(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
Hello! Yes we're still here! You'r reading this quite a while after the event due to unforeseen circumstances so apologies to you all. There may be some omissions of the tale due to age and incontinence or is that incompetence. Well what you don't know you wont miss. So on with the tale of a potential new era in the EFRS.
Erm! how did it all begin? Hmmm..... Oh yes we were supposed to do a cycle around Steart then we decided it was a bit chilly so a cycle along the usual route then we admitted defeat and plumped for Grey Lake. This conveniently gave us the excuse to not take the bikes as it's a bit too far away for all that. You wouldn't catch me cycling along the A39 anyway.
So we were off to the haunt of the likes of Mike Tout and Carl Bovis. Neither were there as we practically had the place to ourselves. Save for a small group of four in the main hide we had the cammo raised hide all to our selves.
'Tis the time for Fieldfare and Redwings
Rather nice Reed Bunting by James from the safety of the Carpark
The sight that welcomed us at the Hide.
It wasn't long before we saw the cause not one but two Marsh Harriers and a rather plump and well fed Female Peregrine. When they were on the prowl they set the whole lot up.
Spot the Pintail
That Pintail again
The Peregrine having a look-see
Having a rest
Peregrine and Great White Egret
Peregrine on her own
Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and Crow
Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and Grey Heron
While she had another rest the Crow and Marsh Harrier did another turn
Ah! she's back
Far off at the back of the reserve there were murmerations occurin'
Lapwing were up and off
Enough of the raptors what about their food?
How cute are Teal?
Shoveler the odd one out here
That was Greylake very dark and very grey with only the odd glimpse of pale blue between the dark clouds. We'd had enough and began to realise why everyone else was in IKEA that Saturday. We however were made of sterner stuff. We headed back over to Catcott for more action. I was determined to see this Hen Harrier that Lee Dutton had seen on more that one occasion. Why should he have all the luck. Perhaps his regulation blue RSPB flees had something to do with it? Perks of the job perhaps??
Unfortunately Catcott was having one of it's quiet days. It's an odd place like that and often either feast or famine. It was definitely famine today.
Coot chocking on a reed
The Wigeon getting territorial
To encourage something a little more exciting James went for a stroll back up the track. He came back pretty soon with the same picture count that he left with.
Being a little down at heart we wondered what to do. James had a stroke of genius. With a deduction worthy of Sherlock Homes himself he calculated that Tealham Moor would be good for close up birds. We headed straight there without delay. With slightly less deductive powers he had also predicted a hive of activity amongst the Heronry which there was nothing but a few dead twigs falling silently in the breeze from the skeleton trees still waiting for the birth of the next generations of themselves and the birds.
He was spot on about Tealham though. His reasoning being that it was quiet especially with cyclists so birds would be more inclined to go towards the edge of the roads. But how would we do this? Would we wander walking down the road or drive and stop at spots along the way. We did neither. We cruised along. I did the driving in my corporate chariot which is more used to cruising at 80 up and down the countries motorways all day so a gentle crawl at 12mph along a single track was probably a blessed relief. It was for me, thats why I do this and you do to more than likely.
Great White and Little Egrets
We ended up by the T junction passed the bridge with James very happy save for the fact we had not seen a Kestrel all day. There's usually one or two around but not here. His eye was in however and called for a halt. There was one sitting on a gate. He got him. As is often the case if you try and stalk a bird they sit there and think "Why is that thing stalking me? I'd better fly away" so they do. If you just drive up and stop, wined your camera out and snap without a care in the world they often don't take a blind bit of notice. Which is what we did.
Feeling a little left out it was my turn to snap on the return journey
Rather demure teenage Signet/Swan
Crow eating what looks like a Shrew
And James doing Artsy!
With our ardor up we were on a roll and getting excited. So excited that we screeched to a halt (Well as screechy as 12mph will get you!) and spotted another Great White Egret along a rhyne.
'That' Great White Egret
With a bit of a giggle we called it a day and drove home but not before stopping at a sorry figure looking forlornly into the fields yonder. He spun round as we stopped to enquire as to what he was looking for. It was non other than Cliff Smith (Twitter name: @01000011S ) looking for the White Fronted Geese. Someone else who spends a lot of his time sprinting up and down the motorways of Britain but for more pleasurable motives. He's an ardent twitcher of the highest order. I often admire his determination on Twitter when I read where he's been gallivanting off to. He had managed to see some Golden Plovers! We thought of stopping at the Sheppey as it has been a while but it was early Sunday afternoon and roast was still in full swing. We settled for the G&P in Glasto but not before I had thought I had seen my first......... I stopped and with hushed tones proclaimed to James. "I think I've just seen my first Little Owl". I reversed slowly to the Pillbox by the road looking into the gun slit preparing to see the grumpy look of an owl.............
'That' Little Owl
It was a good day in all. Greylake produced, Catcott had its ducks and Tealham was full of it. James did well with his prediction. You could say he was on it like a car bonnet. EFRS had discovered a new way of doing things and with our gathering years perhaps this could be the norm? I doubt it folks. We'll be back on two wheels in no time. Well once the weather warms up and the bones stop aching and the back stops playing up and as soon as I find that tube of Wintergreen and thermal socks.
Just to show Lee Dutton we're still on the ball I let him know we had seen a Peregrine. His reply? He saw FIVE!! Two sitting next to each other. I was right, perks of the job init!!