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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Sunday, 27 December 2009

That’s it then.

So, Christmas done and dusted for another year. Christmas day spent with my mum, and Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day spent with the birds.

Here’s some of the birds………

Christmas Eve, and this poor Snipe had found 90% of the lake at Willen frozen. Very little else around in the bitter cold. Just a couple of unfrozen patches of the lake, which were crammed with ducks and geese; no doubt like the high street with people.
Moving on to the next local that morning, Caldecote. A smaller lake, with houses around, which I guess managed to keep most of the water from freezing over because of the higher temperature. The ever-present Robin was easily coaxed nearer with a handful of seed.

A wintering Chiffchaff was hiding amongst some bushes, but managed to briefly show himself for a picture.

And as I left for home, a Treecreeper flew to a nearby tree, beginning his spiral ascent.

Boxing Day was spent at one of my favourite reserves, Summer Leys. For a change it lived up to the first part of its name; the sun shone for a couple of hours. Most of the waterfowl were on the far side of the lake, which would have meant walking round, and shooting into the sun, so I just strolled round half the lake seeing what was about. Not many pictures to show for my visit; it was just good to be out, and a bonus to see plenty of Yellowhammers in the hedges. These red listed birds with their canary yellow heads glistening like gold in the sun, were a treat to see.
Lots of Fieldfare and Redwing around, being very uncooperative as usual.

They’d almost stripped the bushes clean of berries, but this Blackbird seemed pleased with himself after his acrobatics paid of with a juicy berry.

Most of the snow had cleared, except for the path round the lake. Very slippery, and walking was a slow process. Then something that you hope will never happen. Even at a slow pace, I managed to go crashing down. Thank goodness the camera landed on me and not the icy path. A quick check on the camera as I sat on the cold ice, and then back on my feet; slooooowly.

I inched my way along to a small hide just up ahead, for a sit down and a more thorough check on the camera. And rest my leg, which was beginning to sting a little.
A Dunnock sat gazing at me, as I checked the camera.

Everything seemed to be working ok. A couple of shots at different settings, and all worked as they should. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. A few Tree Sparrows sat in the hedge, waiting for their turn at the feeders,

and then something caught my eye in some shallow water.

A Water Rail slowly picking his way along. Not seen one of these for a while, and never managed a decent picture.
Please come back’, I thought to myself.
He did; eventually. Parading up and down beneath one of the feeders.

My sore leg was soon forgotten.


  1. ...isn't amazing how we will risk life and limb to save the camera! I've slid down a hillside before, totally ripping up elbows and legs, but I held the camera high and no damage was done to the lens--I mean, we do have priorities. I'm glad you weren't hurt seriously! Love your photo of the little Robin and the Water Rail, and of course that little Tree Creeper is as cute as can be. Sounds like you had a wonderfully peaceful couple of days with the birds.

  2. that robin photo is just perfect. - the others are great as well, as usual!

  3. Nice pics....I really like those birds...

  4. You caught the Water Rail, well done Keith

  5. Some lovely bird shots there Keith. I know that feeling when dignity gets dented on icy footpaths. Hope your leg is recovering OK.
    I'm finding I don't notice much wildlife when out and about - too busy concentrating where the next clear patch of path is.

  6. Kelly, you’re so right. Priorities; camera and lens first, then self lol
    It was a good Christmas, spent just the way I like it, with perfect company. :)

    Jill, thank you. The little Robins are such posers at times. Always willing for a picture.

    NPT, thank you for your comment.

    Cheers Bob. It was good to get a clear shot of the Water Rail. Something I’ve never managed before. Nice treat for Christmas.

    Thanks John. I did have a quick look round after I went down, to see if anyone had seen me lol
    Legs fine now, and the dignity ;)

  7. Well done on the Water Rail, I have still not managed a good picture. Did slip on the steps, xmas day though and put a small scrape on the 5D but like your camera still works fine.

  8. The robin shot is lovely and I especially LOVE the banner of the swans. Made me gulp! My daughter used to celebrate Boxing Day with us, but she wasn't here this year. Since we live in the U.S., it would be lost on most anyone else! I do so miss that. it's just not the same having the left-overs without an official name! Your mum is lucky you're around!

  9. Cheers Bob. I was very pleased to just see the Water Rail, but getting pictures was the icing on the cake. Made my day :)
    Horrible moment when you slip with the camera, and just hope........glad yours is ok too.

    Thanks for your comment Robin.
    Years ago when I was a kid, and it was the thing for big family get togethers at Christmas, Boxing Day was just as exciting as Christmas Day itself. Such a shame to grow up lol

  10. Glad to hear you and the camera are still in one piece, if a little sore!
    Nice captures, especially the Water Rail. FAB

  11. Hi Keith I see your Robin has been on the Christmas cheer as well as mine, Nice set of pictures I like the Water Rail Shots

  12. You hit the jackpot there Keith. Brilliant. I would have been happy with the Snipe, or the Treecreeper, or the Tree Sparrow, or the Water Rail. You got the lot, great images well.

  13. Cheers Frank. Once that Water Rail appeared, my leg made an excellent recovery lol

    Thanks Keith. Those Robins really know how to puff out their chests to catch your eye, don't they. :)

    Thanks Roy. Was a good couple of days to wind down the year with.

  14. Thanks for the nice comments about my pelican photos. I truly enjoy yours...these are great!

  15. Well that was a very productive day. Always nasty are falls with a camera. self preservation goes out of the window to be replaced with camera preservation.

  16. Stunning pictures Keith! What a great list of birds!! and well done on the Treecreeper - hard enough to spot let alone get a shot of! Glad you and the camera were OK ;)

    Happy new year to you...

  17. Lenora, thank you for your comments.

    Thanks Adrian. Very true; I was more worried about the camera and lens than anything else. lol

    Tricia, thank you, and have a great New Year too.

  18. Just wanted to wish you a very happy and healthy New Year Keith. I am still having difficulty keeping up with comments but have enjoyed looking through your last posts and was of course very interested in the second part of your Draycote visit, wonderful Stoat photos!

    So glad you and your camera weren't badly hurt when you slipped on the ice, what a good job you didn't plunge into the lake! I particularly enjoyed the Treecreeper and the Water Rail neither of which I have ever seen.

  19. ShySongbird, thank you. I owe you a big thank you for Draycote. If I hadn't read your posts about your visits, I'd never have known about such a great place.
    And a very happy New Year to you too.

  20. Ah so thats what a Tree Creeper looks like, its one of my brothers favorite birds. My bro Mick saw them for the first time a couple of years ago when he stayed at the Tranquil Otter in Cumbria.

  21. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Captain.
    The Treecreeper is pretty hard to spot some times; it's like a little mouse creeping up the trunk of a tree.