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Winter Project - Building a Reflection Pool

23rd October 2015
We all have days or periods of time where we either can't get out for whatever reason or we just don't have enough hours in the day to photograph all the wildlife that's on our never ending list... Me included
So among all the other projects I'm concentrating on I wanted something that would give me a break from the seemingly never ending hours of editing and other (sometimes) mundane PC work... I wanted to build a Reflection Pool..
My feeding station seemed to work quite well last year and I've gradually encouraged quite a selection of birds into my garden, so why not. And of course the birds get great use from it, as it will be a constant source of drinking and bathing water..

So I enrolled the help of my partner and I discussed with him my ideas and what sort of size i wanted the pool then we popped down to our local builders merchant and garden centre.. I wasn't going to need a lot of materials as we had some spare wood in the garage. So in total I spent around £35.00 for the rest of the timber i needed, a pond liner and some tacks.

Brian got to work one Saturday and in more or less no time at all (nearly the whole day) he managed to create my table.

I know it looks quite large and maybe a bit elaborate but I wanted it to last, be stable and portable.. My garden isn't quite big enough for a pop up hide so I'm utilizing my conservatory as a hide..
My Hide :)

I bought some camouflage material from Kevin Keatley - Wildlife Watching Supplies (link you will find on my links page) covered my doors with it and just made a small hole for my lens to peer through and hey presto..

The next step was to cover the pool using a black pond liner, most importantly it has to be a black liner. A little tip, when you first get the liner its quite stiff and probably has creases, so lay the liner out in the sun for half an hour and it soon becomes more supple. (if no sun available somewhere warm) ;-)
Lay the liner over your table and tuck into all the corners and get it as flat as you can, when you go to tack the liner down (on the outside of the table) make sure you don't pull it too tight so it lifts away from the corners etc...
Once finished you should have something like this..

At this stage I placed the table in the position I wanted it as I wanted the birds to get use to it being in the garden. Once in position I started to collect moss from around my garden (I knew i'd have a use for it one day) and started to mold it to one end of the table, I laid a few small stones in the bottom first so i had a base for the moss and it wouldn't slip completely into the pool. I found a couple of very small ferns too so I added those..
First row of moss

When positioning your table you need to keep in mind the background you are going to have, ideally you need something that won't be too distracting.. And you need the pool a nice distance away so you can use a shallow DoF, emphasizing the subject whilst giving you a lovely blurred mushy background..
For now mine is a bush at the bottom of the garden, however once that dies back I have another idea (more on that next time)

When out on my walks and travels I shall be looking out for interesting fallen branches and berries etc that I can add to the pool as different features. I also suggest that down either side of the table you add larger logs or branches so that you can encourage the birds to sit at the end you need them too, the branches adds height so they can't quite reach the water to drink.

I filled the pool with water and left it in the garden for the birds to get use to it, I did notice that my seed didn't go down for a few days, probably because we had been working in the garden all weekend and we had disturbed their normal routine. I left them in peace for the whole week as I knew it wouldn't be long before they returned to normal.

The following weekend I thought I'd set my camera up and sit and have my morning coffee and see if we had any activity.. I nearly spat my coffee out when i saw two starlings jump in the pool and have a bath.. Fabulous, starlings was a start and that meant they had got use to it and were most definitely using it..

not award winning images but hey Rome wasn't built in a day and besides I didn't care, We had built it and they came...!!! :-)

So that day I can tell you I didn't stray too far away, I was already hooked.. My next visitors was a House sparrow and a Tree sparrow..

I was quite happy at this point as I didn't expect them to be using it quite so soon. We get quite a number of finches in our garden especially Goldfinches which are one of my favourites. I had a few on the feeders that day and when one flew onto the side of the table i just held my breath.. it jumped onto the small rock that i had placed in the pool hoping that some smaller birds would use it and it drank to its hearts content (for a few seconds)

A very satisfying start to my reflection pool, sometimes the light was rubbish and my iso was tested somewhat and then when the light was fantastic no birds came, which is about typical in wildlife photography..

Of course this isn't the only way to build a pool, if you wanted to try out something similar you could use a large greenhouse plastic tray (the ones without the holes) add moss and branches, fill it with water and see how that works out. The possibilities are endless really, it all depends on the size of your garden and if you have somewhere to view from the house or even put up a small hide in the garden.. Why not give it a try and let me know of your results..

But i'm sure over the coming next few months I'm going to have a lot of fun with my new project..

Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog, please feel free to leave a wee comment at the bottom of the page or on my facebook post, Thank you.
Thank you all for your support, as always much appreciated. Marie x


Photo comment By John Campbell McFall: Fantastic result and great project, will follow results .
Photo comment By David Harris: Love you photos and you pool works so well
Photo comment By Louis Rumis: As you say about your Starlings-not award winning. You have the idea, you know it works; next, the those award winning images. Your first Intentional PSA Gold medal will make it all worthwhile.
Photo comment By pompayya Malemath: wonderful idea to set up.. i will try

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