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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Pintail, Shoveler and sneaky Gadwall!

The sun was shining unexpectedly this morning so after breakfast I took advantage, grabbed my camera and popped up the road to RSPB Greylake. I'm so lucky to live so close to a wonderful nature reserve!
  I took a few pics in the picnic area by the car park of little birds attracted to the feeders, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin and Starling, I would have stayed longer but noticed a huge blanket of cloud coming my way!
  I actually jogged quietly along the path to the main hide, I wanted to get some pictures of the ducks in good light before the clouds arrived!
  It was cold and windy in the hide, once you open the window to take pictures it really hits you in the face! I only had a thin cardigan on, and no gloves! A few other birdwatchers and photographers arrived, all decked out in thick Winter gear, gloves, hats, coats, jackets. A couple commented that I must be freezing. They were right!
  Brian Sweeting popped in for a little while again, and I met a nice chap I hadn't encountered before, Nick Edge, and we chatted about shared birding and photography experiences. I enjoy learning from people I meet out and about, and Nick was most helpful, particularly in telling me where he sees Little Owls regularly, as these are birds I'd love to photograph!
  You can see his fabulous shots on his Flickr page here;


As usual there were many ducks on the reserve, although many were sleepy, particularly the ones near the hide! Birds always seem less active when it's windy!
   The star duck was a gorgeous male Pintail that flew around alone shortly after I entered the hide and enabled me to grab some shots of it in flight!
  Right over the back of the reserve a Marsh Harrier was quatering the reedbeds, putting up hundreds of Lapwing and ducks. Unfortunately it teased us all morning and didn't come close enough for decent photographs! A Pergrine flew across right to left, but not in hunt mode, and again it was distant. A Buzzard landed on a gate to the right of the hide.
   A Pheasant flew low across the water in front of the hide. Every now and then a few Teal or Wigeon or Shoveler would take to flight, fly around for a bit then land again. Very kind of them to give the photographers an opportunity, although it was by now cloudy so not ideal conditions for decent pictures!
  I only noticed when I got home that there were a few Gadwall ducks in a group flying around, the first I had seen here this year!
  A few Little Egrets and Herons were dotted about, a handful of Snipe too which were again mostly resting, plus some Mallard and Coot.
  Back in the car park I met my friend Pete Woodgate, who told me where I could get close views of a Kingfisher! Once again, meeting a fellow bird photographer has given me great information for future photographic opportunities! Priceless!
    On my way home I saw a Raven being mobbed by Carrion Crows. A distant photo was enough to illustrate the obvious difference in size of these otherwise similar birds!
  I got home just in time to watch my beloved Arsenal beat Stoke 3-0! Result!

Below are some of the photo's I took on a lovely (but cold!) morning;

^Above^ - Male Pintail

^Above^ - Gadwall and Mallard

^Above^ - Shoveler

^Above^ - Teal

^Above^ - Wigeon

^Above^ - Mallard

^Above^ - Mute Swan

^Above^ - Flocks of Lapwing at the back of the Reserve.

^Above^ - A closer Lapwing!

^Above^ - Little Egret

^Above^ - Male Pheasant

^Above^ - Various duck, Wigeon, Teal and in the top pic, Shoveler.

^Above^ -  Wigeon

^Above^ - Marsh Harrier

^Above^ - Snipe

^Above^ - Carrion Crow

^Above^ - The path from the car park into the reserve.

^Above^ - Love the Reed heads at Greylake!

^Above^ - Starling

^Above^ - Male Chaffinch. If you look closely, it seems to have a Tick on it's forehead!

^Above^ -  Great Tit.

^Above^ - Robin

^Above^ - Buzzard

^Above^ - The much larger Raven with Carrion Crows.