Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Egret entropy

I've written before about our local wetland - the Nedern.  In the winter the fields flood bringing in a range of winter wildfowl and waders, and look like a lake rather than the huge puddle it is.
Through spring and summer the land dries out to a variable extent, some years like this one becoming completely dry.  There comes a time when the lake has reduced to a series of small pools and that is when the opportunity to snap the local egrets presents itself.  I am amazed at the sheer number of sticklebacks that end up concentrated in these pools, bringing in the birds.

So it was a few weeks ago the accessible pools were 'just right' and I went down early morning to see what might come in.

First visitor a wagtail, followed closely I was pleased to see by a pair of lapwing. 
The the first of 2 egrets drifted in.  As I wasn't using a hide, just lying under some scrim I wondered if they would spook, but at times they were too close for me to focus. 

There was quite a bit of plant material determined to spoil the view, but I got a few shots of the birds stalking ........

and then striking.  Interesting to see the eyes still open mid-strike.

I've always loved the concept of entropy.  If you ignore the thermodynamic definition the easiest way to think of this is the inevitable process of order descending into chaos.  If you leave them alone things fall apart - always. My favourite shot of the session shows an egret appearing to do just that, as it shakes post preen.

You can see why the milliners loved the plumes.

Monday, August 01, 2016

The redcaps are here

A regular visitor to the woodland feeding station and pool recently is one or more young great spotted woodpecker.

I wrote a while ago about finding the nest - not so hard given how noisy the young are.  I got some shots of the adults visiting with food, the male slightly more wary at first, pausing first before going to the nest hole
and carrying away what I presume were faecal sacs, apparently mixed with sawdust!
but what I really wanted was the shot of the youngsters themselves.  Eventually there was a glimpse of a red head

and over the next few days increasingly confident birds appeared more often.

The ultimate shot I suppose is the feeding shot of an adult with a youngster leaning well out of the hole.  Never quite saw that but didn't want to trouble them too much and was happy enough with this view.

In truth the birds at the feeding station are in a second copse a few hundred yards away, so probably from another nest, but still nice to see.
More to come from the feeding station pool in the future.