Tuesday 26 January 2010

Brandon's Wildfowl & Flashes Feeders

Pochards are one of those birds I can't seem to photograph in decent light, and Saturday was no exception. Brandon Marsh is a good place to see these ducks and can be excellent for low angle shots from one of the hides. Unfortunately the curse struck again and the clouds failed to part, leaving me with rather dull-looking images yet again.

I'm not moaning though, well okay, a little, as I was very pleased to get some much needed images of a pair of goldeneyes from the same hide. We also witnessed some sort of courtship between them, though it was far away from the hide under the gloom of overhanging trees. The female lay very low in the water and the male raised right up and out, surging along, following the female around. Was quite amusing actually.

Will have to remember to come back to the same hide when the great crested grebes are courting, as it should be a good spot for shots. Took some of a pair of passing grebes as they seem to be often overlooked (by me).

Sadly the green winged teal resolutely stayed as far away as it could from any hide, so I didn't even bother attempting photos of that. And by the time I'd reached the Carlton Hide, the clouds had really thickened, making it gloomy enough to consider calling it a day. Glad I didn't as I bumped into Jeff and later Max, for a bit of a chinwag. Not much around from that hide on the lake in front, but we did see a pair of bitterns flying around in the pool next to it, way too far off for shots though. Not that I'm in need of any!

Sunday was decided by a flip of a coin. Heads it'd be Upton Warren, and Tails Marsh Lane. The Queen's head pointed to UW, and another toss had me headed to the Flashes. I only had the morning to spend out and about as a game of snooker with family awaited after lunch.

I set up camp at the feeding station and watched the numerous finches, tits, buntings and ducks, darting, zipping and waddling around the area nicking bits of available food. A pair of male great spotted woodpeckers fought for drumming rights on the dead tree, and the winner took advantage, hammering away at hollow-sounding branches. A green woodpecker briefly stopped off on the same tree and was seen later on, on the telegraph pole behind.

Highlights for me were seeing a treecreeper scurrying up the tree with the feeders on, flocks of long-tailed tits swarming around the hide, and two fly-throughs by different sparrowhawks, within seconds of each other.

I have to rue the second flip of the coin though. Turns out that a goshawk was at the Moors, and I'd surely have seen it, had I been over there instead. Ah well, c'est la vie!

No comments: