Rain, rain, go away

I headed off to Mai Po this morning and knew the forecast was not too good. It was dry when I arrived and the tide was a long way out. We set ourselves up for the wait happy that we had a seat for the show. That turned out to be the only good thing we did as the hide was overflowing with people. Many seemed put out that they were late for the hide seats. There was constant chatter behind us. Add to this two illegal mudskipper collectors  out on the mudflats and the onset of very dark clouds and torrential rain and the result was a very disappointing session. I took hundreds of frames trying different apertures, shutter speeds, ISO settings, all to no avail. You can’t make a silk ear out of a sow’s purse.

What we did see was a small group of seven Asian Dowitchers Limnodromus semipalmatus. This is a migrant through HK, much more common in Spring than Autumn. Still, seven in a group was good. It is regarded as a HK speciality alongside Black-faced spoonbill, Spoonbill Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank.

Here are a few shots of the Dowitchers.Asian-Dowitchers Dowitcher-pair Single-dowitcherThere was also an acceptable shot of a Turnstone.Turnstone A  Curlew sandpiper just about passed muster in the gloom:Curlew-sandpiperAnd to show just how wet it was, even the Bar-tailed godwits looked fed up.Barwit-rainAnd in sheer boredom I played with some distant terns. The first shot is monochrome – your eyes are not playing tricks.Terns-BW TernsI did take one shot in the dry. Here it is. Taken in the car park in murky light. And with this White-shouldered Starling I too will say “merci” and au revoir. Wish me better  luck with the light next time.White-shouldered-starling






13 thoughts on “Rain, rain, go away

  1. I agree with Steve, the rainy, gray weather makes these shots more interesting. I’m especially partial to your “Bar-tailed godwits” looking “fed up.” Indeed, he (she?) truly does!

    It is always far more of a challenge to shoot in such soft light. Go you.

    • Wow! Thanks so much for the encouragement. Soft light is certainly better than harsh contrasty light for me but you just work with what you get. Yesterday I got wet!

    • Thanks Phil. Someone has suggested levelling the horizon behind the godwit which I agree would improve the image. But generally it was a decent atmospheric shot. Worth getting wet for.

  2. I would have to agree with the top comment, the weather may have been really bad but you made a good job of it. Like the shot of the Turnstone and the monochrome shot.

    • Thank you Ben. Monochrome for natural history is much under rated in my view. Sometimes I look at Eric Hosking’s work. When you think what equipment he would have worked with and in black & white it reminds you of how good these guys were in their fieldcraft and technique. I want to do more monochrome nature images.

  3. Personally, I like ’em just as they are. The web is filled with tons of sunny shots of beautiful birds. It is a breath of fresh air ….I know, only figuratively speaking…to see “bravissimo” images from “crapissimo” weather. The fact that they are still quite nice says a lot about the photographer. 🙂

  4. Despite the crapola weather Andrew, you did remarkably well. I’d be pretty pleased with these if they were mine 😀 It’s wonderful to see all the different birds you have near to where you live. I’ve lived in Indonesia for 18 months and am saddened by how few birds I’ve seen.
    I’m sure there must be lots of varieties out there somewhere but they are alluding me at the moment. Even in Bali I’ve only seen about 5 varieties- I was expecting to see 100’s! I want a refund!!
    All the pretty and interesting ones are locked up in cages which is very sad.

    If it’s any consolation it’s been rainy here also but I did manage to venture out to a stunning temple this afternoon and fortunately the rain held off for that.

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