A visit to my most local speciality wildlife photography hides - a fabulous place for any budding photographer to get some great shots.
I live just outside Stratford upon Avon and my nearest speciality photography hides set up is on the Warwickshire / Worcestershire border near Droitwich.
This is a great place to get close up views of truly wild Kestrels, Little Owls and sometimes ... the elusive Kingfisher.
I've spent many happy hours in Darren's hides, watching the reliable Kestrel family and the charismatic Little Owls, successfully raise their young, aided by the supplementary feeding programme that doesn't replace their wild diet, but does mean that they are the healthiest looking birds you're ever likely to see - smart creatures!
There are 3 main hides that allow great views of all 3 species doing there stuff, so close that even the most inexperienced of wildlife photographers couldn't fail to capture great images!
The Kestrel family have been visiting this hide for many years now. Set up on the edge of a farm, looking out onto open fields, successive generations of birds have benefited from the presence of visiting photographers and the fresh supply of mice, used to tempt them to visit.
As a first step into wildlife photography - this hide would be my top recommendation. My 'Book online' page allows aspiring photographers to book 1-2-1 support if you want to get off to a flier and amaze yourself at what's possible in wildlife photography.
On this visit (and much to Darren's disgust - haha), the Little Owl decided to abandon 'his' hide underneath the old Oak tree where it nests, to steal food from the nearby Kestrel Hide, giving us double value for money. He even entertained us with a visit to some of the old farmyard junk, providing opportunities for a slightly different type of shot.
I thought I'd try a B&W image for the shot below, leaving his eye in colour to accentuate the owl's concentration on his landing area. Works quite well I think?
The handsome male Kestrel is always a welcome sight and I never tire of watching him patrol the perch, sometimes having to compete with his mate (ready to ambush in the shot below) and youngsters (bottom pic) to secure a free meal!
What a day - and although the shot of a Kingy at the top of the post is from another day (I missed out on the Kingy on this visit), I hope you get a sense of what a great place this can be for the wildlife photographer - don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like me to arrange a day with me at this super venue!