When I was a kid, back in the days when going out to explore and having adventures without the watchful eye of a parent was an option, I remember playing on the fringes of Purwell Ninesprings Nature Reserve. To me, it was just some strange marshlands where all sorts of mysterious creatures might reside, so when I spotted my very first kingfisher, I was in awe at this mystical magical bird.
I never saw one ever again until almost forty years later. After originally spotting it – fairly close to the area I had first witnessed its splendour – it took several days before I was lucky enough to look at it through the viewfinder of my camera. The moment was a mixture of euphoria and despair; initially focusing on the background instead of the bird, but fortunately it stayed on its perch long enough to lock on and fire off a generous burst of shots.
My vantage point was quite hidden and never once did it spot me or get spooked, even with 10 shots per second clicking off at high speed.
While I haven’t photographed every single species of bird or animal I’ve seen at the reserve, I do have quite an extensive collection. The woods that you can walk through is home to many birds as well, including the elusive goldcrests and treecreepers, and as you get closer to coots corner, you can see a variety of water birds, from little grebes to little egrets and the hard-to-miss but sometimes stealthy grey heron.
Summer was a challenging time, particularly when it came to photographing Reed Warblers. They have the most amazing sounds (audio clip below), and for the longest time I never caught glimpse of them, merely the rustling of the reeds towards the bottom. You also have the swaying reeds to battle against, so getting a shot can be very difficult.
[Audio recording of a reed warbler I made]
I was lucky enough to follow the young lives of these moorhen chicks, at least for a week or two. I loved their little bald heads and their featherless wings!
This Sedge Warbler was extremely difficult to photograph. Not only was it windy, the branch it was perched on was swaying back and forth – and several reeds in front of it were doing the same.
Buzzards are one of my favourite birds and they can often be spotted circling the reserve or the fields adjacent to it.
The UK’s smallest bird, the Goldcrest, is a difficult to photograph bird, not only due to its size but the fact that it seldom stays still.
Due to the deteriorating weather, I didn’t get out much. This is the last photo of the year, though I really like the autumn colours.
Looking at a flying Grey Heron through a telephoto lens is like glimpsing a prehistoric past of Pterodactyls.
I still don’t have a good closeup of a Treecreeper!
Here ends my re-visit to Purwell. Thanks for looking!