(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
For a few weeks now we've been saying what a wonderful summers day it's been. Well we were lying. It was all wishful thinking. They were actually only the beginning of the end of spring. Today however was almost the real deal. That sun was a proper sun, that blue sky was a proper blue, that breeze was a proper breeze. All in all it was the perfect combination after all we are British and you don't want it too warm now do you.
The idea of the day was to take it back to the good old days when James and I had the bright idea of starting this bloody blog. A nice day out with lots of birds, lots of banter, lots of beer and a bit of cycling. This was the plan and that's how it happened. (You were expecting a 'but' there weren't you). Nope it started as it usually did with not a lot of activity. VP2 and 1 at Hamwall were quiete and our spirits dropped a little thinking we would not have much to report. We then reminded ourselves that this is exactly how these things pan out.
At this point I must make a bit of a confession. I'm writing this with three pints of cider in me and all the pictures that are ready to load are not in chronological order. So while I sort myself out and work out which picture of a swan was taken before or after the Hobby picture here's a picture of some pretty flowers taken. . . . . erm sometime before or after the swan took the head off a small child. . . . enjoy
(Best viewed while humming the theme from the Gallery sequence of Vision On)
Ok I think I've remembered what was what.....................
We went through to the Scrape where not a lot was happening. A guy walked passed and informed us of a Cuckoo in plain view and a pair of Bearded Tits just up the track. We were off. We stopped at the cross roads of Noahs hide and Mear Hide. Somewhere we had not really bothered with before despite being a nice little spot. The waters just in front of the bench is a particularly beautiful sight. A Grey Heron making a perfect photo opportunity.
It suddenly all started to get exciting. There was pair of Woodpeckers gathering insects for the young, a Cuckoo flying strait over head, a White Throat sing its heart out and a low level Hobby.
Cuckoo coming atcha!
At one point James got a bit distracted by the fish under the bridge. In particular a rather hansom Pike...
An excellent shot of a Broad Bodied Chaser by James
So we were thinking of moving on when we heard the distintive sound of a Swan taking off. Six in total came straight down the water and only just missed a small child on the bridge. That would have made an excellent picture but we weren't quick enough. Instead James managed what is possibly the best non cropped picture he's ever taken!!
The best picture James has or will ever take!
And my effort
Two Bitterns went across the path. James managed it but my manual focus let me down
James' arty moment!
I took this shot of a distant pair of birds and I'm not sure what they are. Any comments would be appreciated. They are probably young Gulls but you never know.
So we moved on stopping only to get this one eyed chap at an undisclosed location. Last time I saw him he had two eyes. Not sure what happened but he's doing ok.
One eyed rat!
Next stop was London Drove. We didn't stop much along the way but headed to the hide at the bottom. Quit a few people in there but they did the traditional thing and left as we arrived. As for birds it was a bit thin on the ground but macro saved the day.
Possibly the best macro pic I have or will ever take.
As for birds we spotted a Male Marsh Harrier and one Cuckoo along the way.
The debrief was calling and we sped off back up the track to head to Godney but not before James decided to stop by the fields being harvested at the entrance. He had spotted one Buzzard and wanted a picture. I carried on only to stop dead at the next field where there were over forty of them flying or walking through the field along with all the Herring Gulls. It was quite a sight and kept us amused for quite some time. I was a little dismissive of James' insistence he had spotted a Red Kite. Indeed he did. His Red Kite duck was broken for the year.
Take note Mr Morrison
So what more! We well deserved a debrief now.
The Sheppy was looking as uber cool as always. The beer even better.
The view was pretty cool
This Sparrow Hawk flew past twice. I didn't realise James had snapped it
What more would a cat want!!
The sun was warm but not hot, the beer was cool but not too warm and the breeze was refreshing but not too cool. It all added up to a perfect end to a day. We had our cameras with us and managed this shot
We had to leave unfortunately so mounting our bikes we rode off. Now I don't condone this but I must admit to having a few. The ride home did seem rather hard compared to previous. The rear end sliding around a bit. I put this down to the ale until I looked down and realised I had a flat! Why is it always the rear one!! The one that's a pain to change. Changing a puncture while merry is an interesting experience and takes a little longer than expected!
Blackbird on an Ivy post
But you'll be glad to know I made it home safely.
We did aim to meet up with Robin Morrison but missed him, probably by a whisker. He did get some excellent shots of two Bitterns and three Cuckoos in flight. Well done, a bit better than we managed at Hamwall but we had better beer :¬P