Looking at Facebook I could see a few people were getting out and about and photographing birds. Several were posting images of Pied Flycatchers.
I had seen Pied Flycatchers before but hadn’t managed any decent shots of them except for a female that I saw during a visit to France last year.
I talked to a fellow bird photographer, Clive, and he informed me that he’d photographed them at Strid Wood in the Dales.
A few days later I woke early and set off to Strid Wood. The roads were very quiet, as to be expected, and it only took me 35 minutes to drive to Barden Bridge where I could park the car and walk to Strid Wood
I arrived at Barden Bridge’s small car park at about 06:00 and was surprised to see another car already there. I parked and set off upstream along the bank of the river Wharfe towards Strid Wood.
During the walk along the river bank I saw a Kingfisher flying past as well as several Mallards, a lone male Mandarin Duck, a Grey Wagtail, and several Oystercatchers.
As I entered Strid Wood I came across the occupant of the other car who was set up on the side of the path with his camera on a tripod and photographing something. We exchanged pleasantries, observing the social distancing rules, and he informed me he was photographing the Pied Flycatchers that were using the nesting box that was on the other side of the footpath.
Standing at the side of the footpath opposite the nesting box I waited for something to happen and soon enough the female Pied Flycatcher arrived with some food in its beak.
The camera settings were fairly reasonable and I was using a monopod so I decided to add the 1.4x extender for further shots.
The female would either fly directly to the nest box or a small bush in front of the box, but always behind some leaves or a branch, and when she left it was always quickly away.
The male on the other hand arrived and landed on open branches before entering the nest box, then would return to the open branches when leaving, even having time to preen and look around.
I was having problems photographing as the background to the shots was mainly sky and this meant the images weren’t very good. I moved a bit to improve the background and give me a better view of the perches the male was using as well as the nest box.
My companion left fairly soon and I was left to photograph the birds on my own. Several people walked past during my time there but none stopped for long. This gave me an hour to photograph the male several times before I set off back home.
Walking back downstream, but crossing over at the hunting bridge, as the estate were trying to operate a one-way system to help with social distancing, I again saw a Kingfisher fly past, several Oystercatchers and Mallard.
When I got to the small parking area at Barden Bridge at about 09:00 it was completely full and someone was waiting for me to drive off so they could use my space.
A worth while trip out and another bird ticked of my list of British birds photographed