Short-Toed Treecreepers and reflections on bird photography

It’s always a thrill to see a bird creeping like a mouse up a tree trunk. It’s only when it flies down to the bottom of the next tree that you’re sure it’s a bird. There’s a Short-Toed Treecreeper here at the Lago di Alviano:

Short-Toed Treecreeper - Lago di Alviano - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

What brilliantly adapted birds. The curve of their beak is exceptionally adapted for probing into the crevices in tree bark and extracting invertebrates. And that camouflage:

Short-Toed Treecreeper - Lago di Alviano - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s great to get close. I’ve seen a Short-Toed Treecreeper before in Italy but never this close:

This is exceptional. I can even see its tongue and every detail of its plumage.

Short-Toed Treecreeper - Lago di Alviano - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

How did I get this close? We’re at a WWF reserve which has bird hides. One of them is the ‘small birds hide’ where a variety of seeds are put out to attract birds. There’s also the dead stump of a tree with deep crinkled bark. It’s that which has attracted the Short-Toed Treecreeper today. It’s €10 for the key to the reserve.

Lago di Alviano - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s also something which I’ve never seen in the UK; a reflection pool. Birds come to drink and you can get wonderful shots of them reflected in the water. As I check nature websites, bird forums and Facebook groups and Twitter accounts all I can see in the UK is, ‘captured yesterday at my hide’, or, ‘at my private hide’ and, ‘my mate has been taming them for a year and is now setting up a workshop if interested.‘ All the UK workshops seem very expensive, sanitised nature experiences, often £100 for a day. If only we had some publicly available facilities like the ones here, that would be great. Do you know of any?

Short-Toed Treecreeper - Lago di Alviano - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s been wonderful to spend time with this little character.

Short-Toed Treecreeper - Lago di Alviano - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I think I’ll start a funding campaign for my local country park to have a reflection pool table. Surely enjoying photographing nature shouldn’t all be a commodity exploited by private enterprise at £100 per day?

Lago di Alviano - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

After all, nature is free.

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