The weather forecast said there was going to be fog and mist today, ideal I thought, time to head to the patch. I can see you all thinking what on earth is he on about fog and mist make for appealing birding conditions, you can't see half the stuff and it is normally cold and wet. Well yes I agree but I have this idea for a photograph of a silhouetted grebe emerging from the mist so when the weatherman and free time connect I'm heading for the lake.
|Great Crested Grebe (sadly no mist)|
A quick check out the window and I was a little suspicious it was pretty clear, but it is always mistier by water so I went anyway, and.... No mist? hmm... Oh well no picture of mist shrouded grebe today, oh well this ethereal image will have to stay in my mind for the time being. I was out and (for once) had my big lens with me was alone and decided rather than waste the opportunity I would wander the lake and see what I could see.
I was greeted by some lovely prolonged views of a rather photogenic Grey Heron, fishing from one of the man made fishing decks created round the lake, I liked the surreal feel of a wild animal fishing from a man made platform designed for fishing (although I didn't approach him to see if he had caught anything or check his license! I did snap off a load of photos, quite a few of which I was pleased with even though I had to step up my ISO (and believe me my old Canon 20D struggles with noise above iso200), and had quite a slow shutter speed (1/60).
|Grey Heron fishing from man made fishing platform.|
|Grey Heron on platform|
|I can't decide which one of these next two works best, this one head pulled in.|
|Or this one with neck up (appreciate your thoughts)|
While photographing the Heron a group of 3 Common Redpoll flew over calling (they headed off through the estate rather than settling unfortunately), I also managed a few images of the local mallard at this point.
From here I continued around the lake, briefly stopping on the almost island that is a hangout for fishermen (fortunately there were none here today) where I had some lovely close views of a Grey Wagtail (although she didn't let me photograph her, but flew off across the lake towards the weir where I had seen her last week and a Great crested grebe (see first photo, would have been great had there been a mist!), as well as some of the local Coots.
|Great Crested Grebe|
I then spotted a group of thrushes and was fortunate enough to see they were all Redwing, my first of the winter, and If I think about it now the first I have seen (that I recall) that were not flying over but were instead voraciously feeding on the large number of berries fruiting on the trees at present. While watching these Redwing I was treated to the site of 2 Sparrowhawk hunting together above me and the brief blue dart of a Kingfisher as it dashed between reeds.
I encountered another or possibly the same Grey Wagtail (in flight) along the river just beyond the A5 crossing, but sadly little else of note as the heavens opened and I started to get wet. I don't mind the rain but my back is not in good shape and lugging the hefty photographic gear for 2 hours was about all I could manage so I headed home, happy with my Heron photos but aggrieved I had believed the weather forecast and hoped for mist.
|Just a Carrion Crow|
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