Monday, 5 March 2012


Thursday the 1st of March started off with a rosy pink sunrise which by 7am had turned to thick fog, which was slightly annoying as I had planned to go for a walk around Caldecotte Lake. The weather forecast did however predict  a pleasant sunny day.
After a leisurely breakfast and attending to a few little jobs that needed doing around the house, I decided that the fog was thinning a little and perhaps I should go anyway, by it was now 10.30am and half the day had already gone.
Arriving at the lake just after 11am I could see that the fog/mist was indeed rising to reveal a bright blue sky and with no wind to speak of the lake was almost flat calm (a change for Caldecotte as it's nearly always windy!!)

First stop was the foot bridge by the car park (were Keith has got the birds well trained!!) and a few handfuls of seed on the handrail soon brought down Reed Buntings, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, Chaffinch, a Robin along with Blackbirds, House Sparrows and a couple of shy Greenfinch.

Female Reed Bunting

Male Reed Bunting

On to check out Keith's feeders, which were surprisingly quiet with only a couple of Greenfinch, a Robin and two Long Tailed Tits in attendance.

On around the South lake and the first thing that I noticed was that most of the waterfowl were taking it easy and were just 'loafing' around the edges of the lake. Around by the houses two elderly women were feeding a melee of Mallard, Canada Geese, Mute Swans and Black Headed Gulls.


A Black Headed Gull with it's first sandwich of the day!

The next thing I came across was rather upsetting, a dead Great Crested Grebe upside down in the water. A length of fishing line could clearly be seen tangled around it's bill!


Next up a dead fish, a Pike, about 12 to18 inches long, in the shallows just past the boathouse.

Onwards and around past the first bird hide were I fed Keith's tame Robin and saw something I'd not seen before, a Dunnock seemed to bury itself down in the leaf litter a proceeded to 'bathe' in just the same way as it would were it having a dust bath, I guess!  I would have had some video only the 'wally effect' took over and I forgot to press the record button!!  ( It looked good in the viewfinder though, best video ever!)

By now the temperature had risen to a balmy 15*C (59*F) and time was getting on and as I still wanted to go around the South lake I made a quick walk to the road bridge stopping to take this picture across the lake showing the houses (oh to have lots of money!) With Keith's favourite place, the boathouse, in the foreground.

 And these of a Mute swan taking to the air...

And this of a cruising Herring Gull (2nd winter....I think?) 

The North lake seemed to be very sparse in regard to waterfowl and the reason soon became apparent as I could hear the noise of  chain saws and shredding machines in the distance, sure enough just around the corner the 'butchers' (landscapers) will busily hacking down all the bushes. (I won't say any more as it will just turn into a rant!!).
A brisk walk around to the dam and I spotted two Mute Swans having what looked like a fight, although I guess it was just a show of strength as they didn't appear to be inflicting to much damage to each other. The 'fight' went on for the best part of thirty minutes until another male Swan, who had swam the whole width of the lake, just quietly nudged into them whereupon they stopped 'fighting' and swam off in different directions just like two naughty schoolboys that had been told off for fighting in the playground!
 I did manage to get most of the action on video apart from the ending when again the 'wally effect' once more prevented me from pressing the record button!!

The only other sightings of note on my walk back to the car were a group of Wigeon in the bay by the houses and the 'resident' Crow with the  white wing feathers.

The 'Fight' video.....


Abhinav said...

Nice post.

The Herald said...

Thanks Abhinav...[;o)

holdingmoments said...

Excellent post Trevor. Fantastic set of pictures, especially the swans.
Sad about the grebe though. Bloody careless fishermen; and they shouldn't even be fishing in that part of the lake.

That video was amazing. They look very fierce when they fight like that. Only ever seen it once before, and it's quite distressing to watch.

The Herald said...

Thanks Keith, Yeh, watching those Swans going for it definitely sent a few shivers down my spine!...[;o)

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful shots I must say, and I dislike all fishermen, I don't know any that I call a man, ugh. I love your image of the swans having a fight, superb.

The Herald said...

Thank you Bob. I'm sure not all fishermen are careless and irresponsible...are they?

It was a strange and frightening experience seeing those Swans fighting like that...[;o)

ShySongbird said...

Oh my! The Swan fight was pretty spectacular but I'm glad really that I wasn't there Trevor. As I already knew it had a happy outcome I could watch it but if I had witnessed it in person I would have found it very distressing. They must have both been exhausted after all that! You certainly had an eventful visit. The GCG incident was horrible, I'll spare you my rant or this comment will be even longer than usual ;-) but I'm sure you know what I think of such mindless carelessness...

Anyway you have some lovely photos here, the Reed Buntings are lovely and the BH Gull reminded me of one of those great shots you see of Puffins with their beaks crammed full of fish :-)

Roy said...

Lots of fabulous images Trevor. The clarity on those Bunting shots and some great flight shots. Don't mind seeing a dead Pike, (No loss) but the Grebe is very distressing and some of these "Fisher persons" have a lot to answer for. Always unpleasant to see Mutes fighting like that (Two Cobs). Nasty pieces of work really. Great new header shot as well.

The Herald said...

Thank you Jan. Yeh you're right it was distressing to watch those Swans fighting. It did briefly cross my mind to jump in and stop them!! But, I guess, common sense prevailed in the end!

I think all that needs to be said about fishermen has already been said!

I didn't mention it in the post but the B H Gull eventually 'lost' his sandwich to one of his 'pals'!...[;o)

The Herald said...

Thanks Roy. Yeh, not a pleasant sight seeing that Grebe and likewise the fighting Swans.
To sum it all up though, I guess the first could, with some care, have been prevented and the second was just nature 'doing it's thing'...[;o)

Ruby said...

I love the swan shots!! Too bad about the bird :(

The Herald said...

Thanks Ruby...[;o)


Great photo's of the swan taking off Trevor Those swans must have been done in after all that fighting.

The Herald said...

Thanks Peter. Yeh, They both looked to be getting tired. I don't like to think about what the ending would have been, had they not been stopped by the other Swan...[;o)