After the disappointment of the Pygmy Cormorant Hide, I and fellow photographers Jurgen and Jan were very much looking forward to today. The morning was to be spent in the Tower Hide, and the afternoon with Rollers in a nearby hide. An early start saw us trundling in the 4x4 over the grassy plain and through a series of large farms. Eventually we saw the hide in the distance, an impressive structure on stilts with the ubiquitous reflective windows. Entering via a steep ladder and trapdoor, the hide was large and comfortable, the only slight worry being large receptacles should the call of nature be unavoidable.....
It was brilliant. The hide has full length windows on the east and west sides, so is suitable for both mornings and afternoons. You can only one side at a time, and you cover the other side with either curtains or shutters. Each side of the hide there are a couple of Red-footed Falcon nest boxes, as well as a Roller nest box. The Falcons nest colonially, so there are more nest boxes on the sides of the tower. With so many birds the activity is more or less constant, so a wildly different experience to the previous day (Thank God!).
I've already posted quite a few images up, so won't do too many here, but it was superb in every respect. The hide is as good for Rollers as it is for the Falcons.
Lenses: A 500mm lens is ideal for portraits with a 1.3x crop body. A 400mm should be fine with a 1.6x body. A 300mm with any body should ensure you are far enough out to get two birds in the frame, or wing stretches. A 70-200 can also be used for the times when birds perch on the side of the hide.
Cameras: Any will work.
Other: A tripod is essential, but need not go to ground level as the windows are set about a metre off the floor. Bladder control would be an advantage.....