Monday, November 30, 2009

Waiting for the light

I'm glad to see the back of November. A dull, dull and pretty wet month where I was reduced to posting pictures of chaffinches on a birdtable. Last weekend there was a promise of some light between the showers so I headed for Slimbridge. If you are a member you can get in to some parts early, and I was pleased to find the one hide where you can get near the birds was empty. Not that I'm anti-social, but the punters at Slimbridge can be surprisingly noisy. Last time I was there 2 people (yeah. I'll say it - 2 women) had the water rail twitching when they were still 15 yards from the hide, and the volume didn't seem to drop as they came through the door. I know birds can tolerate noise, but there are limits. And they had all the kit - good coats, pricey bins, megaphones ...............
Anyway, there was some sunshine between the clouds, and some birds played ball. As usual the tufties dominated the space near the hide, mostly snoozing, but occasionally giving a sly wink with that lovely golden eye.
The pochards were also about, and if you can find one preening and keep waiting eventually it will have a post-preen flap.
Maddeningly, the shoveller kept it's distance - will I ever get close to one?
But it's the chance to catch birds flying in that makes the fun. The greylags kicked up a spray feet in front of themselves, before settling down and trying to swallow a ball of food that was clearly over-ambitious. Or just plain greedy.
The Canada geese went in for some touching wingtip Red Arrows display flying.
A buzzard flew past, mobbed by crows, and upset the lapwings into flight.
But it was the Bewick's swan that was the star of the show. Looking at the train of pictures I felt I could print them off, hold them in a pile, and then flick through and make them look like they were flying.
Wandering home I called in at the Rushy, to find a shellduck shining
and my favourite (beautiful bird) the pintail doing a bit of posing and then having a damn good splash,

a post-preen flap

and finally a good laugh about it all.

As always better views on the web albums HERE
- look in latest pictures.

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