A Small Lead

Great Crested Grebe Shaking
Great Crested Grebe Shaking
When I set out today I had a couple of goals in mind, a few species I thought I should be able to see and catch up on my rival these were - Little Grebe (resident on the lake), Common Gull (often seen on the lake), Rook (really shouldn't be that hard) and Little Egret (usually pretty easy but high water levels have held this one back) - What I wasn't expecting was to take the lead (especially after Simon had had his 2nd and 3rd Goosander for the patch that morning flying through).

The day started pretty well, my second bird seen through the binoculars was indeed a Common Gull, one of the target species down, swimming with the usual Black Headed Gull flock, but there was little else of note on the lake, so I decided to skirt the edge of the patch and go round the back of the smaller lake, I was quite please I had when species number 2 of my target list fell, a Little Egret flew over head and out of site.

Not being cruel I let Simon know that the egret was about (it had landed just be the fishermens island), and I found him watching it from the Car-park, while chatting with him we were lucky enough to both add Grey Wagtail to our lists, and Simon let me know where he had seen and heard Coal tit the previous day. We parted company, and I headed right to the location (in the pine belt) he mentioned and was lucky enough to also find the singing Coal Tit (they are not rare just hard to find sometimes) So my luck was still in, I was tempted to wander the woods and see what else might be in there but evidence of drug use put me off so I wandered back down to the River to continue on to Bradwell Abbey.

Blue Tit (and one of my sharpest ever images!!)
Blue Tit (and one of my sharpest ever images!!)
On the way, I nipped over the bridge by the Dragonfly Fields as I am convinced this is where I will see Common Pheasant (no luck still), I was lucky enough to spot one of yesterdays Common Buzzards here, and it was being mobbed by a Rook (no. 3 of my target birds down), and while watching this a passing Meadow Pipit flew over calling! I nearly had a heart attack at this point as looking up I also spotted a large, long necked, grey bird!! It took me a few moments to realise it was just a Grey Heron flying, unusually, with its neck extended.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron

Continuing on to the Abbey, with brief views of Kingfisher and a couple of calling Tree Creepers, I arrived as always full of hope, but as always there was little of note in the bushes and not much more in the paddocks, bar a couple of Redwing and some Green Finches. I stopped to give the bushes a little longer (still no sign of last months Blackcaps) when I spotted a large bird coming in over the telegraph wires, lifting my bins I was greated by a stunning Red Kite (a bloody hard bird on the patch, you have to be there at just the right time for this), I snapped off a few shots as it drifted into the sunshine (all quite poor I'm afraid) and alerted Simon.

Red Kite poorly lit.
Red Kite poorly lit.
Whilst talking to Simon about the Kite and advising him which way it was headed, I stumbled across 2 Eurasian Jays calling to each other as they made their way along the river (yet another grab back on Simon, it was really looking up and I believe this bird put us on equal terms!). While chatting (on the phone) Simon let me know that there was a Kestrel in the direction I was headed, and once I connected with this, the lead was Mine!

But I wasn't done there, I knew there had to be a little grebe about somewhere so decided to stake out the usual location and I was almost instantly rewarded by seeing a winter plumage Little Grebe diving at the edge of the lake, it later came out and allowed me some lovely views (a bit dark for great photos). And with a couple of great photos of Great Crested Grebes to add to my haul of images I set off home happy I was 2 ahead, my first lead of the year, I'm not sure it will last long though.

Little Grebe at the very edge of the lake
Little Grebe at the very edge of the lake
So 48 birds later, with 9 new for the year (taking my list to a whopping 59 so far, only 20 shy of my all time list!) I arrived home ready for a rest.

Great Crested Grebe looking stunning
Great Crested Grebe looking stunning
Great Crested grebe
Little Grebe
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Common Buzzard
Red Kite
Black Headed Gull
Common Gull
Herring Gull
Wood Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
European Robin
Song Thrush
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Long-tailed tit
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow
Reed Bunting

Swimming Great Crested Grebe
Swimming Great Crested Grebe

Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can.



  1. I am getting a real complex here - one minute I am a rival , then i am a competitor - I thought I was a mate ;-) Oh and I think you photoshopped the Kite ;-) Great image mate ! ( or Rival / Competitor / nemesis / hated enemy - delete as applicable ;-) )

    1. Friend is pushing it :) I like to think of you as the bloke who makes up Goosander ;)


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