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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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A figure of eight

Sunday I paid my final visit of the month to Willen Lake. A large lake in Milton Keynes, split into two halves by a small bridge. The north lake is the quieter of the two, with a bird hide overlooking an island; the south lake very popular with families at weekends, visiting the various ‘attractions’. Water sports, a fitness centre, rope climbing, fishing, a large bar/restaurant; a magnet for people. And strangely enough, a lot of birds. Ducks, Swans and Cormorants on the lake, and various songbirds amongst the trees and bushes. But my favourite part is the quieter north lake. A few joggers and dog walkers, and that’s about it.
Walking down the grassy hill from the car park at the Peace Pagoda, the usual greeting from Crows and Magpies prodding the earth. But Sunday, the Geese had taken over.

They seemed to be everywhere, enjoying the early morning sunlight, as it cast its long shadows. Ignoring me as I made my way down to the lake edge, and my walk through the long, still wet grass. The thing I noticed most, was the silence from the reeds. No Warblers calling; no Swifts screaming overhead. All gone. The Terns had moved on too. No gliding, and sudden plunging into the water, for a tasty meal.
One sound that was noticeable, but no sight; the elusive Cetti’s Warbler.
I carried on along the path to the hide, the sun burning off the last of the mist clinging to the wet ground behind me, and filtering through the trees ahead. I stopped to take a shot or two, and as I pressed the shutter, a lone jogger ran past me, into the suns spotlights.
At the hide, the water level in front was still low, exposing a large expanse of mud, and the now familiar Snipe,
and Green Sandpiper.

At this rate, this will be two wading birds I’ll be able to ID a mile away. I sat for a while taking in the sights; Geese, Cormorants, Gadwall, Wigeon, and a cheeky Robin who thought it fun to watch me, watching the other birds.
I decided to carry on to the south lake, walk round that part, then cross the bridge, and take a figure of eight route round the lake. Time was my own today, and nothing else was on the agenda. A slow walk got me closer to the ‘busy’ end of the lake. No House Martins chattering from their mud nests, peeking out into the world; they had all flown their incredible journey to Africa on tiny young wings. Their greatest adventure, hopefully to return again next year.
Robins, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Starlings were busily foraging the ground and trees for food. Pied Wagtails were fluttering along the lake edge, and a Kestrel lazily soared above on his search for food. A group of Swans were busily tidying their feathers, after a night sleeping, briefly stopping to watch me,

before carrying on with the job in hand.

They knew they were beautiful. They were just adding the finishing touches for the crowds of people who would come later to admire them; and perhaps offer some morsels of bread.

The pair of Call Ducks were just ahead, looking for all the world like two toys, at the edge of the lake.

Sleepily watching me, as I got nearer to take pictures. Unmoved by my presence, content to just wait for the day to unfold.
I gradually completed the first arc of the ‘eight’, and found myself back at the small bridge. Four or five Blackbirds were busily flicking the bark chippings on the footpath, looking for something to fill their empty bellies, whilst the Coots, never seemed to tire of chasing and fighting each other.
Back past the hide, and onward round the second arc. Magpies chattering above in the trees, a Robin discretely hopping from branch to branch, studying my progress. Great Crested Grebe families out swimming, the youngsters calling all the time for food, whilst one of the adults duly obliged; diving for a fish to satisfy their hunger.

A lone Swan, majestically glided across the still water,
in the warming sunshine, surveying his domain as he silently passed.

And then, eventually, back at my starting point. The autumn colours of the leaves reflecting in the water,

whilst I reflected on another enjoyable visit.


  1. They certainly look good, a lot of brilliant photography.

  2. A beautiful post again, that could have the same title as the previous one. i love the bird on the second picture, the one running :-)
    The reflection shot of the swan is wonderful.

  3. See you got a reflection too.

  4. Great post Keith. Text and photographs superb. I love the majestic Swan shot,Green Sandpiper and jogger.

  5. The abstract autumn colors photo is just lovely.

  6. Another great visit Keith. I love the photo with the jogger and the swan photos are beautiful too.

  7. The photograph of the runner and sun streaks is my favorite out of this bunch.

  8. Hi Keith, I think you were still posting this as I came upon it!...Im home for a couple of weeks, so nice to see a post from you and to know you are still steadfast at bring back your wonderful photos to share with us, your followers and friends. Love the jogger shot so candid and lovely, and the swan shot are beautiful...love the little duckie with his beak neatly tucked away. Have a great week! WOW...October already, here the tempts have finally cooled to perfect!

  9. Absorbing post again Keith - looks like an excellent spot to begin the day.

  10. Quite abstract but also interesting is the last shot .. yes, autumn is here with those beautiful colors.
    And the swan reflection is almost perfect ... only a few waves.
    But the cherry pie is the sleeply watching duck.

  11. Lovely set of photos, Keith. Certainly plenty of geese on the grassy hill.

  12. Hi! I always enjoy your bird shots, but I have to say this time, the jogger and the reflection are fantastic. I love the way you captured the suns rays coming through the trees. awesome!!

  13. Hi Keith. An even better Snipe and a brilliant G Sandpiper.
    Love the "Monet" at the end as well.

  14. Just in from work, thanks for all the comments.

    Bob, thank you. Very kind of you to say. :)

    Chris, thank you for your comment.

    Cheers Adrian. Couldn’t resist it lol

    Trevor, thank you. For such a big bird, I always find it difficult to do Swans justice in a picture.

    Thank you Wilma. I wasn’t too sure about that one to be honest. I very nearly deleted it.

    ShySongbird, thanks. The jogger was one of those lucky shots; ran into the picture at the right moment. lol

    Dev, thanks. A bit earlier, and I think the light would have been better. Pleased with it though.

    David, thank you. Appreciate your comment.

    Dixxe, thanks for your very kind words. Yea, still managing to get out when I can. :)
    I can’t believe how fast this year has gone either.

    Thank you Rob. There’s always plenty to point the camera at there, and early morning is quite magical at times.

    Andor, thank you. Autumn really throws some lovely colours around. And that sleepy little duck, I just wanted to take him home lol

    Thanks John. First time I’ve seen that many geese in that spot. They usually keep nearer the edge of the lake.

    Thank you Doreen. There’s something special about suns rays through trees. I always find them interesting, but difficult to capture sometimes.

    Thanks Roy. I’m getting plenty of practice with that Snipe. He seems to always be there at the moment. lol

  15. A wonderful read Keith and I love the autumn colours and that gorgeous Swan and reflection.

  16. Oh my gosh...I LOVE these! That lone jogger one, is stunning! I bet Runner's World would pay big bucks for that.

    I love all the swan ones, the reflection one and the little one looking right at the camera are my favorites.

    The leaves reflection one is beautiful.

    The runner one, that one made me gasp.


  17. Good mornin'...don't know if you do the award thing..but I give a special one away now and again and have left one for you on my blog. Hope you come by and snag it!! Hugs, Sarah

  18. Great post and some lovely images again.

  19. Cheers Nick. Appreciate your comment. :)

    Thanks for those kind words Jen. Hmmm, the jogger. Maybe I should send it somewhere lol

    Sarah, thank you. I’ll go have a look :)

    Thank you Angie.

  20. We used to send new neighbors to our little village off hunting "snipes." Of course none existed but we didn't tell them that. Thats one of the things kids did during world war two.

    I like that last picture of the reflected colors. It looks like a painting.

  21. Nice story Abe. Oh to be young again lol
    Thanks for your comment.

    Thank you Bhavesh. :)

  22. First picture reminds me the scene from "Jurassic park" with many dinosaurs running. It is looking surreal with so many geese there. Wonderful.

    The swan is impressive gracious, as always. Very good shots.

    I also like the jogger (misty licht) and the colors in the last (published) frame.

    It seem you had a splendid Sunday!

  23. Thank you for your comments Marius. It certainly was a good day.
    I've entered the jogger picture in a local competition, so fingers crossed :)

  24. I just coming and i love your work.
    A nice natural place in the virtual space...congrats :)
    Peace and Light!

  25. Thank you Carina for sttopping by, and commenting. Appreciate it.