Prior to taking the above image I’d been taking regular hikes up Pendle Hill for a couple of weeks or so in hope of seeing and photographing Dotterel. Up to this point I’d drawn a blank every single time. Even though sightings were being reported elsewhere I was beginning to wonder if this year would be a non event.
On Sunday morning 26th April after a rare lie in and while still in bed I reached over to check my phone. No missed calls but an email alert was in my inbox. Three Dotterel reported on Pendle early that morning! Typical! In less than 1 hour I was up and walking along Pendle towards the usual area south of the trig point to where the birds were reported. As I was making my way I could see three people grouped together with cameras and binoculars – obviously the word had spread quickly! For anyone that doesn’t know, Dotterel are quite rare but can be seen during migration, the birds stop off on Pendle at this time of year.
Sometimes its easy to locate something as small as a bird, you find the observers/photographers and look which direction they’re looking in but at this point they weren’t looking in any particular direction which made me wonder if I’d missed my opportunity. Thankfully after walking a few more yards suddenly there they were – almost under my feet and barely giving me a second glance. I dropped down to the ground and crawled to a decent viewing point. The light was good and the sun behind me so after dialling in some camera settings it was a case of hoping the birds stayed pretty close by, which they did for most of the hour I was there.
In the hour I was there I took plenty of images although lots were binned. The long grass can make it difficult obtaining a clear view, especially when you’re belly down! Since that Sunday morning the birds didn’t stay around for too long. Last year I had four separate sessions with a group of five birds. Next year (given the chance) I’ll try and concentrate on group photo’s, maybe I’ll need a wide angle lens :o)