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, 29 August 2012


Yesterday, myself and Trevor, had a great day out, at two nature reserves in Hertfordshire. We started at Amwell, and then went on to Rye Meads.

Neither of us had been to Amwell before, and since Rye Meads doesn't open till 10 a.m., we made Amwell our first stop.

There has been a report of a Redstart in one of the fields, so a possible bonus if we managed to see it; although neither of us are 'twitchers', it would be good to see it while we're there, but certainly not the end of the world if we didn't.

We parked up in the narrow road, (no fancy car parks here), and made our way down a leafy track, towards the reserve.

Across a railway line, over the river Lea, and eventually one of the lakes lay ahead.

 A 'welcome' notice, and another large board, that had a list of the recent sightings.

 A great idea. I was warming to this place already.

We set of down  a track road towards one of the hides. A very impressive hide too.
Clean, tidy, and giving good views over the lake.
After a while we left there, and made our way round towards the next hide. Three in all, and all equally clean, and tidy.
From the 'White Hide', excellent views over the biggest lake, Great Hardmead Lake, and the many birds that were there; amongst them,

 Little Egret

Eventually we left the comfort of the hide, and set off towards the next lake.

 There is also a meadow here, and a dragonfly trail. It's also where the Redstart has been sighted.

Walking down the leafy track, we stopped occasionally to photograph the dragonflies and butterflies that were in abundance.

Speckled Wood

A gentleman walked past with some binoculars round his neck, exchanged a few pleasantries, and carried on.
We finally reached the gate to the meadow, and as we went in, we saw binocular man off to our right, chatting to another man with a camera, and lurking a short distance from the bush where the Redstart had been sighted.

We carried on along the path, towards the boardwalk that crosses over the wet meadow. We agreed we'd go look for the Redstart in the bush, later.

A few more dragons and butterflies, a Sparrowhawk overhead, and then we began to make our way back towards binocular man, camera man, and Redstart bush.

Something caught my eye as we slowly walked there.
Over on a wooden seat, not far from our destination, sat a bird.

 The Redstart. A little distant, but the Redstart nonetheless.

The funny thing was though; to me, anyway, the two intrepid bird watchers had been joined by a third. All three were gazing lustily towards Redstart bush.

 And just a few yards behind them, a Redstart was gazing their way.

 The irony.

When we first saw binocular man along the track, he hadn't mentioned the Redstart.
Maybe he thought two blokes heading that way, with cameras and binoculars, weren't interested in birds, or a Redstart that is not exactly as common as a pigeon.
Or maybe he was just a miserable bugger, and wasn't going to tell us.
Well, here we were, looking at a Redstart,

that was behind them, looking their way, while they were looking at a bush.

As we walked past them, they looked over briefly, and then set their silent gazes, lovingly at the bush.

I was so temped to call out, 'it's behind you!!'

But I thought, 'nah, sod 'em'.


  1. I seem to remember that this is not the first time you have come across these so called "experts' that really don't have much of a clue Keith. Didn't that involve wheaters. Anyway lovely to see a Redstart and you got some good shots.
    Definition of 'Experts'.
    'Ex' as in 'hasbeens' and 'sperts' as in 'drips' under pressure.{:)

  2. Looks to be a beautiful place and what a great blog Keith !! lol ! I love it :)

  3. It's behind you! Brilliant.
    Glad you found it. I thought I'd found a Ring Ouzel yesterday but it was a female blackbird....Story of my life....Story of theirs by the look of it.

  4. Wheatears and Ring Ouzels at Ivinghoe Beacon Roy. Yea, I love these grown ups. Always good for a laugh. lol

    Thanks Pescalune. I guess there's birders like this all over the world lol

    Cheers Adrian. Keep looking for the Ring Ouzel; they're out there.

  5. I really enjoyed our day out Keith, and our first visit to Amwell (a great place, just needs a decent car park!) was an entertaining experience, in more ways than one!..lol. I wonder how many 'bush watchers' are there today?

    Excellent post Keith, how do you manage to get your photos processed and a blog done so bloody quickly?...I'm still sorting out the photos I took last week!!...[;o)

  6. Wonderful Keith..
    I love the fact that they thought it only likes one bush in what looks like a lovely nature reserve.
    Thanks for the laugh.

  7. It certainly was a great day Trevor.
    Glad we went yesterday and not today; it's chucking it down here at the moment.
    I'm still going through last weeks pictures too. lol
    I just picked out a few from yesterday for this post.

    Thanks Andrew. Yea, a great place to visit. Definitely worth a return trip.
    Some of these 'grown ups' certainly make for interesting blogging material lol

  8. That's a hoot. I would have been tempted to saunter over and show them the photos though. :)

  9. Makes me chuckle, perhaps they were shy lol. I noted the opening time of Rye Meads(RSPB) and had this issue at Rainham Marshes, not been to Rye Meads but at Rainham you physically can't get onto the site until they are open is it the same at Rye Meads. Why open at 10am do the RSPB not realise some of the best birding is done first thing, at least some of the RSPB sites you can gain acess to the sites before they open, you just can't get into the shop etc

  10. HI Keith...What a hoot to see those three binocular clad "experts"with three sets of eyes plus three sets of magnified eyes standing staring into the bush, while the Redstart chuckles to itself, maybe thinking "over here boys" and flies away : }}}}
    The Little Egret is a nice shot..and glad you wasn't standing back to, and got the Redstart! ; }
    Hugs my friend!!

  11. Hilary, that's cruel ...... but I like it lol

    Douglas, Rye Meads has a fence all around it; bit like a prison camp, so yea, you can't get in till they open.
    A few reserves are like that, including some of the Wildlife Trust places, and I don't like it personally. I agree, the best 'birding' is done early.
    Sod the shop, it's the birds I come to see, not a shop assistant.
    Even Rutland is like that.

  12. Thanks Grace. If these 'experts' ever get it right, I'll have nothing to blog about. lol
    Hope you're keeping well.

  13. Oh, the irony. I'm glad you can check that one off.

  14. Well done with the lovely little Redstart Keith, I've never seen one... And it looks like those blokes didn't either ;-) Lovely photos of the egret and Speckled Wood!

    I have been to a couple of reserves where there is a place to record recent sightings, Otmoor particularly comes to mind, I think it's a great idea.

    A really funny and entertaining read on a wet and miserable day! I remember seeing a photo of someone taking distant photos of penguins once and there was one stood right behind him :-)

  15. Been to Amwell several times and Rye Meads often. Well done on the redstart - might have a look when I'm up that way later in the week.

    Know just what you mean about uncommunicative 'birders'. - glad you kept 'Mum' ;)

  16. "NAH, SOD 'EM", your a naughty man. Lovely pictures though.

  17. thanks for the laughs! the pics of the 3 of them staring off into the forest are hilarious! :)

  18. Thanks JoLynne. I thought it was hilarious they were watching a bush, while the bird was watching them.
    One of life's great moments lol

    Thanks Jan, glad it brightened a dull day. Still raining here. I need more silly birders antics. lol

    Thanks Tricia. I really enjoyed my visit to Amwell. A lovely reserve.
    Even the locals were 'enjoyable' lol

    Cheers Bob. Yea, had to be done lol

    Thanks Theresa. I'm sure you have equally 'strange' birders there. They're certainly entertaining. lol

  19. Beautiful shots of the egret and the redstart, Keith. And the picture of the three guys watching the bush with their backs to what they were searching for was hilarious. I had to smile at Hilary's comment, too.

  20. Thanks Linda. Yea, Hilary left a good one. Made me smile when I read that. :-)

  21. Keith, well done! Birders with blinders on! That's a hoot! Good on Ya! Smartasses!

  22. Nice bird to see Keith! I always enjoy giving the so-called experts their 'just desserts'! Serves 'em right, miserable buggers!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  23. Sounds like a great reserve Keith and love the Redstart story. Amazing how grumpy I've often found 'twitchers' to be.

  24. Cheers Robin. Sadly there's too many birders around like that. I'm thinking of doing an occasional feature highlighting some of the absurdities.

    Thanks John. Yea, always good to see these birds; not some of the stuck up birders they attract though. lol

    Adam, it is a great place. As for grumpy twitchers, Adrian got it right once when he said they're grumpy 'cause of all the money they've spent on scopes and stuff.
    Sums it up about right, I think.

  25. Great story, glad you got the Redstart, a lovely little bird.

  26. Great story, glad you got the Redstart, a lovely little bird.

  27. GOOD that you saw the redstart!
    Seems to be a really nice spot to go birding and to see other nice bits of nature too. ITS been my experience that the more Gear they have, the more stuck up they are..lol SO These 3 were loaded down with gear! Me I travel light and everyone speaks to me, because Im approachable, and appear harmless!

  28. Thanks Gillian. I think I could write a book about some of the birders I've met lol

    Thanks Sondra. Yea, it's a lovely reserve to wander around; definitely worth another visit.
    I think you're right with your thoughts on birders there. lol

  29. Poor guys. I bet if you didn't resist the temptation and told them the Redstart was behind them all the time, it would spread its wings and flew away. :)

    It's great that you still have new places to discover for your photographs.

  30. Thanks Petra. There's a lot of places I still need to explore round here.

  31. Well, what can i say? Great post, Keith!