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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Saturday, 1 February 2014

A February post

.......with some pictures from January.

A few days ago, myself and Trevor had a great day at WWTWelney, despite most of the reserve being flooded. Only the big, heated hide is open at the moment, but it's still well worth a visit. Plenty of Whooper Swans there,

and a lot of Pochard; mostly males.

There was this rather unfortunate looking bird too.

Has to be one of the most horrendous ways to ring a poor bird.

Quite common in Europe, I understand, but not favoured by the BTO here.

One of the highlights of the day, is the swan feed.

One of the reserve staff push a wheelbarrow of seed, out where the birds gather, and throw it out amongst them. A veritable feeding frenzy occurs, with the birds flying in from around the reserve for a free lunch.

The amazing thing for me, was how the birds know when the time is near too.
They all start to gather expectantly in front of the hide.

A short video.

The second highlight of the day, for me, was the Hare walk.

After donning our wellingtons, a small group of us set off across a muddy field, with another of the helpful and friendly staff leading the way.
Hopefully we would see some Hares 'boxing'.
It's not actually a fight as in Queensbury rules, but an over amorous male, having his advances fended off by a female.

At least 18 Hares were spotted as we squelched our way through the mud, but no sign of any 'boxing'. What we did see though, was something I've never seen before.
A Hare swimming.

Some large areas of the field were flooded, and as the Hares were racing around, inevitably, some were confronted by stretches of water.

(I've since found out, that Hares are very good swimmers.)

The action was very distant, but I did manage a few pictures.

Not the best pictures I've ever taken, but a worthwhile set of record shots, I think.

After a coffee, and something to eat, it was back for the second swan feed of the day; and then time to head home.

A very enjoyable visit.

(I notice our local bird club has cancelled their planned visit for 16th, because only one hide is open, and the weather guessers, (who can obviously see into the future), are saying the weather isn't set to improve. Silly buggers!)


  1. Great post Keith, swimming hare ,great flight shots and that sunset photo is a joy to see.


  2. I think the images of the hares swimming is pretty unique, never knew they did that.
    I'm glad to see you're still doing flight shots Keith, it's addictive isn't it?
    Sadly I too have seen a Pochard ringed in France like the one you photographed and have to agree it's seems pretty pointless.

  3. feeding time reminded me of me with my whistling ducks this winter. :)

    love the handsome pochard - but that poor one with the tag on his bill! loved the hare, too!

  4. Hi Keith.... Now that is a lot of mouths to feed!! Birds a pretty smart they can tell time you know for sure!!
    Quite amazing to see the hare swimming, although I didn't think a squirrel could swim either until I saw one swim across a small cove in a lake!!

    Gorgeous sunset!! The bird ringing is just appalling!!


  5. Wow, all are incredibly beautiful. Love the red headed duck.

  6. Keith, you have some excellent shots in this post. Unfortunate of that poor pochard though.

  7. Great shots of the Hare. I'll try for the video later. That tag looks awful.

  8. Thanks Peter, glad you enjoyed them.

    Doug, the swimming Hares were a real surprise to me too.
    Steady practice with the flight shots; maybe a Wren soon lol
    I gather France is pretty big on those beak rings.

    Theresa, the wild birds certainly get to know who their friends are and where there's a free lunch lol

    Thanks Grace. Nature never ceases to amaze me at times.

    Thank you Laura. They are beauties aren't they.

    Choy Wai, thank you. That Pochard does look uncomfortable with that thing on.

    Thanks Adrian. A shame the Hares were so far away, but interesting to see.

  9. hi Keith.Womderful post. Never saw a bird ringed like that - terrible and completely unnecessary. love the video and all your very good flight shots and of course the sunsets just finishes off a great post. even though the Hares were at a distance, the shots were worth taking. isn't it wonderful to see something for the first time- nature always amazes us,

  10. Thanks Margaret. Had a great time there. The Hares were amazing.

  11. Hi Keith,
    Excellent shots, as always! Amazed by the Hare swimming, I suppose it's a case of 'hare today, gone tomorrow'! ;)
    I have seen a few Pochard in my neck of the woods with a bill 'saddle', horrific looking things. I suppose it has something to do with being able to read the ring when the bird is swimming? Although, I don't really see the benefit of doing that, ducks are quite often on land!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  12. Thanks John. Those bill saddles do look horrific don't they. Like you say, a leg ring gives us the same information.

  13. Those Pochards always make me think of Finn, not sure why :) seeing a hare swimming would have been a definite highlight for me too.

  14. OH I don't like that tag at ALL..should be outlawed...
    You had a great day for your action shooting here Keith, what a great spot...I love the detail on the Pochard feathers too!!

  15. I had no idea that hares were good swimmers. Very cool. Your ducks in flight images are just wonderful.

  16. Thanks Heather. The Hare was a special sight for me. Great to see them.

    Sondra, thank you. Those tags are awful aren't they. Glad you enjoyed the rest.

    Hilary, swimming Hares were a big surprise to me too. I hope I never stop learning and being amazed.

  17. I keep looking out for hares locally but have yet to see one :(
    Looks as though you had a grand day out. Love the flight shots.

  18. Sadly a small minority still think it's fun to hunt Hares John. It was good to see so many here.

    1. We have a lot of problems with hare coursing here in Lincolnshire. So much so there is a special police unit which goes out at night to catch those involved.

  19. Hopefully just a minority of people though John.