Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tuesday 4th May


A last minute cancellation of an appointment this morning meant that I had about an hour to get down to the Sunken Marsh and try again to find the elusive Turtle Dove. It was cold and the horrible NE wind was still blowing and this is what I blame for my lack of success, what else could it be?


There were still lots of Swifts and Hirundines hawking for insects over Brookland lake so I thought i'd have five minutes sharp shooting to see if I could bag a House Martin. By heck do they fly fast! Although I have to say maybe not quite so fast as the Swifts.


It's not just their speed of flight I find so amazing it's the precision, they fly so close to the surface of the lake, their wing tips seeming to brush the water, but not quite. And all the time they are twisting and turning to catch their prey they still manage to avoid flying in to each other and it all looks so effortless. Poetry in motion!

At the entrance to the Sunken Marsh, where the outfall runs into the river there were two Shelduck, a pair, who were busy preening and were oblivious to my presence some distance away. I didn't want to disturb them so I photographed them through the reed stems which are what has caused the faint blurry lines in the pictures below.


These are handsome ducks and i'm always pleased to see them here on the river. The picture above is the female and she just started to stretch her wings as I took this which helped to highlight the green in her wings which isn't so obvious normally. It's a pity the sun wasn't shining on her to show the colours off better.


This is her partner, he's distinguished from her mainly by the bulbous knob at the base of his blood red bill. There are several pairs on the river at the moment so hopefully we'll have a couple of broods to photograph soon.
Finally just a quick thanks to Greenie of Greenie in the Wild fame for IDing the fungus for me in the previous post.


Warren Baker said...

Ive had shelduck flyover my patch Phil, but not for a few years now, it would be a good one for my patch!

Good effort on the house martin shots!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip on sexing a Shelduck - I didn't know that.

Steve said...

Great House Martin shots Phil. Did you use AI Servo mode to track them?

alan woodcock said...

Nice pics of the House martins,sorry you missed the Turtle Doves.

Phil said...

Steve, yes I did, seems to work well, unless I just got lucky!

ShySongbird said...

Well done on the House Martin shots, I find them incredibly difficult! Love the Shelduck too, a very striking bird.