(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
Proper day out today by a full squadron. What with the beautiful weather of Saturday Sunday was going to be even better wasn't it. It wasn't it was grey, very grey, greyer than four Grey Herons.
James had decided to forgo the cycle to Hamwall and drove to the new car park. This was going to prove very fortuitous as you will find out soon enough. We met at VP1. I was there a few minutes before him and I was snapping merrily away at a Bittern that was sailing across the waters. He missed it.
The bittern James missed
Half a second before it disappeared into its natural environs
We stayed a while looking at the various few ducks but little was stirring after the Bittern. We moved on to the Avalon Hide. On the way James met an old work colleague so lagged behind. I got to the hide and as I was setting things up another Bittern decided to saunter passed. James came in as I was finding one of the shots to show him. He had missed it!
Really showing the colours on it's wings nicely here
As we looked around the hide it seems something was using it as a roost, something big by the looks of the splats. I've always said they should put a door on the hide!
We were intrigued by the Owl box. Was there anyone home? We spent quite a while looking into the deep dark hole convincing ourselves that there was a feathered shape in there. I don't think there was.
Who said romance was dead
The only Gadwall we saw
Again we moved on and went back to VP2 for a few mins. As we arrived we noticed a Great White Egret very close to the near bank. We made a quiet approach. Not satisfied with the view James crept round and went to the other bank to get even closer. Wise choice as the foliage was in the way for me.
Nice one James
After a warming hot chocolate at Eco-friendly bites we set of for the long haul to Catcott. We were looking forward to seeing if the duck numbers were up after the recent rain. As we left the car park James mentioned his tyres were a bit flat. We pondered on pumping them up there or waiting until we got there. This was James' second wise choice. It wasn't going well with the pumping up of tyres. James isn't the most practical of people as you may know. In fact only the other day he was demoted to teaboy while his good lady assembled the flat pack wardrobes! I amused myself with hunting Little Owls in the large ivy covered tree opposite. After a while I took a look and came to the conclusion he wasn't going to get far that day.
Erm! I don't think this bit is supposed to come off James.
Undaunted we made a hasty decision and cycled back to his car which meant the short op back to the Shapwick entrance and then the rather longer skip through Shapwick. Logistics was against us though as his tyre was flat and hard work. Also he has a rather small car. 'Yes I could get my bike in' he said. Oh! I thought thats ok we'll just put mine on top. 'But you can't get any passengers in though'. Hmm I'm sure we'll be alright. I lent him my bike at the Shapwick entrance and he sped off. I amused myself with listening to the F1 final race. Alas that didn't work out how I wanted. James sped up about 30 minutes later and we were off. I just had to throw his buggered bike in and we're off. That was the easy bit. With all those wheels about the seat was pushed right forward. I folded myself in half and like a dog I had my paws up on the dash eagerly panting against the window.
Woof woof woof
It was of course sods law that to get to Catcott from Shapwick meant going along possibly the bumpiest roads in all the Levels. I kept my hat on for added protection. A press on the accelerator had me squeezed into the seat that closed even more like a crocodile since the seat was in push forward mode. A press on the break saw me pressed against the windscreen! James was enjoying himself. Getting in and out was rather difficult birth!
Catcott was in full swing of winter duckland. Lots of the little buggers calling and dabbling and squabbling and flitting away. The vast majority were Wigeon with a smattering of Teal and a hand full of Pintails. Far off in the distance were the noisy boys of Greylag and Canada Geese. One Great White and a few Swans completed the scene. There's nothing like the ducks to get you into the winter spirit. On such a calm and grey day it was a welcome treat. It's always interesting to watch them going about they're business when suddenly something spooks them and the whole lot go up. We were wishing for a Peregrine. I don't think they were.
Female Wigeon givin' it some lip
This chap was stretching rather than calling
A flock of Lapwings made an appearance
The highlight were the 5 Pintails far out
A couple of Buzzards set them off
The Greylags were on the move
and so were the Swans
That wasn't it of course. James had to drive me home. Well I suppose he didn't have to I could have rode home but that never occurred to me. Instead I squeezed back into the jaws of the Peugeot and we set off. It was an interesting ride. James trying not to be leaden footed. It was a tight fit but we made it! I wasn't expecting all that but it's what the EFRS are all about. We don't let trivial disasters stop us getting our duck!!