Gunknowe Loch, Tweedbank
Gunknowe Loch is a small, man-made loch that was created in the 1970s, at the same time as the village of Tweedbank was built. It is home to a variety of wildfowl - Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Coots, Moorhens and so on - and is a fantastic place to practice some different techniques.
A couple of weeks ago I visited the loch with my wide angled lens, the idea being to get some ground level, wide angled shots of the ducks etc. The camera was set up on a small tripod and triggered with a remote shutter cable.
Some food was scattered on the ground and I waited for the birds to appear. I managed a few shots before one of the Mute Swans decided to investigate this strange person sitting on the ground with a camera. If you've ever had one of these giant birds towering over you then you know it's best to move pretty quickly!
(As a side note here I'd like comment on the fact that the duck here had bread in its mouth. There has been a lot of talk about what to feed ducks and swans in recent years. Bread is by no way a suitable food for birds to have all the time but the common census now is that it is better to feed them bread than nothing at all, especially since a lot of birds in public areas are used to being fed by people. Normally I feed them a mix of Duck and Swan pellets occasionally with some bread thrown in too.)
Another way I enjoy taking photos here is to get flat on the ground with the zoom lens and wait. I was quite pleased with this photo of a Moorhen that I captured. As with all wildlife photography, getting down to eye level with the animal makes all the difference - you just need to get used to the stares that passersby give you...!
The loch itself has plenty of wildfowl but the surrounding area is also brilliant for smaller birds that feed on the berries and seeds on the trees around the loch. I'm waiting and expecting Waxwings to appear here soon but in the meantime I've had great fun photographing Blackbirds eating the Hawthorn berries, watching the Carrion Crows search the football pitch for worms and I even managed a photo of a Wren, a small bird that I have been trying to photograph, without success, for a long time.
Wildlife photography is not always about travelling overseas to capture amazing photos of the Big 5 in Africa or Wolves in Yellowstone. In a time of environmental and climate crisis we need to start to love and protect the wildlife on our doorstep. This is what I hope to achieve with my photography. Gunknowe Loch is within walking distance of my home which means that I don't need to travel by car to get there. I can help reduce my carbon footprint at the same as getting fit and getting to know the wildlife on my doorstep. I urge all of you to do the same.
Till next time....
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