The wryneck is a bird I have wanted to see (and of course photograph) for years but which has always eluded me. Today I got lucky with one that has stayed in a small patch of ground near Brean Down in Somerset for nearly a week. The colouration of the wryneck is very elaborate browns, creams and greys in a marbled pattern giving it excellent camouflage. The long stripe down its back serves to accentuate it's almost snake-like bendiness when seen from behind. As for the 'wryneck' name, it ably demonstrated a wide range of uncomfortable looking neck postures. There were lots of anthills at the site and when on the ground, the bird spent a lot of time poking about and feeding in them rather like a green woodpecker might. Perhaps this shouldn't be too surprising as they are after all in the same bird family.
When the wryneck wasn't visible, lots of other small birds were happy to pose but the peregrine carrying prey overhead was a bit too quick for me as was the adult med gull spotted by James Packer.
I had perfect light this morning which is just as well as I'm having to use my 2x TC until a new 1.4x comes along to replace the one that has died. That means a minimum of F8 using it with my Canon 600mm f4 lens and I like to stop it down further to f11 if possible to increase the sharpness of the shots. Doing this in bad light means using very high ISOs to keep shutter speed up which inevitably has an impact on picture quality. As it was, I used a range of ISO from 800 to 2000 over the morning and evening sessions and was pleased with the performance of the setup and the quality of the shots bearing in mind that the bird was never less than about 50 feet away.
And now for some of the accompanying cast: