(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
Work? Nah that was the easy bit. Its getting to and from there that does it. Now I'm a sanguin sort of driver. I just sit back, pop the radio on and go with the flow. If I'm late I'm late. The last couple of days saw me in Cambridgeshire. A very nice place if not exactly exciting countryside wise. Anyway I did my research and ended up at Paxton Pit. This is where the stress started. I happened to look at the battery indicator and it was only one third full. I am a bit paranoid about finite things such as batteries and gas canisters etc. I MUST have them topped up at all times. It was no exception with the batteries. They were fully charged only a day before. I'm putting it down to maybe a button being pressed in the bag while driving since I had left it on. (4min auto switch off if you're wondering) Every shot had to count. Who knows how long I had. Luckily I have a battery grip so I did have two almost empty batteries.
Its quite a large old pit, now a series of ponds with woodland in between. I liked it. Unfortunately I got there a bit late and only had an hour or so of daylight. I made the most of it at the Kingfisher Hide which is a tiny shed at the end of a spit of land that juts out into the waters. Good viewing point I must say. An old boy gave me the heads up on some Golden Eye that were doing a bit of mating dancing. All I could see were some Tufted Ducks. Easy mistake I suppose. But no he was right.
Golden Eye Pair
Male Golden Eye about to get run over!
Would you believe I've never seen a Golden Eye before! Well now I have. The swans were looking very romantic on the still waters.
Mute Swan - Awww
And that was it for Paxton Pits. The Cormorant Roost on the opposite bank was interesting. Other than that I was off to the hotel for the night.
On the way there I did indulge in a bit of artsy stuff just to keep my hand in.
Next morning was as beautiful as the last. Wonderfull clear skies that cried out for something to photograph. I had planned on getting back nice and early and head to something a bit more local. That didn't work out. Not far into the four hour journey on the A14 I spied a pair of Kites flying low in a field close by. Luckily I could turn off onto a little track and stop. They were a bit away but still worth a pop. Little did I know this would happen!! (Apologies for the indulgence but hey they are a bit impressive. Much better than the flat efforts of Mid Wales). Also bare in mind that my stress levels were getting a bit high since I thought I had used up pretty much all my battery. I was down to one bar at this stage.
Possibly the best shot with a power cable in the way!
Again another real goody with a branch in front!
Love the fact they are looking at each other
This is more for the effect rather than the quality
Again having a quick look
This pair were joined by another which did interact briefly but kept itself to itself. All told there were five but these three definitely knew each other. No hostility. Im guessing they were siblings. They patrolled too and thro along the A14 for about a mile. I was at one end of the patrol. The other was a distant wood. All the time these two stayed as a pair. They and the third also perched in a tree very close. Not often you see a Kite perching. I soon found out why.
Kite on a nest. It seems a bit small to me so maybe an old Crows nest?
This was heaven. They didn't bother about me at all. Just having a good time together flying just above the tree tops. Sometimes swooping low in the fields. Yes it was heaven but also stress hell. My batteries, my batteries. The indicator started to flash now. Minutes left and a really amazing money shot is going to happen just as the last flicker of life goes out my 70D
With a sigh I packed up and headed off home. Four hours later I needed some destressing. So I ended up here.................
Aahh Catcott Lows. Peace and tranquility.
Catcott Lows is possibly the most serene of Somersets reserves. Other than the hide you get little disturbance and even then the people who go there tend to be the quiet types. An hour here will bring me down from the buzz of the M5...... and M42....... and M6....... and A14...... and...... you get the idea. Stress was over. Aaahhh. Unfortunately I am my worst own enemy and I had taken my camera out just in case. Still flashing I gave it a shot.
Widgeon givin' it some
Widgeon in flight
Just the one Widgeon in flight
At one point I thought I'd get the first picture above of the lake so I was half way through switching to my 50mm and all hell broke loose. They all went up. When I had finally got my 400mm back on and popped my head up they had all calmed down! 'What?' I said out loud expecting a Merlin wizing around. Nothing! Just a load of paranoid ducks.
By this time the battery indicator wasn't flashing anymore. This is because there wasn't a battery indicator. It was so low it had given up bothering to tell me how little battery I had left. It started to just not do anything. No autofocus or stabilization. (Thinking about it now I should have switched them off shouldn't I. Oh well.) As it was giving up I saw a big raptor drifting right towards me. 'Oh for heavens sake a Male Marsh Harrier is going to fly right over me isnt it just as I loose power' I exclaimed out loud to no one in particular. Well no one at all since I was alone next to the hide. I'm not sure anyone in the hide actually heard me. Fortunately it was only this..........
'Only' a Buzzard
Swans getting a bit romantic or he's giving her a telling off.
Ok I give up. I'm de-stressed or stressed enough. I'm going home. By now the fuel warning light was on in my car. Ahhhhhh!!!!
On the way a bizarre sight caught me along Burtle Road between Burtle and the Peat works.
There were ten in total. Nine in the pic if you look closely
Starting the engine to carry on resulted in an engine warning light coming on. Aaaaahhhh!!!! Stopping for the Herons meant I was now stuck behind a tractor pulling a digger going five mph. AAAHHHH!!!! But no. I wasnt that stressed now. The sun was going golden, the fields and trees were exquisite in the light. I didn't have to rush home. Ah! relax. Thankfully I was a bit more relaxed than the Merc 4x4 driver stuck immediately behind the tractor. He was trying to overtake him on a single track road for about four miles. Weaving back and forth.
Relax you could be bird watching!