Tuesday 27 April 2010

Rutland Again

Second visit of the year to Rutland yielded a bit more in terms of subjects to photograph. I aimed for the Lyndon side of the reserve to meet up with Ian, who is kindly helping with the Osprey Watch programme this year, which meant we were sat in the furthest hide from the centre, but quite close to the nesting site.

The hide was already very busy when I arrived, so I squeezed in next to Ian until a window became free, which it did eventually, and was right at the far end of the hide, by the side window. This turned out to be a good thing, as the ospreys didn't really do very much. Male was far more interested in hopping on the back of the female than it was catching fish for her, so spent little time flying around.

Still, on a brief flight it circled reasonably close to the hide and we bailed out the back to the path for a easier view of it.

Aside from the ospreys, there wasn't a great deal to watch bird-wise. A lone heron mooched about in the shallows, several martins fluttered aross the surface and occasionally perched on the wire fence, a pair of oystercatchers put in a brief appearance and coots made for moments of entertainment as they chased each other over the water.

The main interesting moments from the day came after a lady taking in some rays out of the back of the hide, spotted a grass snake slithering along. It had gone under the hide by the time we scrambled outside, but I hoped it would appear from the shade beside the window I was peering out of. It did, and proceeded to attack toads that were creeping about in the undergrowth!

The first one it attacked proved to be a bloody affair, and ended with some or maybe all (couldn't see past the leaves) of the toad being swallowed. Alas the sun was facing me so shots were difficult to get right.

Later though, I spotted the snake right beneath the window, battling with an even larger toad, amongst the leaves of some stinging nettles. This time Mr Toad was way too big to be swallowed and despite all its biting, jaw-dislocating and wrestling, its efforts were in vain and it had to give up, allowing a fed-up looking toad to trudge off, and the snake to go on in search of a smaller meal.

It also reminded me why I love my 100-400mm lens so much. The quality isn't the same as the 500mm, but the ease of use for such moments makes it the perfect carry-about lens.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a lucky Toad.