Thursday, 31 October 2013


Yesterday I arranged to meet Keith, at silly o'clock (it was still dark!), in the car park at Wilstone, one of our local reservoirs.

Our quest? to see if we could locate the American vagrant that had been giving good sightings over the last few days...A female Ring-Necked Duck (aythya collaris)    Did we see it?  Eventually yes...sort of, but not until a grown up birder with a big spotting scope had pointed it out to us, it was quite distant!

In case you don't know what a Ring-Necked Duck looks like, here's a picture of it!

After the excitement of seeing 'the duck' we set off to walk around the rest of the reservoir.  After walking for about fifteen minutes it suddenly hit me that I no longer had the back pack, containing the wide angle and macro lenses that I usually carry around with me!  A quick rewind and I came to the conclusion that I'd left it in the bird hide, unloading my camera and bins onto Keith I set off to hopefully retrieve my belongings. Now, have you seen that funny walk  people do when they're in a hurry? .....two or three quick steps followed by a funny sort of  straight legged jogging then a few more quick steps, add in some muddy tracks and grassy banks...get the picture? I even passed two lycra clad young ladies that were out jogging/ walking their dogs (okay...okay...they'd stopped for a chinwag)  back at the deserted hide, there was my bag, exactly where I'd left it.  I shouldn't have worried, it was still early and any sensible birders were still in bed!!

It was a rather slower walk that I took to catch  back up with Keith!...the rest of our journey around the reservoir was rather less eventful, save for a quick glimpse or a long staying Water Pipit and a close flyby of some Greylag Geese that were returning to the water after feeding out in the nearby fields.

Our next stop was College Lake, just a few minute's drive away, where we were hoping to see the (three?) Jack Snipe that had been reported as showing well the previous evening. As we walked the circuit of the lake we stopped off at the various Jack Snipe to be seen though!

There were quite a few Common Darter dragonflies about along the footpaths, this female decided to have a little game of hide-and-seek with me.

At one end of the lake there is a large area covered in rough grass and small trees/shrubs and it's always a good spot for seeing Kestrels, Red Kites and Buzzards. It wasn't long before we were treated to a graceful/lazy flyover by this Buzzard.

Soon we heard the angry  kaar, kaar call of a Rook, it didn't take long to spot what all the noise was about, up in the sky above and, slowly drifting towards us, was a female Kestrel being harried by a rather persistent  Rook.

This went on above our heads for quite a while before the Kestrel  decided she had had enough and made a graceful exit.

There was one final hide to visit in the hope of seeing those Jack Snipe, although we did managed to spot four or five Snipe none of them were Jack Snipe. In other words we'd experienced what grown up birders call a 'dip' (or they've dipped) when time is spent looking unsuccessfully for their target bird.     And we'd just dipped...a big fat dip!!


ADRIAN said...

Great photographs Trevor.
I'm grateful for the image of the Ring Necked Duck. I now know what to look out for.

The Herald said...

Thanks Adrian.
I'm glad I could offer some assistance with improving your duck ID database...[;o)

Bob Bushell said...

Excellent photography Trevor, the flying Canada Geese takes the biscuits.

douglas mcfarlane said...

Oh that was a close shave with the bag Trevor, did it once with my memory cards and some lady ran around the reserve after me just to give them back.
I liked the Buzzard image and Kestrel&Rook battle, tenacious little falcon.

The Herald said...

Thanks Bob...[;o)

Thanks Douglas, the Kestrel and Rook battle was an interesting little interlude.
Worryingly, that's not the first time I've left the bag behind. I once left it in the woods while photographing fungi and only realised when a couple I'd seen earlier caught up with me and asked if lost something, thankfully there are still some honest people around...[;o)

grammie g said...

HI Trevor... Great to see a post from you, I love your tales and your great photos!!
Well I hate to say this but I saw my first male Ring-necked Duck is past spring,and I thought mine was a long shot haha!!
Good that you did get to see one though but all that excitement you left you back pack "yikes" glad that turned okay !!
Wish Keith had taken a video of the
well described jaunt back for your bag!! : ))

Stunning shot's of the geese in flight , and the flight fight!!

Better lucky next duped dipping !!

Thanks for coming by and commenting
I miss you!!

Roy Norris said...

Keith is in a different time zone to the rest of us Trevor.{:))
The image of the RN Duck was most revealing.
Fabulous flight shots of the Greylag and the Buzzard.
Hope the heart rate has recovered after you enforced "Speed March".

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Trevor. You are getting very absent minded!! must be your age. I can talk as I left the picnic basket behind when birding with Eileen!!! Yes, having seen your second shot, I will now be able to ID The Ring necked duck!! Your shots of the Greylag are excellent and I love the series of shots of the Kestrel and Rook.

The Herald said...

Hi Grace...I guess the R-N Duck was just preserving the notion that all Americans are shy and
Thankfully,it all turned out well with the bag.
Now, it's funny that you should mention about Keith and a video. When I left him to run!!!? back for my bag I gave him my camera and binos to look after and later, when I transferred my photos onto the computer low and behold there was a sequence of shots of a puffed out old git plodding back across the muddy field!! He hasn't mention anything about a video, but.....?
Glad you enjoyed the post and images...[;o)

Roy, I think crepuscular is the word we're looking for!
I hope you've noted all of the relevant details from 'the duck' photo just in case you might need them for future ID purposes?
The heart rate has almost returned to normal now!!....[;o)

Hi Margaret, I think it's called age and stage, it's one of the many problems that we have to contend
It maybe best to keep a copy of 'the duck' photo in your pocket, just to be on the safe side!
Thank you for the kind comments, I'm glad you liked the images...[;o)

holdingmoments said...

Great account of the day Trevor.
The Kestrel/Rook skirmish was pretty amazing wasn't it.

Don't worry; no video. I forgot.

grammie g said...

Trevor... I got a good laugh out of that old Bugger taking shot's of you Devilish isn't he!! : ))

Ya you Keith you old Bugger above!!
Your should have gotten a video!! LOL


The Herald said...

Thanks Keith, it was interesting to see the action between the Kestrel and Rook. It was a great day out, and I got plenty of exercise

Phew! video?'re slipping!...[;o)

The Herald said...

Hi Grace...I was going to publish one of those shots but thought better of it....they're not!

And no video?...Aah, what a shame!!...[;o)


it sounnds like you enjoyed your trip, lucky about your lens still being there, i bet the old heart was going. Great in flight photos too.


Roy Norris said...

Trevor, for some strange reason your blog situated on my Blog List doesn't update when you post a new entry so it is showing "5 months ago" all the time. So apologies if I miss your recent updates from time to time.
I will just have to work on it some how.

The Herald said...

Thanks Peter. Yeh, in the end it was a good day out, but could have been a disaster. It was definitely a good[;o)

Roy, I think blogger is up to it's old tricks again. I've been having an email conversation with Margaret this morning and she's seeing the same thing on her reading list. I believe it's the post I did at the end of May...'A long weekend...sunshine and butterflies'. At the time I was having trouble with blogger not showing my posts, I guess they're catching up at!! I hope it sorts itself out soon...[;o)

Roy Norris said...

Yes I have been deleting you and copying you and pasting you, in order to reset it, but its not working as yet. Hope it wasn't too painful.

The Herald said...

Ow! Steady on Roy, I've got an awful headache from all that switching around, I hope blogger gets it all sorted soon!!...[;o)

Cath.H.C Photography said...

Je découvre ton blog, j'aime beaucoup ton travail. Des aventures et de très belles photos d'une beauté incroyable !
Je suis artiste peintre, photographe amateur; je me suis inscrite pour suivre tes publications!
Je t'invite à me rendre visite sur mes blogs, merci beaucoup et bonne soirée! Cath

The Herald said...

Cath, bienvenue sur mon blog, je suis content que vous l'aimez. Merci pour vos commentaires très aimables ...[;o)

Findlay Wilde said...

Next time could you paddle out in to the lake a bit to get me a closer picture of the ring necked duck :)From Findlay

The Herald said...

Findlay, next time I'll get Keith to put his Speedos on and then send him out to get the pictures!...[;o)