So yesterday was supposed to be a cycle day but for some reason my lock decided to change its code of its own accord. Not something I'm particularly happy about and a hacksaw might be in order since life is a bit too short to go through all the possible permutations!
I headed towards Catcott but due to a slight miss turning I ended up at Tealham Moor. The same place James was at the other day and yep I saw the same Kestrel over the road and the same carcass in the field. Small world ah!

James's Kestrel

On the 'STRESS' post I got those, excuse my pride, rather good Kite pics up in Cambridgeshire. I tweeted them and got a decent response however when I tweeted the mildly interesting pic of the ten Herons in a ditch it all went crazy. In fact its still going a bit silly now four days later. Funny how people like that sort of thing.

With that in mind I happen to pass another ditch on Tealham. Now I promise you I wasn't looking for another one but hey I cant help it if a farmer has just dredged another ditch and I happen to drive past it just as the feeding frenzy starts!

For all you who loved the previous Ten Herons in a ditch..............

Nine Herons in a ditch

Nine Herons and two Little Egrets in a ditch

Slight improvement on the other day I think you'll agree.

I've recently purchased another M42 thread lens. Its another Takumar. This time the 28mm f3.5 wide angle. Thought I'd try out something a bit wider for landscape. Unfortunately on a crop camera (Canon 70D) it works out as a 45mm. I'm not entirely happy with it. It doesn't seem to have the same sharpness, colour and depth as the 50mm. All the landscape pics are the 28mm lens.

Tealham Moor

The Starlings were giving a good display with them flowing over the fields and at one point going up in a beautiful ball. Unfortunately I couldn't zoom out enough to get it. Grrr

I cruised around for a bit going back to 'that' ditch to see if their numbers count had gone up. There was another guy taking the same pic! He was only getting six Herons and the two Little Egrets. We had a good chat about Herons and blogging.

There was another Little Egret that had obviously not taken heed of Tufty (Google it if your under forty!!) and was standing in the middle of the road. Didn't get a pic of that infringement but did get it flying by

Little Egret

I'd had enough of the windswept Moors so headed over to Catcott for a bit of duck action and hopefully a Peregrine or two.

A few ducks as usual but no Peregrines. In fact there was no one else there. Totally alone. Just me a few hundred ducks and a couple of Roe Deer.

Roe Deer

Another Roe Deer

Catcott before the rains came

Catcott about a minute later

Wigeon waiting to get wet

At this point I was getting thoroughly cold. The sun was going in and out and rain threatened. Well it didn't threaten it did. The rain rained. I ran for it and packed up just as it all came down. Earlier I had text Mike (The Birdman). He had just finished doing a Crane walk and was heading to Greylake. I did the same

These bad boys couldn't care less about the rain

I arrived a few minutes before Mike and Carolyn and their dog...... erm...... Damn I knew I wouldn't manage all three names.

I amused myself from the car window with some choice little flitters.

Female Chaffinch

Female Chaffinch

Male Chaffinch

Female Chaffinch again

Starling. If this was rare we would be raving about it!

Reed Bunting

We wandered down to the main hide but on the way I discovered that the Birdman has his own Nemesis. There are a pair of Swans that often frequent the path and can be quit aggressive. (As James found out last year). Mike and the male Swan have a bit of history. The air was electric with the animosity between these two silver-backs of Greylake.

The hide had a steady change of visitors through the next couple of hours including one of Mikes friends who goes by the name of Mike. I'll remember that one I think. Very nice guy and like me doesn't believe that Bearded Tits exist. They are an invention to tease those not in 'The Club'. A great time was had between the three of us and lightened the dark of the day.

Just getting back to the great outside. I occasionally opened the window to receive an icy blast and take a couple of shots. There wasn't much going on bar a couple of Marsh Harriers way off in the distance bothering the ducks and a pair of Peregrines, again way off, except for one swift fly-by, also bothering them. We spied the Peregrines on fences and ground at a distance.

View from the hide

Assorted Duck

Duck being bothered one way

Duck being bothered the other way

While this was happening the Coots were getting all testosteroney 

A Botheration

Another Botheration

A 'can't be bothered' Peregrine at about 1km using my x2 converter

In the end it was a great day thanks to Mike and Mike the Birdman Silver-backed Swan Botherer. A bit of deja vu, a bit of tension, a bit of rain, a bit of sun and a jolly good laugh.


A Tad more


I am praying for a silent night...

Sleep.  Its a wonderful thing.  I haven't had a lot recently.  My daughter was awake until 3:45 last night/this morning.  A tad late/early for anybody.  As I write this things have gone well.  Shes asleep and my wife has gone to see a film (the naughty one that is out at the moment).  I saw the clip and thought it looked dull and grey (in all its shades).  Ahem.

Before i fall asleep i will get this over with.

Because I was knackered today and because I had the munchies (it always happens when you don't sleep) I firstly visited the chippie to meet an old work colleague.  I then headed to Catcott  Tadham/Tealham.  Due to me being exhausted I thought I could simply look at birds from the car.

I immediately got stuck behind a lycra clad cyclist.  Anyone who has been down here knows that the road is narrow and overtaking is tricky.  However I was quite content being stuck and tootled along looking for stuff. Tadham was alive with Grey herons along with Little egrets who were fighting and squabbling with each other.  This one looked a tad late for work.

He just needs a briefcase

Busily squawking and generally being noisy

A few Buzzards were sat about the place but were quick to depart as soon as I even thought about taking a photo.

I overtook the cyclist and noticed a Kestrel doing what kestrels do (hovering).  It then dropped down onto a gate post.  Knowing full well it would fly off if I stopped next to it i carried on, hoping that i could perhaps get it on the return pass.  But then I realised the cyclist was fast approaching behind me.  The Kestrel would surely fly off if the rider went passed.  Arrrhhhh!!!! I had but a moment.  I hit the breaks, and brazenly wound down the window, leaned across and...

Unbelievable!!! Easily the closest I have got.

Moments later red lycra slipped passed me and the Kestrel was gone.  Never mind.  I was happy.

Near to the Kestrel I noticed a bit of a bloody mess...

Spare ribs are good for curing the munchies, but not these...

Not sure what happened here.  Fox maybe? 

The remainder of the visit was spent with me driving up the road and back down a few times, chasing Egrets and another kestrel.  But with no success.  Still I enjoyed it at Tadham moor.  In fact I liked it so much I'm going to go a tad more :-)

Sleep well.




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

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

As above

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.



Barnacle Geese

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!