Thursday, 22 April 2010

Another sunny day, another wetland centre trip!

A rare lunchtime finish from lectures gave me a rare opportunity to scamper down to the wetland centre on a weekday. With planes back in the air, it was by no means the peaceful scene that had greeted me a few days previsouly, but the sun was shining and the birds were... well, sleeping mostly! Settling into the wader scrape hide, a number of waders - sandpipers/ringed plovers/snipe/redshanks - kept me happy as they skirted round the islands, dipping into the calm water.

Another visitor to the wader scrape - Always keep an eye on the fence to the right of the hide, last time I snapped a wren, this time some starlings were hopping about the rails :)

After a little while, I skirted back to the WWF hide. En Route, I saw one of my favourites - A long tailed tit. These happy little chaps always remind me of my years in Cardiff where they used to congregate in the trees around the university all through the Summer. I caught this one with my camera on sport mode as he hopped about a tree.

Just to finish - this tufted duck was having a tussle with another. I caught his as he crashed in to land just in front of the wwf hide.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

What a way to break up revision :)

With the sun shinning and no wind at all, I couldn't resist breaking the monotony of revision with a trip to the Wetland Centre :) It's a strange thing this volcanic ash situation - and you don't appreciate it until you go somewhere like the wetland centre - but with all planes grounded, the world seems unusually tranquil. No vapour trails to slice up the clear blue sky either!

Even bright and early the birds we making the most of the sunny weather, and i made the most of their activity clicking away with my camera! Here are some highlights:

A Summer visitor to Britain - this was the first Wheatear I have ever snapped and indeed seen! Hopping around by the wader scrape, I was just quick enough to capture him as he flitted across the water and out of sight.

Next is one of my favourites. There is something about the diminutive figure of little grebes that never fails to make me happy - maybe its their powderpuff tail, or the way they swim with such determination across the vast lake, but they are a pleasure to watch whatever! To make things even better, I was privileged to watch a pair choose their spot (just to the bottom left of the WWF hide) and set about nest building.

From one small bird to another - I spied this wren hoping about on a fence nr the wader scrape hide. Lovely spots of brown and a little perky tail :)

And finally for now, I had a very lucky 20 minutes as a heron came in close and personal to the hide i was in and began hunting in the smooth waters of the lake. Normally a serious and extremely elegant bird, I couldnt help but chuckle as the heron would begin to bend his neck over at ridiculous angles as he closed in on the elusive fish.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

15th April '10

The day the ash blanketed Britain!

Despite various exams coming up, I could resist the sun no longer and head down to the WW Centre bright and breezy for opening at 930. Dodging the congregating prams, I wandered the hides, especially enjoying the sight of the many sand martins which have appeared since my last trip.

Despite the sun, in the hides the hides were very cold, with the prevailing wind blowing straight in through the windows. Cold fingers mixed with a fairly short time at the centre meant photo time was short, but here are some brief highlights :)

A mixed blessing - Im not sure how, but sitting in the WWF hide, I somehow managed to react fast enough to capture this shot as a crow suddenly shot accross my vision harrassing a sparrowhawk. Over in a flash, I snapped two frames - Mercifully I caught them, but oh what i wouldnt give for the focus to be crisper!!

Generally, this morning was a morning for sleeping, at least as far as the ducks (mostly teals, shovelers and tufted ducks, but i spied a pochard too) were concerned. During a rare flurry of activity, I caught this tufted duck having a stretch.

And finally, some geese :)