head, and I followed the pack, zooming in and out to capture varying amounts of the flock.wpid-dsc_7387.jpg wpid-dsc_7297.jpg wpid-dsc_7352.jpg wpid-dsc_7412-edit.jpg

Once I’d blasted off a load of frames, I turned back and focused my attention on the geese, waiting for a group of them to take off from the marshes. I had to shoot into the sun, which wasn’t great, but there’s not really another way to get a better angle as it’s all fenced off.

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Finally, as I walked around a bit more, I saw this egret motionless, seeming to watch the small ripples in the water. It was just catching the sun and had an orange glow.

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Jamie

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