Thursday 5 November 2009


After Max had seen and captured some lovely shots of a black redstart over at Draycote Water, I hoped on the following day (Saturday) that it would have stayed around for some more shots.

Alas it had decided to fly elsewhere, despite several birders searching, and I was left with the option of looking for the (now) resident scaup. Did I find it? No.

However, all was not lost. Walking around the edge I spotted a brownish bird perched on the rocks near the channels at the Overflow... A kestrel. And a fine looking male at that. Fairly approachable too.

He soon moved when I strayed that bit too close, but only to a nearby concrete wall, where he had a bit of scratch and preen, before zipping off, up and over the road, and off into the fields beyond. It's a good spot for kestrels actually, and I've often found myself photographing them instead of the rareties on the lake!

Further round the lake, along Barn Bank, I spotted a different looking duck come into land, but being ignorant, I didn't realise what it was... until Dave and Rich arrived, and informed me that there was a female pintail around. "Ah. So that's what it is!" I thought.

With decent light and a very accommodating pintail, the day was rounded off with a selection of shots of a new species for my collection. Would have been nicer had it been the male, in terms of a more colourful bird, but nonetheless, a great new addition to my gallery.

Sunday was forecast to be wet, so I had a lie in for once. I do love listening to the pitter-patter of rain when wrapped up warm in bed. Once the rain cleared though and the first shards of sunlight hit my windows, I was up and out as fast as possible. Make hay and all that.

Upton Warren was the target, and I was soon sat in the Bittern Hide with Bob, chatting about what he'd seen that week. I do envy the retired photographers! Apparently, he'd managed to get some cracking shots of the bittern out in the open near the hide and also witnessed a mink attack, drown and drag off a heron! The traps had best be set up now before this vicious sod gets a taste for bitterns.

Bob left when it was getting gloomier and left me to look for the bitterns. Took a while and the light was almost gone when one showed its head. Only for a couple of moments, but was still great to see.

Fireworks party this weekend, so I'm not sure if I'll get any bird photography done at all. Pity, as the forecast isn't too bad, and the short-eared owls are increasing in numbers all the time.


Max Silverman said...

Great shots as usual Pete.Yes Draycote is very good for Kestrels I always check the rocks particularly at Toft.

Is the Bittern hide the hide on it's own and which is the north moors pool (the small pool by the carpark?)

The Lesser Scaup may have done a runner.Not been seen lately.

heather said...

Pete, I discovered your blog by accident - I think there is a Godrevy in Cornwall somewhere in it - but will definitely make a point of following it in future. The entries are intersting, even to a bad birdwatcher like me and the photographs are wonderful.

heather said...

Sorry, the previous comment should have said "a reference to birdwatching near Godrevey in Cornwall".

Pete Walkden said...

Hi Heather - yeah, I was down in St Ives back in August and made a day of going to Wheal Coates and then Godrevy Point. Wish I'd gone there sooner - the wildlife there was incredible. Glad you enjoy the blog!