(CLICK ON A PIC AND IT WILL GO BIG)
James didn't have much time so it was an early start to the day. 8am sharp at Greylake was the order. As is the tradition for the EFRS I arrived to the wonderful scene below at about 9:20 with James running just a little late. 9:20 and I was greeted with a wonderful display from the raised hide at Greylake of hundreds of Ducks doing a fly about.
I had a good scan to see what was about. A pair of Female Marsh Harriers were quartering around not too far from the hides but far enough away to not be worth the shot. Pretty much standard for Marsh Harriers in our experience. Anyway James turns up complete with bobble hat and Lidl gloves well it was a bit chilly.
Wigeon coming in
Rather chuffed with this Shoveler
One of the Marsh Harriers scaring the ducks
I do like a bit of symmetry
With not a lot happening I plumped for an exercise in Snipe. It wasn't too successful with most keeping well down and out of the way. I tried anyway. James on the other hand had higher ambitions of Peregrines. Well you can but dream and Greylake is a good spot for them.
Pretty much as good as it got with the Snipe
Not the first Great White Egret to drop in on the day
Little did it know but this Lapwing would have quite an exciting time in the next few minutes (OK it probably isn't the exact Lapwing as there were rather a lot of them and they do tend to all look the same but in the interest of drama we'll assume it is this particular one shall we)
Aye up whats this coming right at us James?
Yep James had got his wish and far off there was a distinctive shape sending mayhem up amongst the ducks quietly minding their own business in the fields.
The scythe of DEATH
Hmm good luck with that!
Who's chasing who??
As close as it got (It did get a lot closer than this but read on)
It did indeed get a lot closer. Right over our heads out of sight directly above the hide roof. It was chasing a, sorry I mean the lapwing for lunch. We got rather over excited by it all as we heard the squeal of the Lapwing and a crashing of branches. The Peregrine must have just caught it but it managed to fall into the trees immediately behind the hide. James had it in his sights but couldn't focus quick enough before it fly out. The Peregrine was well gone by this time. The whole palaver was too close to capture even if the roof hadn't been there but at least we would have seen it. Bugger!
A few minutes later it appeared on a far off post. The Marsh Harriers were not too pleased.
Marsh Harriers and Peregrines don't mix
Finally a couple more of the hunkered down Snipe
We thought we'd seen enough for one day at Greylake and headed over to Catcott.
James: I'll take over from here then. After leaving Greylake Andrew speeded off in his new fancy car. But then suddenly stopped after the creepy abandoned looking motel. Perhaps he had seen a ghost? It actually turned out that he needed a wee. Leaving him to it I arrived at Catcott. I was slightly off put by the large number of cars sprawled all over the place. Looked more like Tecos carpark than a slice of countyside.
Just before Andrew arrived there was a bit of a commotion but I dont know what caused it
Its the jittery Lapwings, they are always on edge!
Andrew looking uncertain - dont worry it is Catcott. Not Tescos carpark.
My sports car occupies the foreground.
Thats more like it. Best bird in the sky. Hard as nails.
Unfortunately the Peregrine was only flying through. Perhaps Greylake offered some easier Duck pate?
Speaking off which...
Plenty of winter ducks and the sun even came out for a bit
Time was getting on and the childrens party loomed closer. Luckily it was pretty flippin cold and it was quite nice to warm up a bit in the car. It had been a great start to the year - long may it continue!