Monday, 9 May 2011

Local Delights

After taking Dad to see the seasonal stars at the Flashes, such as the avocets, common and green sandpipers, I was chuffed that he'd got to see some new birds - I'll get him to start making a list one day! Being such a calm day, the avocets gave great reflections on the mirror-like water, and better still, came pretty close to the hide.

They look so elegant, until they start protecting their young later in the year. So I was expecting to see some lovely shots from Dad, but was surprised further when he presented some wonderful shots of great crested grebes he'd been fortunate enough to see locally (Bittell), where the parent birds were feeding their young, nestled snuggly on the back of one of the adults.

Needless to say, I shot off down there as soon as possible, though initially the birds (2 adults and 4 chicks) kept their distance. You don't get anything in this game by giving up, so I tried again, and then again on another day. At the 4th attempt, when driving past on a whim, I spotted that the birds were close to the road, so parked up, and scuttled back to the lakeside for some shots.

What a fabulous sight, watching the chicks riding around on the back of a parent, their humbug-like heads peeking out from the feathers, occasionally disappearing completely from view. And the other parent, out fishing, bringing back tiddlers for the chicks to scoff.

At one point, the fishing grebe brought back a fish that seemed a tad too large for the chicks, but systematically tried to feed it to each chick, moving on to the next when it failed to consume it. Probably annoying for the birds, but provided fantastic photo opportunities for me, stood nearby.

Eventually the fish was eaten by the fisher, who promptly returned with a smaller one, for a lucky chick to scoff down.

The calm water also allowed me to get some reflection shots of the grebe carrying the chicks, and reminded me that I don't always need to drive miles to get good photos.

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