Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a wally!

Got up bright and early on the Sunday to go and try and see the Bittern. Got everything into the car, scraped off the ice and then headed over to Ravensthorpe. Got out of the car, got prepared and then realised I'd left my boots at home. It also become apparent that instead of the long-lens camera I would in fact need the telescope so all in all a bit of a disastrous start. I felt like a right wally!

So plan B, head over to Pitsford as at least there's a concrete path up to the Rotary Club hide overlooking Holcot Bay.

As it was such a bright and crisp morning the joggers were out in their tens, no doubt shortly their hundreds. Some were even jogging around the nature reserve, so in fact more wildfowl was on the public half of the reservoir than the nature reserve, although since the Ruddy Duck cull bird numbers are dramatically down on every water body across the county.

The water around the hide was quiet but punctuated by the occassional soft calls of a pair of Great Crested Grebes, performing their pair-bonding rituals, including diving down and collecting under-water weed to present to each other then rising up in the water, lots of head turning, head-bobbing:

















This pair didn't separate the whole time I was there. They persisted with other rituals such as swimming around each other low in the water, calling, rising up, head- turning and bobbing again, etc. I particularly like this shot as the light helps to highlight them as they communicate:

















Other birds included some frisky Gadwall, quieter Coots and Mallards, and a few Goosander including this male:













As he approached the larger group heading into the bay one of said joggers put all the Goosander to flight. I snapped this female, but being unprepared the exposure was too slow, hence the blurring, you can make out the 'mohican' effect at the back of her head though:











Finally as I headed back to the car, I spotted this Grey Heron sunning itself on the far bank, as the morning temperature rose above freezing:

















I do like Pitsford, it'll be better when it is a nature reserve again.

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