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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Friday, 5 June 2009

Off to Summer Leys again

I like this place, despite some of the local ‘yob’ birders who hog the hides, so I thought I’d try a midweek visit, to see if they were at school or something.Seems they were. A few people I did meet, restored my waning faith in some of the people who visit the reserve. The birds, on the other hand, are always good.

Especially this little one.

I wondered what it was at first, and then I realised; a young Lapwing. Like a little fluff ball, scurrying along the shoreline of the lake, in front of the hide.It wasn’t long before someone else dropped down to investigate this bit of shore,

a Little Ringed Plover, wearing his gold rimmed glasses. I was surprised just how much smaller he was compared to the little Lapwing.
I sat for a while watching the various comings and goings; Mute Swans, Greylag and Canada Geese, a couple of Redshank, and more Little Ringed Plover flying over the island. The sun was starting to come through as I left the hide to wander around the lake.

A Willow Warbler was busily collecting insects, to feed his family, nesting nearby.

Further round the bend of the track, was the next hide. This one has a selection of bird tables and feeders, usually attracting a good variety of small birds, especially Tree Sparrows. As I got closer, I didn’t expect to see this though.

Stood on one of the tables, a male Mallard. He quickly jumped down as I got closer, doing his best to hide in the long grass.

Along came a rabbit, to see what the birds had dropped,

while a Greenfinch looked on with a grumpy look.

I sat for a while, watching various finches taking their fill, but no Tree Sparrows today. Never mind. Just across from the hide is a small track road, and the other side of that, is another lake. I’m not sure if it is part of the reserve or not; but I took a look anyway.

Plenty of Mute Swans swimming around in the distance, and one individual being particularly aggressive towards anything that came within a hundred feet or more.
A man was stood with his camera, perched on the end of a huge lens, busily taking pictures.
We chatted for a while, mainly about cameras and birds, and he told me he had come to photograph some Mallard flying. But this warlord of the lake, was much more interesting at the moment.

And while we chatted, he was off again,
furiously running on top of the water, to chase off a hapless Swan that came too close.
We compared shots on the back of the cameras, (they always look better, till you get them on the computer for some reason), and then I made my back round the reserve.

'Nice bloke', I thought.

I’d reached the far side of the lake now, short grass, and a few wild plants, and clouds of Damselflies clinging onto anything their tiny legs could grasp. A clump of Common Comfrey stood before me, rising up from the buttercups,

begging for a picture; so I did.

A Kestrel flew by,

searching for his next meal, and as I joined the path that runs alongside the lake for the return journey, a group of sheep were sheltering in the shade of a tree in the adjacent field.

It was getting quite warm now, and a few people were out walking dogs. Friendly people too; they all nodded and said hello.

It had been a good day so far, and plenty to see.

As I neared the car park, I could hear a Blackcap singing somewhere. Then it flew to a nearby tree, and started singing again.

That’s not a Blackcap’, I thought. I took a few more shots, he was fairly obliging.

A Garden Warbler. I’m pretty certain. They sound alike, but look very different. No black or brown cap on this chap, just very plain. And then he was off on his way.

One last look in a hide before I go, and as I walked towards it, a Dragon flew past, and settled just in front of me.

A female Black-tailed Skimmer, like a stick of gold in the sunlight.

I settled into the hide that looks out onto a small island; a few Coot, some Gulls; and a pair of Shelduck with young swimming this way.

The male decided the Coot was too close for comfort, and chased him off.

It’s usually the Coot that is the aggressor, so a taste of his own medicine there.

The female took herself and the chicks to the island, to settle in the sun,

but the male had other ideas. He needed to check out the area, to make sure it was safe, giving me a fine opportunity for a flight shot as he passed by.

Happy with that, I needed to head home myself; so, reluctantly I left them to it and made my way to the car.

An enjoyable morning, always good birds here, and some friendly people for a change.


  1. The mid week visit definitely paid off. Good to see you ID the 'GW', another fab singer. Personally I thought the Shelduck in flight was a top shot. Well done my friend.

  2. Another great set Keith. Baby Lapwing is just brilliant. Great new header of a greedy grey Heron.

  3. Wonderful array of great images, love the young Lapwing and the Shelduck shots.

  4. Enjoyable read and fantastic photos, Keith - I also admire the Shelduck flypast in true air show style. It's good when you bump into someone friendly. Is that heron with the beak-ful a new header, by the way? Like it.

  5. Frank, thank you for your comment. Much better mid week, not so many people around. I'm getting better at this ID business. :)
    That Shelduck was a gift, as it flew past. Was good to see them fairly close, they’re usually stuck on the far side of the island.

    Roy, thank you. First time I’d seen one of the younger Lapwings; they looked so fluffy. Glad you like the header.

    Paul, thanks for your comment. Glad you liked the pictures. Was a productive morning.

    Rob, thank you, glad you enjoyed it. That Shelduck was very protective of his family, constantly watching over them.
    Seemed to be a different selection of people mid week; much better.
    Glad you like the header; thought it was about time I had one. :)

  6. Oh that first shot you posted, of the fuzzy baby - that could be a postcard.

    I also really loved your action shots. Very impressive.

    When I hit the metal trashcan, the whole neighborhood knew it. LOL!

  7. I think I'm in love with that lapwing! Loved all your photos -many great ones to view!

  8. Jen, thank you. That youngster just oozed cuteness when he turned my way. lol

    Shelley, Great time of the year to see all the new arrivals to the world. Thank you.

  9. I'm so sorry Keith I have somehow missed your last two posts but looking through them and this one I have to reiterate how absolutely stunning your photography is, I really find it breathtaking. It makes me ashamed of my own attempts :(
    I loved the Shelduck chasing the Coot, the quizzical looking one and the one in flight, just amazing, but as I say all your photos are.

    The Mallard on the table made me laugh :)

  10. Hi Keith great combination of Images,so much to see and like.My favourite is the Kestrel good capture I find birds caught in flight fascinating.
    Also thankyou for your kind comments on our Blog.
    Happy Birding.

  11. Fabulous snaps and what a variety. I liked the snaps of chasing the swan and birds in the flight. Forget it, I loved all.

  12. ShySongbird, thank you for your very kind comment. I just love taking pictures, and especially of the birds. I'm pleased I can do them justice sometimes lol
    That Mallard really surprised me on the table, I was expecting something smaller. :)
    Thanks again.

    John, thanks for your comment. The Kestrel gave me a lovely slow fly past, just a shame he was a bit far away.

    Rajesh, thank you for stopping by, and your comment. Appreciated. Glad you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks again.

  13. some nice photos whilst i've been away.

    yob birders? chuckle

  14. Another great collection of photos, Keith. You can never beat a cuddly, fluffy youngster for the aw factor.

  15. Excellent pictures as usual Keith especially the flight shots; but the "AW" award has to go to the Lapwing chick :D

    Avoiding other birders? Can't think why ;)

  16. Thank you John for this marvellous report. You were very lucky to get the Garden Warbler in the open. The pictures and commentary are outstanding. Thank you too for your knid comments on my latest article - I wondered if it would ring a bell with 'of-an-age' people.

  17. Thanks John. That little Lapwing's got oodles of aaaww. :)

    Tricia, thank you. It was a good visit. I think the 'yobs' must have been at school lol

    Emma, thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.
    And your post really brought back the memories.

  18. Superb stuff Keith. Love that baby Lapwing too ! :-)

  19. Thanks Nick. Appreciate your comment. That little Lapwing was a beauty. :)

  20. it seems they know your taking pictures of them,lol, and singing too? they are lovely and soooo cute.thanks Keith.

  21. Thank you lolit for your comment.
    It's always good trying to capture them singing. Glad you enjoyed it.

  22. So Glad I scrolled back and found this post...you snagged some awesome flight photos this time Keith, and I got the motherly instinct myself looking at that little Lapwing! I love the new header photo and the sub title "wildlife gunslinger" it fits!

  23. Dixxie, glad you enjoyed the post, and like the new header. :)