• Claire Stott

Summer skies

To me nothing signals the start of summer quite like the arrival of the house martins here in Aberystwyth. As the warmer weather advances more and more of these birds return to their breeding grounds beside the harbour inlet. The quiet skies are soon filled with their aerial acrobatics and the sound of their constant chatter as they swoop overhead, hunting insects on the wing.

The house martin is a small target, fast moving and incredibly agile in flight making them a huge challenge to photograph in the air but highly rewarding when patience and practice pays off.

Several hours of frustration under the hot sunshine, and several hundred photos later here are a few of the more successful images.

These aren’t the best photos, but I do still feel a sense of achievement having tried something new and at least ended up with a few half decent images. It’s good to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone every one in while!

I am particularly pleased with the image below. I like how the martin is captured with the wings on the downbeat against the urban background in which it makes it’s home. It is beneath the eaves of many of these very houses where the martins build their mud cup nests each summer.

The houses overlook this stretch of water which fills the harbour during high tide. This is home to numerous tiny insects which the martins feed on, snatching them from the air and the surface.

The house martin’s angular, slightly swept back wings are perfectly adapted for swift, manoeuvrable flight, as seen here.

— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography © 2020 www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#wildlife #birdwatching #outdoors #aberystwyth #birder #housemartins #birds #wings #birdsinflight #birdphotography #naturetherapy #hirundines #nature #urbanbirds

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