May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.
We have been having some very dull and misty weather and it seems every time I decide to have an afternoon out birding, by the time I arrive at my proposed destination the weather turns dire.
So after these complaints I firstly was on my way to Eyebrook when the phone rang and a friend asked as to where I was going, but then asked if I could go to Rutland instead as a member of his local bird club was going to be at Rutland, So it was a case of change of venue and I was to meet up with Ben in the car park at the Egleton Reserve.
On arrival I met up with the gent and we got underway heading for the hides, I enquired as to what he really wanted to see and top of his list was a Male Smew. A bird had been seen on Lagoon 1 that morning but had later flown away towards Eyebrook. Our first Hide to visit was Grebe and upon opening the shutter with my first look out with the bins, I saw a Male, a very long distance away but it was a Smew.
So we gave it a while as it appeared to be drifting towards us and came within 290 metres, with them being such a small duck the auto focus was finding it very difficult to get and hold a decent focus but the results are below.
After seeing this duck the sun went in and it became even more difficult to get any decent images.
RUTLAND WATER EGLETON RESERVE.
20th December 2018.
Having drifted slightly closer it then decided to turn its back on us.
It then flew a short distance and appeared behind a small island. After this we visited the other hides in case we could find a closer specimen but it was not to be. After this the sun departed us, whats new???
Hebridean Ram, Near Shoveler Hide.
As we walked out of the Hide, these sheep came to see I'm sure thinking we had brought some food for them. When we headed back to the centre the farmer had turned up and was feeding them at the gate.
After visiting the centre on the way back to the car park, I got underway home and Ben headed for Norfolk as he was visiting Titchwell Reserve on the Friday.We said our goodbyes and after an excellent afternoon together we got underway.
27th December 2018.
By the time I arrived it had become very dull and misty and for a time I had some misily rain, just perfect weather for getting some decent images.
However the afternoon was not totally wasted as will be revealed.
Kestrel, Upper Bunker Hide.
Upon arrival i had a drive round the area mostly initially looking for Red Kites but on arriving at the reservoir I visited both the hides and found this bird. It was by then raining so I headed back to the car to look for the Bewick Swan.
Bewick Swan, Fields Opposite the Fishery entrance gate .
This Swan had been around for a few days but certainly took some finding. I eventually found it in a field with an adult and juvenile Mute Swan. Trouble was it was just over 350 metres away and it was turning misty.
Short Eared Owl, Between Horninghold and Great Eaton.
I had another drive around looking for Red Kites and saw this bird in a field at the side of the Road, Luckily I had turned up the ISO to 5000 as only after taking about a dozen images and the bird heading away I found I had somehow switched off the VR so not the sharpest of images, not the easiest thing hand holding a 600mm lens and trying to follow the bird without any shake. The rest were all rubbish. But after this I decided to return and have another go for this Shortie.
3rd January 2019.
I decided to have another visit for the Short Eared Owl and arrived at the Reservoir for about 12.50 hrs on another dull day, I wish it would turn colder and perhaps we would get some sun. I had a good look around the Reservoir with another gent looking for the Smew of which we found ten, seven Red Heads and three Males but they were all much to far a distance to even consider even attempting any images, I will try again next time.
Greylag Goose, Lower Bunker Hide.
On arriving in the hide this goose was walking by not far from the water but in the Marsh grass so it was a case of shooting when it was least obscured.
Golden Plover and Lapwing, Upper Bunker Hide.
These birds were about 200 metres away, I have never managed a decent image of a Golden Plover.
Fieldfare, Stoke Dry.
This tree was initially full of birds as I approached, but by the time I got within about 50 metres only this solitary bird remained.
I then decide to go on a Shortie hunt and headed to the area where I had seen the bird the previous week, as I got nearer I thought I would stop in the gateway where I had last seen the bird but then at the last second decided to drive past and go to where I first saw the bird only to travel about 50 metres up the road when the owl flew about 3 metres above the car from right to left, the language was choice, luckily I was on my own, just me and a passing Owl.
Short Eared Owl, Near Eyebrook Reservoir.
This time I checked that the VR was switched on, this bird is I'm sure the same bird I saw from the upper bunker hide at the Reservoir. The only problem being the area it appears to be feeding over. One minute it was next to the road, unfortunately the roadside hedge is in excess of 3 metres high so its not possible to follow the bird that well from the road, its a case of standing by the field gates and waiting for it to come my way. For these images I had to shoot at ISO 4000 but wished I had gone to 5000, it was still very cloudy and it was starting to get dark.
Before I took these images I had spotted the bird at the top of the hill a good mile away, it then came towards me but vanished into a valley only to re appear and fly towards me, in these images the bird was about 200 metres away.
It then did an about turn and headed for the side hedge and disappeared over it into the next field and as it was time for me to head for home I gave it best. Next sunny day I intend to have another try.
Thank you for your visit. I hope you have enjoyed your visit as much as I have in the getting of the images.
I also hope for some brighter weather so I stand a better chance of some decent images.