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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ducks galore at RSPB Greylake!

My Saturday morning snooze was rudely interrupted by my other half bringing me my ringing work phone! I had temporarily forgotten that I was on call, and here was an emergency breakdown to attend to!! I wasn't happy, but after getting dressed and grabbing something to eat, I grabbed my camera as it was an opportunity to call in at RSPB Greylake on my way home after my job!
   With the breakdown sorted, I pulled into Greylake's car park excited by what I might see and photograph. The weather was cold but still, and the sun was shining brightly! A beautifully crisp early Winters day, with perfect light for photography!
   As usual I snapped a few of the little birds in the car park, including a rather confiding singing Starling.
  On my walk to the bird hide I flushed a Sparrowhawk that was on a recently cleared area of reedbed. It flew off to the right, and I assume it was the same bird that flew over the Reserve a little later on.
  There was only one person in the hide, a lovely lady called Lynne Newton. We had a good chat and later both trained our cameras on a Wren that came hunting in the undergrowth just in front of the hide.
 Her beautiful pictures can be seen on her website here;


 The Duck numbers had really built up in recent weeks, mainly Wigeon and Teal, but with a few Shoveler and Mallard. As usual, you can only fully appreciate the numbers when they all take to the air after being spooked! This happened a couple of times, though I couldn't detect a bird of Prey that may have caused the mass panic! Sometimes I'm sure they spook themselves!! Luckily this enabled me to grab some shots of the Ducks in flight, which isn't as easy as it sounds! Sharp, detailed in flight shots are difficult, even with hundreds of birds milling around in front of you!!
    I did manage some shots I was pleased with, and as always, I have shared them below!

 A short while later I moved next door to the new raised hide, checking the cleared area beside the hide for Water Rail, as I had seen 3 or 4 here a few days previous, though the light was awful at that time! Typically, there were none there on this brighter day!
  In the hide I met John Crabb, another Somerset bird photographer, and another lovely person! He offered me some photography advice which I gratefully received! I learn more from talking to other bird photographers in the field than I ever would reading manual after manual, night after night!
    His stunning bird photography can be seen on his website here;


  On the way home I pulled over to photograph Redwings and Fieldfares eating berries in the hedges near Middlezoy, though they were very 'timid' and I only managed a couple of OK-ish flight shots. A Buzzard on a ploughed field near Westonzoyland offered my last photo opportunity before my work phone rang again, and I was told by a lovely apologetic lady from head office that I had not one, but two more breakdowns to do!!
Oh joy!!

Below are some of the pictures I took;

^ Above ^ - Ducks galore!! (Wigeon and Teal)

^ Above ^ - Shoveler (Female top)

^ Above ^ - Wigeon

^ Above ^ - Teal

^ Above ^ - Lapwing

^ Above ^ - Sparrowhawk

^ Above ^ - Chaffinch (Top, Male - Bottom Female)

^ Above ^ - Dunnock

^ Above ^ - Reed Bunting

^ Above ^ - Starling

^ Above ^ - Stonechat

^ Above ^ - Robin

^ Above ^ - Wren

^ Above ^ - Fieldfare

^ Above ^ - Redwing

^ Above ^ - Buzzard