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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Sunday, 12 April 2009

Part Two

I left Felmersham Gravel Pits in the rain, and headed up the road to the next County. The roads were quite empty, which suited me. I was a bit wet, and didn’t fancy sitting around in traffic. A few minutes later I pulled into a busy car park, and climbed out the car looking very bedraggled. A return visit to Summer Leys, but it wasn’t living up to its name; still raining.

The sound of Gulls was filling the air, coming from the lake, so I made my way down to one of the hides, to see what all the noise was about. On one of the small islands was a group of Black-headed Gulls, noisily prancing about like a gang of hooligans.

And amongst all this commotion, were a pair of Oystercatchers, one sitting on its nest, totally oblivious to the entire racket.

A Redshank flew in, and poked around in the mud

And there, on the edge, a Ringed Plover
I watched all this noisy nonsense for a while, and then a Canada Goose flew in, and settled on the island. The Gulls didn’t seem too happy about this, and immediately set about trying to remove this particular intruder.

The Goose ducked, as the Gulls dived at him. This went on for some time, until he decided enough was enough, and left for one of the less crowded islands on the lake.
I decided to move on too, and see what else was about on the little islands dotted around.

I stopped off at another hide, which had been commandeered by four noisy birders, spread across the seats. They were chatting away in loud voices, with their scopes trained on the far shore. Probably because they’d scared off any birds that were nearby, so had to look further. I sat in the middle, hoping they’d quieten down a bit. No such luck. I quickly scanned the nearest island with my binoculars, and there in the distance was something I didn’t recognise. Turns out it was a Black-tailed Godwit.

A first for me, but not a very good picture. Enough to make an ID later though.

I left the noisy party, and carried on round the lake. There’s a lot of trees and shrubs around the lake, and despite the persistent rain, the birds were singing and flying around, doing what birds do. Singing in a tree ahead, was a Willow Warbler, who kindly sat still long enough for some pictures.

I stopped of at another hide, and this time had it to myself. I managed to get a few pictures from the obliging visitors.


Reed Bunting

Tree Sparrow

And a Blue Tit

The rain began to ease off, so I carried on round the lake. Some Swallows were skimming across the water, too fast for pictures, more Willow Warbler, and some Chiffchaff singing from the treetops. Circuit almost complete, and a good selection of sightings. A few included a Kestrel hovering over a field, a Shellduck, Gadwall, Shoveler, a lone Widgeon, and a Green Woodpecker laughing as he flew past.

A thoroughly good day, despite the noisy occupants of one of the hides.


  1. Hi thanks for visiting my blog. being having a look around yours love all the pics of small birds the blue tit look great, the swans in flight are lovely I thought i would never get one myself as the place i go to photo swans they never fly but eventually i managed it. Keep enjoying the photography will visit again.

  2. Always great to notch up a new species Keith. Lovely pics and a great story as usual.
    Birding beats working anyday doesn't it !

  3. OH dont you love when you add a new bird to your life list? Many of the ones you have pictured here would be new to my list, Ive never traveled to Europe! Great photos as ever!...the Blue Tit photo really stands out as being perfect!

  4. I'm so envious that you've got Tree Sparrows in your neck of the woods, Keith.
    Unfortunately, very few left in Surrey now.

  5. Black-tailed Godwit in breeding plumage - Nice one Keith & a great series of pics, especially the Tree Sparrow. All worth getting wet for?

  6. Thank you John, and thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed it. The Swans always seem to be flying around here. It's great watching them taking off; such a lot of effort and noise. Makes for good pictures, when I do it right :)

  7. Thanks Nick. Birding certainly does beat work. Just wish I could spend more time doing it.

  8. Thanks for your kind comment Dixxie.
    I'm notching up a few new birds so far this year, every day gets better. :)

  9. Thanks Graham. The Tree Sparrows were a bird I used to see every day when I was a kid; sadly not anymore. There's quite a good population at Summer Leys, the nearest place I've found so far. About half an hour in the car, and well worth it.

  10. Thanks Frank. The Black-tailed Godwit was a first for me, and I was over the moon. Still buzzing! :)
    It was a really good day, and well worth getting wet. Could certainly become a regular haunt.

  11. What truly beautiful photos Keith, talk about something to aspire to! I haven't seen a Tree Sparrow for years, possibly not since a child, such a shame. Sounds like a great day out apart from the intrusion of the rain and the noisy people!

  12. Thank you for your kind words ShySongbird, appreciate that.
    It was a really good day, despite the weather, (and a few people) lol
    Tree Sparrows used to be such a common sight when I was a lot younger; but this is the nearest place I know of to me, to see them. I'd love to see them make a big comeback.

  13. A good lot of sightings Keith. The Tree Sparrow in particular, I should be so lucky.

  14. Cheers Roy, it was a really good day. The Tree Sparrows were worth the travelling to see.

  15. The gulls look funny in the first picture but as one can see, they can be quite nasty. It's interesting that they didn't like just the Canada Goose and didn't mind the other birds...

  16. Thanks Petra. They were very entertaining to watch. Judging by the size of the Oystercatchers beaks, I think they were wise to leave them alone. :)