Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Monday, 13 April 2009

Given the run around by a couple of birds.

After my outing at the weekend, whilst I was at Summer Leys, I was certain I could hear a Sedge Warbler amongst the tangled bushes and trees. Try as I may, I couldn’t locate it, so that was that.
Monday, I had a famous day off work, so I set off to local 2, Willen Lake. If there were to be Sedge Warblers to be had, this was going to be the place. Last year, Reed and Sedge Warblers seemed to have exclusive rights on the lake.
I needed to get there early, because Willen is a hive of activity on a Holiday Monday. I think half the population of Milton Keynes descend on its shores; thankfully mainly the south part. I was heading north.

I made my way to the hide, passing the reed beds and bushes along the way, and sure enough, I heard his animated chattering voice taunting me. I stopped for a while, but he was being the master of disguise again. Couldn’t spot him anywhere. I carried on, and reached the hide.
A couple of Oystercatchers over by the island with some Lapwing and Canada Geese. Teal swimming around, pair of Gadwall, a Snipe hiding in the reeds and……...........
Sedge Warbler off to the right, in the bushes chattering away. Then the Cetti’s barked back. Sounds like a challenge. Come and find us!

Another birdwatcher sat down near me, and began scanning the island. 'Pink Footed Goose', he whispered. ‘With the Greylag.’
Sure enough, there it was. I’d missed it earlier.
‘Thanks’, I said. First time I’ve seen one of those.

We chatted for a while, noting a Little Egret flying into the tree with the nesting Herons. A pair of Great Crested Grebes were mating on their scruffy looking nest, floating just in front of the hide, and then the Cetti’s shouted again.

I left the man, and went in search of my quarry. Just down from the hide, is a break in the bushes, and for a short few weeks before nature takes hold, it’s just about manageable to get through. I crept along, listening with straining ears. I could hear the Sedge Warbler, just past where I’d walked. I stopped, and scanned the bushes. Then the Cetti’s, in front. This was getting ridiculous. Two of them, getting me at it. I caught sight of something fly along the bushes; a Reed Bunting. I took a picture anyway.

The two Warblers seemed to be taking it in turns to call, I was going one way, then the other. I spent over an hour in those bushes, up and down. A fleeting glimpse of the Cetti’s was all I was eventually allowed; too fleeting for a picture. But I did manage a slightly out of focus shot of the Sedge Warbler, when he decided to show himself for a moment.

I stayed a while longer, being teased by this pair, and then wandered back to the hide to see if anything else had turned up.

I settled down, and began scanning the distant island. A couple of people popped in and out, and then another chap sat down, and got his scope set up. We chatted for a while, and he told me had been coming here for 32 years. So much had changed over the years he said, and not all for the better. Then, ‘look, a Little Ringed Plover’, he cried. ‘I can see its golden eye.’
I looked, straining my eyes through the binoculars. I couldn’t see anything.
‘Between the two Canada Geese, on the mud.’
I still looked, couldn’t see……..‘ah, yea, got it. That’s small! It looks like a stone on a beach.’
‘Have a look through the scope.’ he said.
I could see it so much clearer now. (Mental note to self, get a scope!)
‘Wow! Another first for me.’ I mumbled.

We chatted for a while longer, and he told me about all the birds that used to come here over the years, before it became the sprawling concrete mass MK is now. A really nice bloke, a mine of information; and then sadly he had to leave. I left shortly after, and made my way back to the car. I noticed a few Bluebells out in flower, and managed a quick shot.

Five hours had flown by, but I’d managed to see the bird I’d come to see.

And a couple of others.


  1. Those Sedge Warblers and Cetti's can have you running around and straining your eyes forever Keith. Great that you managed to see them, however briefly, though. Congrats for the LRP - one of my favourites!

  2. enjoyed reading about birding in places i've never visited. superb photos - thanks for sharing.

  3. Lovely photos again Keith and an enjoyable run around with you! Loved the photo of the Bluebells.
    P.S. Have left a comment on your previous post too.

  4. Thanks Tricia. Certainly gave me some exercise for the morning. :)
    I was really surprised just how small that Little Ringed Plover was. Made me wonder how many I've missed in the past.

  5. Thank you C. Green for dropping by. Going to have a look round your place shortly.

  6. Thanks ShySongbird. I'm getting too old for chasing after these birds I think, but I was determined to see them. :)
    The Bluebells really stood out, just a small clump in the bushes, but like a blue light. Can't wait for the carpets of them on the woodland floors.

  7. Given the run around, I know just how you feel Keith.

  8. Thanks Roy; yea, still go back for more though. ;)

  9. Sounds like you had a good day out in the end. I enjoyed your description. I think I was getting breathless just reading about it. Lovely photos of birds I don't think I've ever heard and certainly never seen.

  10. Given the run around, I know how you felt. I spent some time chasing Warblers am today without any photo's. Good to see LRP & meeting someone with good local knowledge.

  11. Thank you John. It was quite a hunt, but worth it in the end.

  12. Cheers Frank, it kept me fit ;)
    The man I met had some interesting tales to tell, and was a great bonus to a good day.