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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Saturday, 2 May 2009

A weekend

A Bank Holiday one no less, which usually means crowds of people when the sun shines if you go out anywhere; and especially if you get up late in the process. Guilty; but I went out anyway, it was a welcome day off work.

I headed off to a fairly new gravel pit/bird place near here with the impressive sounding name of Manor Farm. My first visit, so didn’t really know what to expect, or even how to get there properly. Still, it was a nice morning…….

Manor Farm used to be a farm, strangely enough, but now it has been turned into offices. A walk past the Farm, through a gate, into a field of sheep, and some very inquisitive cows, and then into an area with a large, new lake. There’s some work still going on around the area, (although not today), so I wasn’t really sure if I was in the right part. Anyway, first thing I noticed was a Shellduck, who immediately decided to take flight to the far side.

A Common Sandpiper was bobbing along the far side in the mud too, but not a picture opportunity unfortunately. I could hear a Pheasant shouting further along, his head barely visible above the grass as he made his way. A Heron flew past, and sat on a perimeter fence for a little while.

I wandered for a little while longer, not really sure if I was trespassing or not, so I decided to make my way back to the car. First impressions were favourable. Although I didn’t really see much, (probably too busy looking over my shoulder), I think it’s worth another visit though, and finding out a bit more about the place.
So I went from there to Willen Lake, a place I know well. I knew it would be busy by now with holiday crowds, so I kept to the quieter north part of the lake.
First to greet me was a splendid Green-veined White, who was quite happy for a picture or two to be taken.

Lots of black flies flying around, getting tangled in my hair, and a few of these in the mix too.

I must get a book, so I can ID all these flying things!

Then Damsels. Not the ‘in distress’ kind, but Damselflies, and lots of them. Everywhere I walked, clouds of them were taking to the air. The first I’ve seen this year, and a few different ones too.

Now, I’ve got a book, actually two, but I find trying to ID these is on a par with trying to ID Seagulls. I’m hopeless! But I think the last one is a Large Red Damselfly.
I guessed that one by the colour.

A lot of Sedge Warblers were warbling around the lake edge, and being very difficult to spot, as was the Cetti’s; still being elusive. But one bold fellow did do a modelling session for me, so I could get some more photography practice in.

Good old Mr. Crow. What a handsome chap he looked, resplendent in his shiny black coat, glinting in the sunlight.
There seemed to be a lot of nesting activity going on with the water loving birds. This Great Crested Grebe was busy with his partner collecting plenty of vegetation for their new home.

And this Swan was making short work of uprooting the reeds for his nest.

He never seemed to tire, and just chucked them behind him, while his mate was busily collecting them, to rearrange on the nest.
The pair from the hide were also building. Now these two have been at it for a couple of weeks now. I think they’re building a mountain. It just seems to get bigger every week.

He worked hard, and she seemed to be getting ready for a night out, with all that preening going on.

Time was getting on now, so I made my way back alongside the lake. There in the grass were tiny sapphires, shining in the sun.

Not really sapphires, it’s Germander Speedwell. They just reminded me of gems as they caught my eye.
One last bird stopped long enough for a picture, in the dappled shade of a shrub.

Then it was home.
I hope everyone's enjoying the holiday weekend as much as I am.


  1. What a lot of lovely photos. You really had a busy time.
    Been looking at my identification sheet - are the first two shots of damselflies of a male common blue?

  2. Lovely shot of the shelduck in flight. It's a long time since I've seen one of these but I can remember once watching a couple of adults looking after a creche of maybe thiry ducklings.

  3. Thanks John, it was a full morning once I got going.
    Common Blue sounds good to me; thanks. :)

  4. Thank you Greenfingers. They had their work cut out looking after thirty.

  5. The photo of the heron sitting on the fence is beautiful. I really like it. Also, the Shellduck looks like such a handsome bird. We don't have anything really like it. The sharp black/white contrast is striking.

  6. That shot of the Shelduck is one to be proud of, Keith, pin-sharp.
    At the risk of being shot down in flames, I think that the fly may be a bee-fly, but then again ......

  7. What a lovely post Keith with such beautiful photos.

    I'm afraid I'm playing catch up-again due to helping to dismantle the woodpile which used to be a shed in preparation for a new one at last!! I think your way of spending a weekend is far nicer!

    Lovely to see the Damselflies are back. The Swans nesting were fascinating. I had to laugh about the pair building a mountain, it does look that way! Your previous post on the Coots was great too.

  8. Thank you Kelly. The Heron sat there for ages, until I tried to get closer. :)
    Glad you like the Shellduck. A nightmare to expose for.

  9. Cheers Graham. I was quite pleased with the Shelduck. I'd still like a closer one though.
    Bee-fly sounds good to me. ;)

  10. ShySongbird, thank you for your comments.
    New shed? That's what I need I think.
    Don't work too hard, it is a holiday :)

  11. Lovely set of images Keith. That weird fly thing is a Bee-fly. The last bird a female Reed Bunting.?

  12. Cheers Roy. Bee-fly it is then, thanks.
    Last bird is a female Reed Bunting; I forgot to write that bit.