New for 2022 – I now have a hide for excellent opportunities to photograph and film Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Both species tend to be shy and, in particular, Green Woodpeckers can be a challenging species to photograph. My new hide allows the opportunity to observe, photograph and film these birds at close range – you will be less than 25 feet from the action.

What can you expect?
(Spring 2022) – Both species regularly visit this area and are showing signs that they intend to nest. Several holes have been created and interestingly the same hole is being excavated by both species (at different times) – it will be fascinating to see who eventually decides to take up residence!
Please don’t expect non-stop action – as with all wildlife there can be quiet periods through the day, but if you sit quietly and patiently the birds will come and you will have excellent views.
Both species are likely visitors but the “pecking order” between the species will mean that Great Spotted will give way to the Greens and also tend not to come in if a Green Woodpecker is in view.

What sort of shots will you get?
You can expect to get detailed portraits of the woodpeckers and although the activity takes place mainly on a single tree there are a variety of natural perches and several different (and colourful) backdrops which assist in getting pleasing and varied images. Please check out the the gallery for some examples of what you can easily achieve.

What about video?
Video is always a great way to bring your subject to life and is a good accompaniment to your portraits. For example, I’ve been able to film the birds’ behaviour – drumming, excavating, feeding & of course the green woodpecker’s infamous laughing “Yaffle” call.

Is there any other wildlife to see?
The woodpeckers are the main focus here, but always keep an eye out for the unexpected.

What does it cost?
A session costs £50 for one photographer; or £100 for a maximum of two photographers. If customers wish to extend their day and add a booking for the Tawny Owl Hide then I will discount the combined cost of the hides by £10 per photographer.
I accompany all visitors to the location and get you settled into the hide which is yours for the session – the light is best during morning and through the middle part of the day, so sessions are from 9am to 3pm.
The birds are completely wild and free – they are not trained or tamed, so please be aware that I can never guarantee 100% that the birds will show. However, I’ve yet to experience a “blank” and the interest in this becoming a nest site should further reduce the chances of disappointment.

What equipment will you need?
DSLR Camera, lenses (I suggest 400mm as a minimum focal length – I use a 200-500mm zoom on my Nikon D500), batteries, memory cards and a tripod is essential as this will keep movement to a minimum & avoid drawing attention to movement/disturbing the birds. A gimbal or video head for your tripod will greatly assist photographers, but is not essential.
You will be in a pop-up hide which is behind scrim netting, I can provide a choice of seats but some people prefer to bring their own). You may wish to bring a packed lunch and a drink.

Fen Drayton is a small village which lies approximately 8 miles north of Cambridge. The village is easily accessible by road – with excellent links to the nearby A14, M11, A1, A428 and A1307. My address is c5mins from Cambridge Services (A14, junction 24).

Other information:
The meet point is my home address in Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire. This is a short drive from the woodpeckers. You will be able to park adjacent to the hides which are a short walk away over flat ground.
The hides are on private land – please do not stray outside of the area of the hides or onto the adjacent farm land or other properties, thank you. There are no toilets on site – beforehand visitors are welcome to use the toilet at my home and may do so during the duration of their stay (I am only a phone call away).
Please remain as quiet as possible when in the hides & make sure phones are switched to silent. Under no circumstances should visitors attempt to call the woodpeckers or approach them – please keep in mind that this is a possible nest site.
Finally – although the setting is very safe, all visitors should mind their step as there are a few natural trip hazards in the area (tree roots/stumps) & extra care should be taken when entering or exiting the hides and the surrounding area.

I look forward to welcoming you and hope you have an enjoyable and productive visit.

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