The weather forecast for this morning was for frost with clear skies and sunshine so I thought I'd set the alarm for groan o'clock and go and get a photo of the Slavonian Grebe (above and below) at Brooklands lake, if it was still there..
I groaned when the alarm went off, so I knew it was time to get up and then I groaned again when I looked out of the window to find no frost and lots of cloud, which meant bad light for any photo's.
I soon found the Slavonian Grebe, busily preening, a fair way out into the lake and certainly too far to photograph especially given it's size, being considerably smaller than Gt. Crested and a bit bigger than Little Grebe. When I saw it before it was close to the reeds in the shallower water and I thought that might be where he preferred to be for feeding as this lake is very deep in the middle I think. So I crept behind a tree close to the water's edge and watched, and waited, and nearly froze to death. It was a vicious wind and it was blowing nobody any good. Especially given that it was depositing the evil, rancid smelling, putrid steam that belches like Bear's breath from the paper mill next to the river, straight onto the side of the lake where I was hiding.
Thankfully, after about ten minutes, the Grebe started to make it's way towards me, making short dives as it got to the shallower water nearer to the reedbeds. I risked a couple of shots in the poor light and waited for the frame filler which would surely come. And it would have done i'm sure if a resident Gt. Crested Grebe hadn't attacked it and drove it back to the middle of the lake. I couldn't believe it and them being cousins as well, maybe in their world water is thicker than blood.
I didn't have much time to spare so I continued around the lake where I was consoled by a Kingfisher and a Gt. Spotted Woodpecker, plus a pair of Rooks flying over, a not too common sight in this neck of the woods and a useful November New Hythe tick.
Also on the water were a few Gadwall and good numbers of Shovelers, their numbers building up nicely as winter returns and the weather gets colder. By the time I reached the NW corner of the lake the low sun had started to make an appearance and was showing the dozen or so Pochards off nicely, it's weak rays illuminating their rich brown heads and setting their red eyes glowing.
These are one of my favourite ducks so i've included below some of the pictures I took of them this morning. The last one was taken against the reflection of a tree who's golden leaves were still hanging on. I thought this set it off nicely and gave it almost a Summer's evening feel.