Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A season of loaves and fishes

As if a switch had been flicked the local farmers all started to bring in the crops - cut, turn and bale the hay, combine the grain and bale the straw, this week lifting the spuds.  I was walking back from a failed attempt to get some wide-angled shots of the foxes and thought I'd snatch a snap of the baler working into the night, village houses in the background.  An blur of light and dust.
The last time the hay was cut was the first time I had good views of the foxes - 4 at that time.  This time too in one of the fields a fox was out.  I presume there are casualties; voles, maybe even harvest mice although I've never heard tell of any hereabouts.  This evening though the fox just had a wander around and a good stretch.
With Kay away for the weekend I had some plans.  I couldn't travel, but there were still options - wheatear?  Nothing to see down at Black Rock when the dog and I had a look.  What about the buzzard - the stubble and brown earth might make a good backdrop - but no roadkill rabbits to be found on my dawn tour of the likely spots.  So the fallback was the Nedern.

I've written before about the local wetlands.  Some summers the fields dry completely leaving the horses to wander through the bistort.  They'll walk through the water too if needs be but this year there has only been the odd small patch of water left.  Still there have been plenty of egrets and herons about so I set myself up in a chair with a sheet of camo draped over me and my new toy.  I've finally taken the plunge and bought a big lens - in truth probably too big for the job today, but I wanted to try it.

After the first half hour all that had shown was a grey wagtail. 
I knew the herons might be too wary and at least it would be a waiting game, but I suddenly realised I had a visitor on one of the old fence posts.

It caught several sticklebacks in short succession, then, as I knew it would, headed for pastures new.  I grabbed the chance to move my set up forwards and shoved a branch into the bed of the pool.  Fingers crossed - and not for long. First onto the fence post again, but after the first dive onto the branch for the rest of it's stay.  Light wasn't best angle, but I was pleased with the results.
After the last dive it left it's catch on the branch.  In the viewfinder I thought it was a newt, but once home it was clearly a stickleback spiny pelvic fins extended.

I decided to try again later in the day.  I knew I could get better lighting, but it did depend on the bird coming back - which it didn't!  However this time an egret did drop in and filled the viewfinder as it stalked around, sometimes so close I didn't even try moving the lens for fear of scaring it.
To close a grey heron, which was stalking around in the distance, caught something.  I could see it wasn't a stickleback, but it took the big lens and a crop to reveal that it's catch was a reasonable sized eel.

That was the last before the sun went behind the trees.  A good, good day.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Lovely series.