Sunday, 21 March 2010

Signs of Spring

The forecast was for fine weather this morning so I got up early and headed for Bretton Lakes in the hope that the first of the summer migrants had arrived. The Chiffchaffs are usually the first to appear and it seems that this year is no exception. After a few minutes walking through the woods by the top lake their trademark call could be heard. Unfortunately the sound only lasted for a minute or so and I didn't manage to catch sight of it's owner. Give it a few more days and we should be up and running!

There was plenty of other activity though. Especially on the lake where the resident Mute Swan cob was busy patrolling the area around the island, where I suspect his mate is hidden away on the nest. As usual he was engaged in his favourite 'sport' - Canada Goose chasing. He really seems to hate these creatures with a vengeance and not just at breeding time either.

Here he is at full ramming-speed, driving off the first of his happless victims.

When he tired of surface-raiding he decided to try aerial bombardment! Note the rather bemused Tufted Duck.

Well that shifted 'em!

A pair Great Crested Grebes have nested just to the right side of island for a couple of years but this time they have decided on a new site, nearer to the middle of the lake. It will be harder to get close to this nest but you can get some distant shots from the path which runs near the lakeside.

She was 'in position' for some time before the male took the hint and did the business...

It was all over in a flash.

I've been trying to get close enough to photograph Goldcrests for ages now but haven't seen a single bird until recently. I was only about 20 feet from this pair but that still isn't near enough even with a 500mm lens + 1.4x teleconverter so I had to make do with these heavy crops.

Last but not least is this Wren, who was hanging around the hide whilst I was in there.


  1. The swan is quite relentless in chasing off these geese (I feel the same way about them ;-) I like these action shots. Any my how 'pleased' your grebe couple look - must have been a fantastic few seconds :-) Four seconds is about the norm with kestrels and red-tails.
    That first shot of the Goldcrest is awesome! I can't believe you have a 500mm and 1.4x and were 20 feet away and still had to crop that much. It looks great but proves that lust for longer lens has no end!

  2. Cheers BG. The Goldcrests are so tiny I'm afraid you would need to be almost face-to-face to get a frame-filling shot!