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Kittiwakes are brilliant!

June 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Kittiwakes are brilliant. I just love watching these elegant seabirds effortlessly make their way over stormy seas with aplomb. It is a treat to listen to the contact calls of the Kittiwakes on the seacliffs around Ireland at this time of year. I went down to Dublin Port at the beginning of April on a rising tide to watch a gathering of over 100 or so Kittiwakes, having returned back to their breeding grounds around Dublin Bay following their winter sojourn out to sea. I love this time of year, as the Kittiwakes are looking resplendent and there is a backdrop of calling Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns in the Bay. It is a real feeling that Spring is here and Summer is around the corner. Poolbeg Power Station and the Great South Wall is a fantastic place to see the gathering Kittiwakes at that time of year. The birds just saunter up and down the Great Wall into the teeth of the wind, hanging there just enough to enable some good photographs to be had. It is a real treat to watch. 

MC7D2799 KittiwakeMC7D2799 Kittiwake

It also allows one to practice one's panning technique for birds in flight and to hone one's skills in quickly adjusting camera settings to get the exposure correct while the action is happening in real time.  

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Because of the nature of the way the Kittiwakes make their way up along the edge of the wall here, it is an opportunity to play with the depth of field of oncoming, moving subjects. It is also fun trying to freeze some action or flight poses that the birds are exhibiting, such as certain wing angles, positions or head movements. 

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This sequence of images shows how the Kittiwake walks along the surface of the water, picking up food as it goes along. Always nice to watch a group of them doing this.  

MC7D3050 KittiwakeMC7D3050 Kittiwake MC7D3379 KittiwakeMC7D3379 Kittiwake

MC7D3893 Kittiwake 2sumMC7D3893 Kittiwake 2sum MC7D3989 KittiwakeMC7D3989 Kittiwake I was fortunate to see these seabirds in their Arctic habitat recently and I now look upon them in a whole new light. So strange seeing Kittiwakes among icebergs, sea ice and glaciers. But more on that anon...


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