Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Black neck, red eyes ...... lovely

In a parallel universe I might have ended up living in Frampton-on-Severn. We found a house we quite liked, at a price that was marginally less extortionate than most within commuting distance from Bristol (where I work). But I just didn't believe they really wanted to sell - the wife told us they'd already backed out of one sale at the last minute, and all the vibes were that she would do it again. Anyway, it wasn't quite right and we ended up much better off where we are.
I did spend quite a few hours fishing in the canal there (nice head of bream) on warm summer evenings before we finally moved house and Kay was able to join me down here. Since then the fishing time has been a bit tight, and the photos have taken over.
A black necked grebe had been reported from one of the old gravel pits there, and I decided to risk the predicted mist on Sunday morning to seek it out. In fact I left the house and drove there in full sun, thumbing my nose at the met office again. By the time I had got there though the mist was closing in.
The thing with arriving at a new site is that you don't know which way to go. Lakes are, figuratively at least, round, so ultimately you will end up where you started. Inevitably I guessed wrong and walked a long way to the right, instead of 50 yards to the left. Not that it really mattered as the mist was closing in even more, and the light was shocking.
However, nearly back where I started I found it out in the middle with the coots. Not exactly in frame filling range, but better than not finding it.
Camera down, sit down and wait. The sailing club had come to life, and the first yachts appeared through the gloom. Not so much racing as drifting across the flat calm. They did however disturb the coot flock, and suddenly a small shape detached and headed to shore. Right to shore. A dive, and the water surface erupted in a spray of fry. And that was the pattern for the next 4 or 5 minutes. Grab some shots when the bird surfaced, watch for movement and try and anticipate the next appearance. At one point the grebe shot 6 inches clear of the water so fast was it chasing something. At first I kicked myself for missing the shot, but on reflection no-one could have got it as there was no way of knowing where the bird was. Really, I'm sure. No, honestly, I am.
The light wasn't great, and the snaps are almost monochrome but for that gorgeous pair of red eyes. But a good morning - some exercise and another footy-arse to add to the collection.
As always you can find better quality versions of the pictures
in my 'latest pictures' web album here

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