Sunday, 8 December 2013


 Funny how things work out, having not seen the Long Tail Ducks yesterday my actual plan was to again head up to the back of Mary's Lake, blue skies and I had spotted the Kites playing in the fields, that was the plan and perhaps start my "Fieldfare and Redwing in Flight" project...but mostly the Kites. As I was walking pass Mary's Lake I made a mental note to check the bay/area I had spotted the other birder was at yesterday, sure enough as I approached the bay in the channel between the two islands (very far away) was a solitary low profile in the water that didn't register with any birds I knew, it was a Long Tail Duck, very,very,very far away and straight away dived down and I swear for 2 minutes despite frantic looking/scanning I couldn't see it. But then it bobbed up, the distance halved, but still a bit too far away, they can hold their I crouched and waited....the Kites would have to wait.
 I was soon joined by another birder called Mark and the Long Tail Duck came quite close, would have liked it closer but was happy none the less. I wasn't too happy with the exposure settings. We also had two sparrowhawks fly over, the first looking at my photos is a male, a distant Kestrel and then the second sparrowhawk, I didn't adjust the exposure quick enough and got a half decent female shot (see last image) but also MY NEMESIS the Kingfisher flew through and closer to us then the Long Tail Duck. I've set up also sorts of hides during the summer (secretly...shusssh) for this particular Kingfisher and it again eluded me...sod!
 I saw some awkward looking landing bird out of the corner of my eye, it reminded me of a Great Crested Grebe landing, got my binoculars and it was the second bird but still a bit distant. Tom Hedge and his "jammy" dad turned up an we mostly chatted, hopefully Tom will post his dads peregrines it looked good on the back of his camera screen, but we know how "dodgy" those camera screens can be lol. A redkite drifted quite close, but the sky was awful by then so no images from me.
Sadly the bird did a lot of diving....I was a bit gutted, I thought the tail might have been longer....a pintail is longer then that tail! Should have been called stumpy tail duck.....
 A dodgy sparrowhawk image.
Everyone want their ways and I decided to have a quick look on the small pond behind Mary's Lake.Two odd thing happened worth mentioning, up near the small pond behind Mary's Lake near the wooden bridge I clocked a groundsheet and sleeping bag in the bushes/trees, so I checked them out from a distance with my binoculars when I suddenly clocked this man in there with no trousers on!!!! Just crouching then stood up, looked at me! Honestly! F**k knows what he was doing, I wasn't going to hang around to find out to be fair and turned around and alked pack to the carpark and NO HE WASN'T taking a pooh, he saw me and made no attempt to cover up or anything..very odd. The second one was bumping into Bob Bullock at the entrance of Mary's Lake who had his scope out, and where we had been watching the stumpy tail duck was now three of them, not sure where the third was whilst we were there but there was a third bird....I wonder what that bloke was doing?


  1. You found the ducks eventually.
    The bloke was the naked bird watcher.

    1. He definately had a small pecker...should've taken a photo ;o)

  2. Well done Douglas you got them in the end!...Cracking set of images.
    Now I'm a bit confused...who are you calling 'stumpy', the duck or the man in the bushes?...[;o)

  3. Thanks Trevor, both to be fair :o) I did go back and check yesterday it appears the man is camping up there, evidence of a small campfire,his cloathing in carrier bags, groundsheet etc. Probably homeless man.

  4. Just catching up on peoples' blogs after some "time off" preparing for Christmas, Doug, so missed this until now.

    The only time I've got close to Long-tailed Duck was in Scotland. You were lucky to get such great views - super photos!

    Nothing dodgy about the Sprawk, or the image! Getting a shot (any shot!) of one in flight is an achievement, and this looks pretty damned good to me!

    I feel sorry for the poor sod who's living rough - I suspect that things are soon going to get harder as it seems we've got some cold weather coming.

  5. Thanks Richard, Xmas is a nightmare time for all sadly
    These three on Mary's Lake are giving great views and hopefully stay a long time.
    It is sad for the man who's living rough, we have quite a bit of it round my way, sadly mostly imigrants.