Saturday, 31 January 2015

Arctic Blast

It's Wednesday evening as I write these opening sentences. The weather forecast is predicting an arctic blast and snow. Let's see what materialises? 

Well, there was some snow, but nothing too bad. Saturday morning was overcast and the wind was bitterly cold. I ended up taking a trip to Kingsbury Water Park as yesterday a Red Crested Pochard was reported on Broomey Croft. As I drove along the entrance lane, a small Vixen appeared from the roadside scrub and stopped looking directly at me. She was in immaculate condition with a thick, glossy and well conditioned coat. The moment the thought of trying to reach across to the back seat for a camera crossed my mind, she vanished.

 I had a good look around Broomey Croft, but no sign of the Red Crested Pochard this morning. I took refuge from the wind in one of the bird hides to drink my coffee and warm up a little. All was quiet in front of the hide apart from a few Drake Teal displaying to the females. 
 As I took my boots out of their boot bag this morning, they looked a right state. In fact, they looked like I had let cement set on them. Absolutely caked in mud and dirt. I do like to look after my kit, so I decided they would get some TLC on my return home. A few people have asked me about my "Wellies" and to be honest, calling them Wellies does them a massive disservice. These aren't wellies, they are boots. Muckboots, and I would recommend them without hesitation. Comfortable to walk in, absolutely waterproof, warm and breathable. Anyway, they are clean now and ready for whatever I throw at them next. 

As I ended up writing about my boots, you can tell its been a quiet weekend.

Sunday morning was very cold in the wind. The cold snap may have been responsible for the biggest mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare I have seen locally this winter. Easily c400 birds feeding in the Sheep fields. Also some great views of a Green Woodpecker. It was the opposite side of a fence post to the wind direction using it as a wind shield. I tried to get in position to take a photo, but the Woodpecker had other ideas.

I also hadn’t realised just how high our local rivers and pools are. Well above normal levels. The footpath along the side of one of the lakes was submerged in a few places.

The last point of note was the number of Coots on one of the smaller pools. I spent about 15 Minutes watching them dispute reed bed territories and Males vying for dominance. They really were going for it. Due to it being dull and windy, I didn’t take the digiscoping set up today, I took my Canon SX40 HS along with me. These were taken hand held at full optical zoom at a distance of about 90 yards. 


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