The weather of late has been truly horrid. I can count the number of clear, sunny and calm days on half of one hand, and they seem to be landing on days when I am committed to doing something other than wildlife photography. The relentless windy conditions have called a halt to my feeding station on the local farm after one particularly gusty morning made my hide look like Mary Poppins' umbrella, and since taking it down, I've not had any chance to put it back up, that is if it still goes up...
Thankfully a great northern diver has decided to stay a while on a reservoir that is quite close to home, so I took advantage of a couple of hours one afternoon when the clouds broke, to see it fishing near the dam end of Upper Bittell.
In a slightly more accessible area, a landscaped quarry not far from Hinksford (Staffs) a rather more exotic bird has made its home. A hoopoe, something I've not seen in the UK for years and tempted me over on a day forecast to be dry, which of late is unusual. Finding the bird was easy as there was a local on site and he'd seen it moments before I arrived.
Initially it was feeding in a fenced off area, and it was here that we managed to get some decent views as it preened.
On a rare sunny day when I wasn't busy, I made my way to Cossington Meadows, a place I have been to before for the short-eared owls. Annoyingly this time, despite the area being fairly quiet in terms of people wandering around (perhaps because of how muddy it was), I failed to take any shots for much of the day, and wished I'd visited the hoopoe again instead. Or gone to the pub with my brother, who called about midday... Still, in the end I was just pleased to see the owls, even if they did appear just after the decent light had faded and failed to come particularly close.