The Caterpillar Service – Day Three

It’s Day Three of following the Long-Tail Bushtit family on waste ground near my house in South Devon. I say ‘waste ground’ because that’s what other people call it. It’s actually the remnants of the natural world. It’s next to a busy public footpath in the middle of a bramble patch.

There are five adults serving the chicks hidden deep within with a constant stream of caterpillars and other invertebrates. It’s no wonder chicks grow so quickly with all that nutrition.

I’ve managed a few flight shots so far, that I’m happy with, so I decide I’m going to concentrate on getting shots of them perched this evening. They land on a whole variety of different perches on their circuitous route into the nest. I choose the best angle for a neutral background, focus on a likely perch and wait.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

What a little darling.

There are more interesting shots available but with busier backgrounds.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Who knew there were quite so many caterpillars within such a short flying distance of this spot? Not me. The trees must be weighed down with them.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There are also a few spiders held tight in tiny beaks. I love that when they catch an invertebrate they bash it by wiping it across a branch to kill it. Some caterpillars take quite a bit of killing.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

That’s enough perched shots for now. I’ve got to go soon, I’m cooking dinner, so I decide to get some flight shots in my next and last chance. I have to wait about twenty minutes before they come back again and I only get the one shot.

It’s one I’m delighted with. Other people might like something else, but this photograph makes me very happy. I like that the background looks like decorative Victorian wallpaper in a stately home. And the pose is just what I wished for.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s time to go. I’ll be back tomorrow to see how they’re getting on feeding their invisible chicks. I’ve got a few ideas for a different approach to photographing them so I look forward to your company tomorrow.

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