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Biggest Twitch
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Why don't birds sit still?!

A dawn walk in the woods in the Conwy Valley is always magical at this time of year. The air is rich with the sound of birdsong : Pied Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, even Wren belting out its song with megaphone proportions. Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker all added to the noise in the woodland all around. Even Wood Mice scurrying through the leafmould can make a surprising amount of noise when you're listening hard. In fact the only silent thing in the woodland, apart from us standing motionless and observing, was a Sparrowhawk which jinked and jived through the trees, but caught nothing off guard.

At this time of year as the new acid green leaves are just unfurling, you can enjoy pretty good views of the birdlife through the open branches. There was plenty of prospecting for suitable nest sites going on; a Treecreeper passed close by with a beak full of nesting materials while two pugnacious Wrens battled it out for occupation of a dense patch of undergrowth, and Pied Flycatchers flew in circuits through the tree belt. So, before the leaf cover became impenetrable, we had hoped to get some photos of these woodland specialists, but with that sixth sense that birds seem to show whenever you get out the camera they promptly became more flighty. Every time we got the camera focused, the bird moved either to another branch or to another tree. Either they were impossibly backlit against the sky, or branches obscured a clear view. In fact the only crystal clear shots we got were of the branch where the bird had once been.

So, determined to go home with at least a few photos of something, we ended up photographing things that didn't move around quite so much! Luckily we pride ourselves on our birdwatching, not our bird photography!


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