|Widgeon (anas penelope), heavy rain and high ISO's not good!|
Given the sun was occasionally breaking out I opted for the main hide (Pioneer hide) as it put the sun behind me. I opened up the windows and was pleased, there was plenty of Widgeon grouping up, busy whistling at each other, Gadwal and Teal were also in reasonable numbers. I started to look around to see what else was on the scrape. There were 2 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plovers (juveniles) also 2 Snipe and a Little Egret. Not a bad start, still a bit to far away to photograph. What was interesting was that one Dunlin was feeding with one of the Ringed Plovers, as was one of the Dunlin feeding with another of the Ringed Plovers leaving the last Ringed Plover to feed all on it's own. At no time did the two pairs mingle with each other. I would've thought the two different species would stay together (Ringed Plovers with Ringed Plovers etc).
The rain started to pour down and as it did a Peregrine nipped low and very fast across the scrape right past the left hand side of the hide and towards Rotary Island. I pointed the camera but at ISO 1600 I only had 1/60th a second shutter speed, it was that dark! Still great to see, just as all the wildfowl and Lapwings settled down a male Sparrowhawk came straight across the reed bed and settled on the logs that are piled up on the right hand side of the hide, I opted for a portrait but the teasels obscured any attempt of a decent image. THIS was becoming a good day despite the lack of images and weather. I watched the Sparrowhawk as it launched an attack, it flew off the logs round the side of the scrape and very quickly gained speed and headed towards the small flock of waders (they were now in the channel in front of the two tier hide) and watched it succesfuly grab the solitary Ringed Plover off the water, splashing into the water to grab it's prey it then took to the side of the Paul Britain hide.
The rain eased and I grabbed a few frames of the Widgeon's coming to land in the rain, as you can see from the image above, the high ISO made the images a bit grainy, it was now about 17:30 and I was talking to a nice couple (Mike and Margaret) when a Hobby flew straight towards us and over the hide...not to shabby given the weather, just wish it had been a bit better for photography!