Saturday, 18 September 2010

Back at SWR

A sunny, though chilly morning, and Rob and I spent a few hours at the reserve. I was mainly after photos for the current book, and Rob was mainly after Kingfishers.

Arriving at the Willow hide, we were immediately treated to a perched Kingfisher (in a willow, appropriately enough). It was beyond the reach of the 300mm but Rob took some pics with the Bigmos. We were told that it or one of its friends had been visiting the perches in front of the hide lately, but not today.

I amused myself by pointing the 300mm at flying birds. It focuses much more quickly without the teleconverter, and though the reach is quite limited, the resultant photos could be cropped pretty damn hard without losing too much sharpness.

First up, a Stock Dove. I've seen them flying about from this hide before but never tried to get pics til today. Some say this is Britain's most boring bird species. Others don't, because they have never noticed that Stock Doves exist. That's a bit harsh actually. They are attractive in their own way, and pleasingly distinct from any of the million variants of Feral Pigeon.

Next, a Jay, complete with acorn. Jays are widely credited with planting new oak woodlands, as they bury acorns for winter consumption but inevitably some get forgotten and germinate.

These two Shovelers did two circuits of the lake. I didn't get any sharp pics of them against the water, but managed a bit better when they were against the sky. This isn't such a massive crop, as they actually came quite close.

I left Rob to it and went down to 'Reed Warbler corner'. No Reed Warblers any more, they have left, but I did hear a singing Cettis. Then, after a tense wait, I got a brief view of this surprised-looking male Blackcap, before he slipped away into the dense foliage.

 I don't know if this is the same Comma I photographed the other day. If it is, it was in a much more show-offy mood today, which was nice.

I also found an adult Green Shieldbug on pretty much the same leaf as the nymph of last week. Must look up how quickly they grow up... Decided to go for an alternative angle for this shot.

Meanwhile, back at the hide the assembled watchers had a second sighting of the Kingfisher. This time it wasn't sitting around but was whizzing over the water. Here's one of Rob's pics...

 ... and here's another. They were taken one second apart, according to the file info.

We had to go after that, but close to the visitor centre we paused to enjoy good views of a scruffy Chiffchaff as it flycatched (flycaught?) and leaf-gleaned in a sunny clearing.

 Maybe this is his best side, actually.

Rob is planning to call in at Cliffe Pools in the morning. I hope he has a successful time, if so there should be a Rob-tastic blog post coming up soon...


Phil said...

Some great shots there Marianne. For me the Jay shot just nudges the Kingfisher into second place!

Marianne said...

Thanks Phil :) I've added a few more pics now. It was a good morning for photography!