I like getting out on my bike, exploring what's around and visiting the less popular sites, I can handle grey skies for photography as long as the grey clouds are reasonably high it's not a problem, I even love frosty mornings. But I can't stand misty, murky and damp days. This has been the weather around this way for the last few days.
But this morning I thought I'd venture to the lakes and reedbed behind the Ecton sewage works. It's an interesting area and the last few winters Siberian Chiff-Chaffs and Bearded Tits have loitered. It's not to far away from my home in Eastfield if it was to rain hard I wouldn't get that wet . I knew having looked at the weather forecast photography was going to be limited so along with the binoculars I dusted the scope down and squeezed it all into the camera bag.
I went via the Billing Aquadrome marina and up into Cogenhoe and entered the site via the campsite. A few vaguely interesting birds like a Greywagtail and a Grey Heron were near the canal locks at the campsite. I crossed over the small concrete bridge scanning the hedge and the wooded section. The track leading to to the lakes was boggy to say the least, pushing the bike was a real struggle an inch of mud and leaves coating the tyres and clumping up the brakes....ah cycling! Plenty of common birds, plenty of Fieldfare, a Cettis Warbler heard but not seen, a few wrens were the best.
I made my way up to the reedbed, hoping for Bearded Tits but not before washing the mud off the tyres in puddles and "un-clumping" the brakes with a stick. I had a quick look up the stream at the entrance to one of the lakes, just mallards, moorhens, kamikaze swans (more to come on that) and a Kingfisher.
I got to reedbed didn't hear nor see any Bearded Tit during the two hours I was there, but got a very vocal Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, another Cetti's Warbler and a Wren in a voice off with each other the Cetti's obviously won that one. Got the camera out, 1/10th a sec shutter speed (ISO 1600,500mm f4) so didn't bother just sat and watched as Wren bullied a Cetti's Warbler chasing it around the base of the reed stems. A smaller flock of Fieldfare flew over head and up the lane towards the very nearby A45. Also got a crow bullying a Sparrowhawk. I walked up to the next "pool" were I managed to get two Snipe.
I sat on a concrete bridge that crosses over a ditch which carries what I guess is the treated water from the sewer works. This as I sat is where I stumbled across the kamikaze swans. I know fellow birder/Blogger David James has encountered these here too. The swans fly low around this area and occasionally expect you to move out of the way. I watched in both terror and awe at two Mute Swans flying up the ditch one quite a safe height, the other straight at me at head height and not making any real effort to gain height.
It passed over about 3 foot above my head, so glad it didn't drop a present!
|PLENTY OF GOOD FIELDS FOR GRAZING MEANS LOW FLYING SWANS|
After about an hour I headed back to the lane walking parallel to the ditch and field, got another Cetti's making it three for the day. I headed up the lane and stopped at the concrete bridge where the ditch meets the river and flushed a Green Sandpiper that was resting on the concrete embankment, wasn't expecting that so was happy to see it but gutted I flushed it.
The weather wasn't improving so headed home but not before having a quick look at a pocket park on a housing estate called Ecton Brook. Quite impressed, I got Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker, it's an interesting park worthy of another look next time I visit the sewage farm.