(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
I was looking forward to a quieter day after the heady heights of yesterday and I sort of got it. I thought I would be frying solo as well but that didn't workout either. Just a short trip down to Hamwall and Shapwick to see the first of this years Swifts and Hobbys. I didn't tell anyone this but as I stopped at Aqueduct Crossing I did see three Swifts way up high. I wasn't totally convinced until what happened later.
Usually nice sunny days is and excuse for wildlife to have a bit of a day off but not today for some. Buzzards were everywhere. Mostly way up high resting on the thermals. We were counting them in sixes and sevens and more. No Kites today though.
One of the Buzzards
VP2 was beautiful in the sunshine if bloody cold in a perpetual breeze. Little to look at save for the Buzzards. A few distant Marsh harriers and a couple of low flying Great White Egrets that did what Swans usually do and fly right overhead. Unfortunately I was looking the wrong way at the time! This big bugger flew by with an ominous low drone. A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III (Apparently!!)
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III
The day was going nice and quietly. I needed a bit of a come down! A few random bird shots were in order.
Great White Egret
And there they were. Swifts. My first of the year. This is officially it for me now. Summer is happening. Swifts, as some of you may know are my all time favourite bird. To me they are just perfect. If I was to design a bird this would be it. Wouldn't change a think. Love 'em. There were six all together. You know what it's like, you see one then there are dozens.
James couldn't make it today and I was feeling a little more guilty as I text him to give him the
good bad news. A few minutes later I got a call. He was on his way. I also text Mike 'The birdman' Tout. A couple of minutes later I got a text from him telling me he had seen them at VP1. Not one to pass up a chance of a good chat I packed up and hopped over to VP1. We picked up from yesterday and chewed the fat. More Swifts came and went along with Sand and House Martins plus the occasional Swallow. A full set.
There was a White Throat displaying and making a racket close by. Who could resist!
A Black Cap came by
Male Black Cap
James: I squeezed in a few hours this afternoon and got to Ham Wall. I immediately got distracted by the small flitty birds along the track...
Slightly daft looking Blackbird
One of my favourites. Gold Finch. Hard to get!
Chaffinch giving it some
Its a Robin on a stick. Very rare.
Whitethroat - first of the year for me!
While snapping away I realised I knew the guy standing next to me. It was our old friend Robin Morrison. It took him a while to recognise me through my shades! We caught up and discussed which bird we would get with the Tor in the background. Good luck with that Kingfisher!!
White Throat in full song
Swift (With no head!!!)
Hercules Showing well and low
James finally turned up and it all went quiet. He's a bit fated of late. But we caught up which was cool. Then yet another familiar face turns up. This guy...............
Actually It was Lee Dutton that well known RSPB volunteer and tweeter. Again we chewed the fat and discussed camera lenses. By now James was getting itchy feet and needed something interesting to look at. He popped down to the Tor hide to see whats what. What was what was three Bitterns that Lee spotted far off on the opposite side of the reserve. They appear regularly according to Lee.
Three Bitterns a VERY long way away
James came back from the Tor hide just as they went down again.
I gave Lee a go of my 70D and 100-400L. This is what I found on my camera.............
Arguably the best shot of a White Throat of the day. Look at that composition. Look at the light, the textures, the bokeh. Amazing stuff
See above the above
It wasn't just Buzzards that were ten a penny today. This is the third of the day! Very low indeed.
Friends, who needs 'em!!
James: The Bitterns came back again...
Yes I know its a hundred miles away...