El Hondo and Amadorio. Mostly Wildlife

May 26, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

El Hondo and Amadorio. Mostly Wildlife 

This week my photography has been more wildlife than landscape focused. In part this has been because of the weather conditions, clear blue skies are not generally what I am looking for when I plan to go out and do landscape shots.

There have been two trips out this week.

One of them was a nice long walk around that old favourite of mine, Amadorio reservoir, the other was to El Hondo nature reserve.

Starting off with El Honda, which was the earlier trip.

I have been here before, quite a while ago, and I had always intended to come back armed with my long lens (Tamron 150-600) so that I could really see what kind of images I could get of some of the wildlife. Well, this week was the week.

El Hondo is about a 45 minute drive away and I headed off in the afternoon. Once parked up I started to explore, beginning on the wooden bridges that cross one of the lakes and, almost immediately, I found something worth getting a shot of. 

Nestled in among some reeds was a Squacco Heron. I moved carefully to avoid making too much noise and managed to get quite a nice angle on it:

I made my way around to some of the hides that are provided and was rewarded with a really nice view of a flamingo. I spent a bit of time watching and waiting, looking out for a nice ‘flamingo like’ pose and finally captured this image:

This particular hide is very well placed with views on three sides. I was not alone here as there was a small group of birdwatchers, from England, also taking advantage of it however, after a short while they left and I had the place to myself for a while.

Before they left they were spending quite a bit of time looking at a Pied Avocet Chick that was wading in the shallows near to the hide. After they had gone I spent a bit of time myself trying to get a nice shot of this cute and fluffy little guy and ended up with this one:

All the while the chick was wandering around the adult (I assume the mother) was keeping a close eye on it and, it has to be said, it was a very interesting looking bird with it’s long legs for wading and a very long and curved beak. I had to get a decent picture of it:

What I really wanted was a shot with the two of the them (mother and chick) interacting in some way. I waited around for a while and eventually I was rewarded when they came together for a brief time on the shoreline:

Some more people arrived shortly after and I decided to move on and explore a bit more of the reserve finally coming back around to the area near the entrance to the park where I spotted a Hoopoe perched on a railing by the walkway. 

Unlike the last time I saw a Hoopoe, this time I had the right lens for the job and I managed, what I think, is quite a nice shot of it:

Finally, while I had been walking around the park, I had noticed some really large dragonflies about. These were around 3 inches or 75mm long and were mostly coloured yellow with some black on them and some greenish colouring about the eyes. 

They were moving pretty fast but, on one of the wooden walkways, I spotted one come in to rest. I really wasn’t set up for macro work. I had the 150 to 600 mm lens on the camera and the closest this will focus is about 2.7 metres. However I decided to try a shot. Zoomed almost all the way from about 3 metres distance I managed to get focus and fire off a quick burst of shots, hoping that one would be clear. I didn’t hold out too much hope but, when I got home, I was pleasantly surprised by one shot that I think has remarkable clarity given the distance and the lens used:

My second trip out was to Amadorio reservoir. This is a location I keep on going back to, partly because I really enjoy walking there and partly because there are still so many things to explore.

This time I set out with the intention of doing a complete circuit of the reservoir, which is about a 7.5 kilometre (4.7 mile) walk, with a bit of a detour off on some rough trails to see if these would lead to any new photo opportunities.Including the detours I ended up doing about 9.7 kilometres (6 miles).

The rough trails, sadly, did not get me anything worth re-visiting but it was a lovely afternoon for a walk and there was almost nobody else about for most of it so I enjoyed it for the walk alone.

At one point I stopped at a location that has a view over one side of the reservoir. There is a large pipe there that is now floating on the surface of the water (last summer when I was here this whole section was dry and the pipe was resting on the remains of some kind of old bridge).

The pipe was providing a really handy perch for loads of gulls that were, I believe, using it as a hunting platform.

A longish focal length let me get a nice composition and then I waited hoping to catch something interesting with the gulls flying in or out. I turned the ISO up to keep the shutter speed fairly fast as I wanted to freeze any action rather than having any blurred wings if the gulls were flying.

I finally settled on this shot that I think works pretty well:

I moved around to an area that overlooks the road bridge that passes across the northern end of the reservoir. This vantage point allowed me to fit in the water, the bridge and the rocky peak and distant Aitana mountain range.

There was no cloud about and I decided to minimise the amount of sky, there were also some nice coloured flowers in amongst the bushes below me. 

As the afternoon was moving on the sun was a bit lower and the light was looking quite nice. Sunrise or sunset shoots here at this time of year would not be great as the area is surrounded by mountains and tall hills and the light on the scene is only there when the sun is a bit higher in the sky.

I took one image that I was quite pleased with, it was only when I got home that I realised I had forgotten to turn the ISO back down. Fortunately there was still almost no noise in the image and what little there was (mostly in the blue sky) was easily dealt with using noise reduction in post:

So, that’s it for this week.

Next week I am hoping for some nice weather conditions, by which I mean some nice cloud, for an early morning shoot, possibly at El Honda. I will also be looking at some exploration options to see if I can find some new locations and potentially doing a walk all the way around Guadalest reservoir.

More on all that in the next post. Until then…. 

Have a great week.


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