All round the houses


It's been a while what with one thing and another such as Christmas and all that but the EFRS found a window and jumped head long through it. Luckily it was on the ground floor and a tramp had conveniently left his rather worryingly odd stained king size memory foam mattress on the pavement outside and it hadn't rained the night before. But I digress wildly. The wait for James in the carpark was a bit odd. I was wondering whether to nip back in and grab my gyno lens to get the numerous bees and hover flies in the blooms. My four layers of warmth were beginning to feel a little extreme.

Then we were off. Erm well to the round about anyway. We stopped, looked at each other, looked at the three exits available and then realised we had no idea where to go. No biggy we were in the car so a back and forth sort of meander around the houses could be done. Catcott was the first. We were off. While there were quit a lot of birds minding their own business there was little activity. I concentrated on the manualfocusuk.com stuff instead.

Wigeon in flight

Where to now? Why make life easy for ourselves. Why not go over the hills and head to Greylake. Always a good bet and will probably see a few familiar faces.
It was while passing through Street that I had what can only be described as a vision! There is a park you pass on the A39. I glanced onto it as I drove and I will swear on my whole Takumar collections life that I saw good friends Mike Tout and his beloved Carolyn along with their pooch Scamp. They were close to the road both looking up at one of the trees and holding their bins against their chests. Gone in a flash I was still convinced. We stopped and tried to find the entrance to get into the park. It took a while. A lot of housing estates later we found it but they were gone. No sign what so ever, not even the campervan. Was it them? was I seeing things? Too much mince pies and port? Are you reading this Mike? Was that you? If you know anything please contact this guy...........

Parking up at Greylake the first thing we say were a couple of vaguely familiar faces. A couple of guys who you could say were kindred spirits. We wont mention any names, not for security reasons and to maintain an air of enigmatic mystery but purely because we can't for the life of us remember what their names are. But you know who you are. The 'front man' or the one who does all the talking, or doesn't shut up didn't shut up about Eavis, MP's, Blue Throats and Snipes on the reserve. The other one with dodgy facial hair and not in a hipster sort of way remained as silent as always. Silent but deadly judging by his escapades which will remain our little secret. Alter egos perhaps?
Things went a bit hush hush when, after a couple of wheel spins on the gravel carpark just to get our attention, Lord Morrison turns up right on cue. His mission today was to go right to the other end of the reserve where most of the action usually happens. We left him to it, left the chuckle brothers and headed off to the platform hide.

You will note that both James and myself just happen to have taken pretty much the same pictures. I'll leave them all in because, well we're both worth it!!


 Peregrine for 1000 miles away

My take on the Peregrine at 1000 miles

 Marsh Harrier from 999 miles away

I managed to get the pair of Marsh Harriers together. James noticed that one had something in its talons. He wasn't wrong. They were playing with a bulrush head!

Fun over and back to the serious stuff


Golden Plovers Black Tailed Godwits

A mixed bag

I do love Lapwings, possibly my second favourite bird. They are so neurotic and fly up at the slightest hint of a sparrows fart. They look so seventy's to. Those wide flared wings. But get them displaying and not a lot beats it for agility. Swooping down doubling back and just touching the wing tip on the water with a beautiful call to boot. A bird that just keeps on giving. With that in mind I went for the money shot of a wing tip on the water. One patch seemed to be their favourite so I took aim

Almost but no cigarette




Swans getting in on the act

Spot the Peregrine?

Just playing with them

So that was enough fun for now. We needed some desolate drama. I also needed some more manualfocusuk.com fun. You can see the results over on that site or clicking the logo up on the right hand side while James hunted for Short Eared Owls. We headed back again to the other side and to Tealham Moor. Nice and quiet but little to see except these Starlings waiting for the cue to head off to the rave in the reeds.

You know when your driving along and you see a perfect opportunity to snap a bird of prey that's just sitting there minding its own business in a tree or post right next to the road? We all know what happens don't we. Stop and crawl along or wind down that window and its gone! We did the opposite. I span the wheels and floored it towards this Kestrel that James had spotted ahead. It was looking the wrong way. A big blast on the horn soon got its attention. James snapped and got this peach of a pic. Did it fly off? Did it buggery. Sat there tutting and cursing the local yooff before looking for another small cute furry thing to rip to pieces.

Kestrel captured using the driver and gunner method

Walking along the old railway track at Hamwall just doesn't seem right. We should be cycling. We could have been at VP2 by now. Bloody 'ell it's a long way isn't it

James took this rather nice watery sun pic however it's not allowed in the manualfocusuk.com bit since it's auto focus. AUTOFOCUS ON THE SUN........  AUTOFOCUS ON THE SUN!!!!!! WHY!!!!!!

Same with this one

I was manfuk ing* at Hamwall so here's James' pics of the Starlings. We camped between VP1 and 2. I had a vibe that they would be coming down there. We waited and waited. Lots of people passed back and forth. Then we were alone. For good reason. The starlings went straight passed and headed to Shapwick. We saw a few glimpses above the trees but that was all. I did see where Lord Morrison was at this point. After his little jaunt at Greylake he was tucked up with an Ovaltine and Tarquin (His bear). Poor mite!

Don't mind us, just passing through

James did get possibly the best photo opportunity to snap a Marsh Harrier as one flew directly over head. Just the small detail of there not being any light. Oh well!

The best silhouette of a Marsh Harrier you are likely to see

So it was a pretty good day really. Five Marsh Harriers and thousands of Plovers and Lapwings plus thousands of Starlings, sort of, plus dozens of other ducks and a smattering of Snipe. It's also a good one to wrap up the year. It's been a blast for the EFRS and has seen the birth of another blog, manualfocusuk.com If you haven't seen it pop over. See you all next year and thanks for reading!!

* The unofficial abbreviation we use for manualfocusuk.com Also a cheap way to be rude.