After taking a Wildlife Photography course with David Plummer at Woods Mill back in October, I’ve been eagerly awaiting my next workshop with him on Woodland Birds.
On Saturday, I took the train to Three Bridges, armed with camera, lenses, tripod and a backpack of essentials – attracting a few bemused looks from commuters.
At Three Bridges, David was waiting in his 4×4 and whisked us off to Scrag Copse, which lies halfway between Horsham and Crawley. David bought the ten acre site in 2007, having always dreamt of managing his own patch of woodland, and to run his photographic courses there with full freedom.
The woodland is a mix of oak, hazel, ash and birch and David has cleared huge swathes of bracken in order to restore some woodland pasture. In addition he has set up numerous hides, including a drinking pool hide and has been hugely successful in attracting a wide variety of woodland birds.
David runs these sessions in small groups and as there had been a last minute cancellation, there was only one other student, who had far greater experience than me, having attended many of David’s workshops and tours to places like the Masai Mara. One day that will be me!
Having set the other photographer up in his hide, David proceeded to give me one-to-one support and also instruction on the bait and perch technique which he has perfected at Scrag. As well as tips on selecting the right tripod and the best portable hides, he provided some useful tips on hide discipline. He then baited various perches and left me to practice the techniques he had shown me. For nearly five hours in various hides, I had the pleasure of photographing blue tits, great tits, marsh tits, nuthatches, robins, long tailed tits and more.
The proceedings were also interrupted along the way by this little gate crasher:
I finished at Woodpecker hide and after nearly an hour, I was rewarded by a visit from this beautiful Great-Spotted:
I went home a little achy and cold but completely elated from my close encounters with so many species of Woodland Birds. I learnt so much from the course and will be trying out the bait and perch technique in my garden, as well as buying a new tripod and hide!
You can find out more about David’s course on: www.davidplummerimages.co.uk