To say that I’m dangerous with a camera is an understatement so when our friend (and professional photographer) Ray Tipper suggested a trip to Spain to photograph Red-knobbed (Crested) Coots in breeding plumage I thought I’d tag along and just watch the birds. But with Peter in Arizona and his Canon 10D and 300mm lens here, it was the perfect opportunity for me to at least try and take a photograph that (a) contained the intended subject and (b) was even slightly in focus – a tall order indeed!
We arrived at the Marismas del Odiel just about an hour after leaving Tavira. The sun was shining but the biting northerly wind soon had us donning our fleeces. Our target was spotted as soon as we left the car and we quickly set up our gear. We spent a very pleasant few hours waiting for the Coot to come close enough for us to photograph it, which it did several times, but only briefly, and it was never still. Ray photographed flyover Pallid Swifts, Spoonbills and Purple Herons and we watched a male Montagu’s Harrier as it quartered the nearby saltpans putting up flocks of small waders. We could see Greater Flamingos, mostly adults, feeding in a more distant pan and at least two Great Reed Warblers were singing close by but alas it was too windy for them to sit high in the reeds and sing.
The Coot didn’t come as close as I would have liked and the gusty wind caused some problems but I think I got a passable shot.
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