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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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Summer Leys, again.

The sign says welcome, and I’ve been twice before, so Sunday was my third visit.
The first time I went, I had a good time, and met some friendly people on the way round. The second time I had a good time, but some of the people, mainly the ‘birders’ hogging one of the hides, were a bit indifferent. Third visit? Well the weather could have been better; it poured with rain nearly all the time I was there, so I kept my visit to a few of the hides. Much drier.

First hide I entered had the same group of miseries I’d encountered last time. Half a dozen blokes, sprawled across the seats, scopes and cameras trained across the water, with the spare kit dotted around. And chatting away like they were down the local pub. No wonder the birds were across the other side.
Morning’, I said, as I made my way to a piece of free bench.
A grunt; and they carried on talking amongst themselves. I crouched down to squint through one of the windows, thinking someone would move some kit for me.
Oh well,’ I thought, ‘I’ll go on to the hide opposite.’ As I closed the door, not too quietly behind me.
I walked through a light drizzle of rain, listening to the birdsong on the way. A Robin, a Blackcap, and a Dunnock. Above some Swifts were screaming in the rain, joined by Swallows and House Martins. A couple of Crows cawed loudly as they flew low over the path, as I reached the next hide. A two tier affair; I chose the ground floor.
I sat and gazed across the water, and to the other hide in the distance, with faces peering from the windows.
On the mud spit across the middle, a Little Egret was stirring the shallow water with a foot, looking for any tasty morsels he could uncover.
Over to the left of him, some Little Ringed Plover were flying about.

I’ve seen a few of these now, before, but always from a great distance, appearing only as smallish specks, like large stones. It made a change to see them a bit closer.

A few Lapwing were performing their aerial antics, rising in the air, and then suddenly falling like a stone, only to turn at the last minute, before hitting the ground. Amazing to watch. As I sat engrossed in the spectacle, one flew down, and landed in front of the hide.

He stood for a pose, so I duly obliged, and then he walked around in front; first this way, then that, and back again.

I glanced over to the lenses poking out from the hide opposite, thinking perhaps they were straining to capture this moment. I smiled, as I thought if this guy comes any closer, he’d trip over mine.
A pair of Shellduck were in the distance, with their young chicks, walking about, and every so often the male would go on ahead, clearing the way of other birds for his family.

A few Redshank were chasing one another across the water, landing, then taking off again.

I looked over to my right, and walking along the shore, coming this way, was a Little Ringed Plover. He’d stop for a moment, poke around with his beak, and then strut on a bit further.

The golden ring around his eyes was clearly visible. The best view I’ve ever had.

He came closer

and closer, until he was right in front of me.

He could probably hear the clicking of my shutter, as a couple of times he’d glance my way,

and then go about his business again.

The pair of Shelduck were getting nearer too,
but still keeping a respectable distance with the young chicks. The male got closer to see if all was clear,

but the female had other ideas, and began leading the youngsters away, shooting a quick glance in my direction.
A Pied Wagtail began to run along the edge of the water, searching for food.

He quickly flew off, and was replaced by a couple of Redshank.

I couldn’t believe my luck. The shutter was working overtime by now, and I was hoping the memory card was going to hold out.

They wandered up and down for ages, and the Lapwings were still soaring, and diving. This was the best. I took a few more pictures, and then decided to head off further round the lake, to another hide.

A feeding station is housed here, and I wanted to try and get up close to some smaller birds.
I got there just as the rain came, but I wasn’t disappointed.
More next time.


  1. The scenario sounds so familiar. If its occupied & noisy - move on. Like you I prefer to watch & listen to the wildlife and it definitely paid of for you. Close views & great pics. Well done Keith.

  2. Wonderful! Lovely birds I'd never have seen without you sharing.
    I especially love the plover looking straight at you as if to say...."I never go near that noisy spot across the way. Come back when you can."

  3. Oh, I love these photos. Well done!

  4. Keith, that is one fantastic set of photographs. Brilliant. I dont know which to say is the best as I would have liked to have shot any of them.
    Sorry to hear you came across such disgraceful bad mannered persons. Not the sort of thing you would normally encounter in the Birding World and thankfully extremely rare.

  5. It's a good job there is more than one hide there Keith. In the end you got a truly beautiful collection of photos.

  6. You definitely had a bird bounty on this outing! Loved those Plover's sharp eyes on you!

  7. Oh Keith what a lovely, lovely post with such beautiful photos, and all despite the weather and the 'miseries', what an ignorant, ill mannered lot! I cheered when you shut the door rather loudly!

    I enjoyed your outing so much.

  8. ...what a wonderful encounter. It's like you were being rewarded for enduring the rudeness of the etiquette-lax guys in the first hide! So many fabulous photos with just as nice narration.

  9. Frank, I reckon that little group think it’s their reserve, just for them. Seems they did me a favour in the end. :)

    Andrea, thank you. I was very pleased to see that plover up so close, and he did look comical the way he stopped to stare like that.

    Jen, thank you. I was really pleased with the day.

    Roy…….Agree about the behaviour; usually fellow birders are quite friendly and helpful. This lot aren’t very good ambassadors for the hobby. Glad you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

    John, thanks. There’s five hides dotted around in one part, so you can usually find one to yourself, or with more ‘friendly’ people. I think they did me a favour in the end.

    Shellmo, thanks. I’m looking forward to going back there soon. There really is a great variety of birds there.

    ShySongbird, glad you enjoyed it, thanks. I’m usually quiet going in and out of hides, to respect others, but on this occasion I ‘forgot’ my manners a little. :) A really great morning, despite the herberts and weather.

    Kelly, it did seem like a ‘reward’, when some of those beauties came for a walk right under my nose :) Glad you liked the pictures.

  10. lovely pics as always. I was chatting to a chap saying how nice it was there on friday whilst on holiday!

  11. Definately worth your while going out regardless of the weather Keith. Sometimes you end up finding more species in the rain than on sunny days I often find :-)
    Some great species mate, and a real lovely look at the Golden-ringed Plover there !

  12. Pete......Thank you. It's fast becoming one of my favourite places. Always so much to see there.

    Nick.....Cheers. Agree with you there Nick, it's surprising sometimes how much you can see in the rain. That plover really made my day. :)

  13. Beautiful series as always and a great variety of species. I like the plover with eye contact and the lapwing pictures and of course the last photo.

  14. Andor, thank you. Appreciate your comments. It was one of those days when everything seemed to fall into place.

  15. You're definitely in the bird's favour with them posing for you Keith. Great pics as ever and wonderful to get that Little Ringed Plover at such close quarters!

    Sounds an excellent place to visit (pity about the birders Lol)

  16. Thanks Tricia, it certainly is an excellent place to go, despite a minority of the human population.
    The Little Ringed Plover was a real treat, seeing him so close.

  17. thanks Keith you bring me closer to the nature! i really appreciate it.

  18. Thank you lolit, very kind of you to say.