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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Monday, 16 November 2009

I’m smiling

Saturday’s weather was pretty dire here, like most of the country. Not very good for being out with a camera, but I had a busy weekend with family commitments, so I grabbed a couple of hours down at one of the local lakes. The sun shone briefly at first, but soon turned to heavy rain along with the strong winds. I managed a few pictures though.

A small group of Tufted Duck slowly swam past, and the Cormorants were busily flying backwards and forewords, going about their morning business.
A group of Cygnets made a brief fly past, and one broke off from the main group, and decided to make a landing amongst a group of Pochard and Tufted Duck.
The Pochard ignored all this flying around, and were more content to just sit with their heads tucked under a wing, or engage in a spot of preening.

But what was that sitting in the middle of them?

A Red Crested Pochard. The first one I’ve seen here at Willen, and scanning the rest of them, I picked out his other half, bobbing around with the rest of the flotilla.

The Black-headed Gulls were up to the usual; harass anything that seemed to move, or each other, mainly led by this character.

Having a brief rest, and showing off his new head feathers. He’ll soon have a lovely chocolate brown head, just like his parents before him.

But all too soon the weather quickly clouded over again, bringing short bursts of rain, before the heavy deluge. Before I left for home, a small group of Gadwall flew in, and began performing a game of chase.
Maybe they thought it was spring, as they noisily chased a couple of females around. Their antics certainly made me smile.

But the other reason I’m smiling?

I’ve just received a prize through the post. A competition I entered in the October edition of Birdwatch magazine. It involved identifying a wader; of all things. Something I’m hopeless at.
And the prize?
A year’s family membership to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.
I should be an expert at wader ID by this time next year!


  1. Congratulations on winning the competition Keith! As you say you will be an expert on waders before long :)

    Lovely photos here again. That is a great one of the Cygnet landing.

    Well done with the Red Crested Pochard, I don't think I have ever seen one.

  2. Congratulations, Keith! You have spent so much time watching birds, now they have brought something to acknowledge your patience and persistence. So many great portraits... :-)

    Can you explain what is the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and what does it mean to have a membership to it?

    I'd like to add that the gull's feathers are beautifully tousled and that's interesting to watch a Cygnet make a landing, the way those legs go first and wings last...

  3. The shot of the cygnet about to land on the water makes me smile, Keith. It looks like it has water skies on its feet. The red crested pochard are quite pretty looking. Nice shots all around. And congrats for winning that membership; hope you enjoy it.


  4. Hi Keith,
    congrats for the price!!! and congrats for the spotting of the red-creasted pochard and the pochard. One has to be careful when going through the flocks, isn't it?
    Beautiful post...

  5. Great shots Keith..and a very good comp result.
    I bet that has cheered you up.

  6. Hi Keith,

    Well done on winning the prze and great spot on the Red Crested Pochard

  7. ....congratulations, Keith!! That is very cool. I think you're the first person I know who's ever won that sort of competition! Have fun at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

  8. Nics pics, the Red Chrested Pochards are stunning birds although I have only ever seen them in the captured section at Martin Mere.

  9. Great photos Keith!! That red crested porchard is awesome!! What great news to be a winner!! I got winning news today too...but I wont time to blog about it till maybe tomorrow! Congrats on that great prize thats one you will enjoy for a whole year..wow--great work, my friend.

  10. Congratulations on winning.
    Sounds like a lovely prize.
    Great splash down shot. Have a great week. A~

  11. Well done Keith, Nice Red Crested. We don't get many of them and its only our part of the country normally anyway in Winter.

    PS the word verification was CRYPEASM, this weather is enough to make you cry something.

  12. Nice pictures Keith and congratulations on your prize winning, I have just spent some time looking at your website and the photography is a credit to your hobby, Are you happy for me to put a link on my website if not please let me know. All the best, Keith H

  13. Well done on the RC Pochard and the prize Keith. And that's what a call a really useful prize and one I'm sure you'll enjoy. We'll know who to ask for our wader IDs from now on :D

  14. Congrats on the competition Keith :-)
    You will be picking out those waders ( or shorebirds as we call them up here ) in no time !!
    Greta find with the Red-crested Pochard too mate ! Always a bonus to get a rarity as we both know.

  15. love the shot of the cygnet coming in for a landing.

    congrats on winning!! how exciting is that?

    have a great week!!

  16. Thank you for your comments ShySongbird. I shouldn’t have any excuses for not knowing waders by next year lol

    Petra, thank you. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust is a UK conservation organisation saving wetlands for wildlife, and have nine specialist wetland visitor centres around the UK. The membership allows me to visit any of them, free, for a whole year.
    Here’s a link to their website. http://www.wwt.org.uk/

    Thanks for your comments Wilma. The swans make quite a splash when they land, and everything clears a way for them. Great to watch.

    Chris, thanks. It’s always worth checking a large flock to see what else might be amongst them, isn’t it. I was pleased to find the Red Crested Pochard in there.

    Trevor, thank you. I was very surprised, and pleased to win the competition.

    Bob, thank you. The Red Crested Pochard certainly brightened a dull morning.

    Kelly, thank you. First time I’ve won something like that. A spur of the moment entry too, so even better. lol I’m looking forward to my first visit.

    Thanks Mike. The last time I saw one was at a Wildlife Park. Great to see them out on a big lake in the ‘wild’.

    Thank you Dixxe. Yea, a perfect prize. Very pleased.
    Congratulations on your ‘winning news’. Look forward to reading about it.

    Andrea, thank you. A prize I’m going to enjoy every minute of. :)

    Thanks Roy. I’ve not seen many of them before either.
    Some of those word verifications are quite appropriate at times lol

    Keith, thank you for your kind words. Appreciate it.
    I’d be more than happy for you to put a link. Thank you.

    Tricia, thank you. Have to get myself down to Barnes sometime soon. Perhaps we could meet up there, and you could give me a tour?

    Cheers Nick. It was a great start to the week :)

    Doreen, thank you. The win was a great boost. :)

  17. Hi Keith. Yes I'd be very pleased to meet up at Barnes; just let me know....

  18. What a lovely surprise. Well done on the prize, nice to know real people do win. Lovely photo of the RCP.

  19. Will do Tricia.

    Thanks John. It was certainly a surprise for me :)

  20. Congratulation!
    Love that landing Cygnets.

  21. Keith,
    Congratulations! If I need help with a bird id, you will get an email! Thanks for visiting my site and leaving comments.

  22. Thanks David.
    I think I'd struggle with the ID's of your birds over there lol