Every now and again you get an amazingly confiding bird, a rare event but a complete privilege. Today was one of those days, and the Desert Wheatear at Abberton Reservoir in Essex performed magnificently for all comers. I'd been waiting all week to get out there, mainly as it was an Essex tick, but also knowing how confiding they can be sometimes. Saturday came and it hadn't done the Friday night bunk, so forsaking the patch I went straight there. Too many people, and many of them hanging back for some unknown reason - this often happens even with stupidly tame birds, people are so scared of being labelled as flushers, or even worse - photographers! - that they don't want to be seen to make the first step closer. In the event the bird made the decision for them, and for me, by approaching the crowd so closely that those with large telephotos could do nothing but watch it hop around within minimum focus. I had bins round my neck and never even used them - birding as it should be!
The light was OK (the sun even came out once or twice), the bird was ace and then some, the crowd knew they were onto a good thing and so stress-free, and over the course of an hour and a half I had a brilliant time. 657 shots taken, 190 retained in the first cut, 24 in the second. The best (or what I think are the best at any rate) are in the Thrushes and Chats gallery, and some of the rest are here. All were taken with the Canon 1D Mark IV and the 800mm f5.6 lens on the monopod - quite often at the absolute minimum focussing distance of six metres - I should have brought my extension tubes!