Saturday, 6 March 2010

Saturday 6th.March 2010

A day of mixed emotions , is the way I would describe today .
An early start from home to get to near Newbury for the last hedgelaying competition that I have entered this season . A bit milder morning than of late , but very overcast with spells of drizzle and light rain on my journey . Within a mile of the competition site , as I drove along a country lane , a 'blob' on a fence post had me braking and reversing to the field gate that I had just passed . Still with the old camera , and given the light conditions , I managed a couple of shots of the 'blob' , which turned out to be a Common Buzzard . I took this shot from the car , but as soon as I opened the door to try to get nearer , it was off , across the field towards the farm where the competition was being held . Just before turning into the farm , I spotted another 'blob' in the middle of a field . I got another shot as the bird took off , heading for a nearby Oak . I'm pretty sure that it was the same bird I had spotted earlier .
As many know , this area around the M4 and M40 is a great area for Red Kite sightings , and whilst waiting for the competition to start , I got the first of many distant to very distant sightings . I started the competition under a severe handicap , trying to lay a hedge on the ground , whilst keeping one eye on the sky . As the day progressed , the cloud thinned at times , only to return , and the Red Kite sightings were still distant . At one time , I looked up from the job in hand , and had four Red Kites , seemingly playing above a large Oak in the middle distance . How is anyone interested in birds , meant to be able to lay a hedge in these conditions . Anyway , layed it was , and no sooner had the competition finished , the sun came out , but so did the local shoot , and within minutes , it sounded as if WW3 had broken out , just over the rise , and that was the last I saw of the Red Kites .
This was my effort for the day , which I am glad to say , rewarded me with second place , and £40 in prize money , very nice . A two hour journey back home in Saturday afternoon traffic , which produced a Common Buzzard sitting on top of a lampost along the M4 and a bit further on , a pair of Red Kites , scrapping on the verge over a bit of road kill , was not exactly relaxing , but I didn't come across any hold ups , so I suppose it could have been worse .
On reaching home , Carol informed me that my lens had arrived . Strange , because the firm hadn't even told me that it had been fixed , never mind returned , but I was well pleased to get it back with the camera . With the last of the sun fading quickly , I went out onto the patio to try a couple of shots , and as I focused on the fat balls , this Coal Tit landed to snatch a quick meal . The auto focus worked perfectly , and you can see the result , great to have it back . I just hope that it is the end of the problem , and I can just enjoy using it . If only I had had it with me today .


Warren Baker said...

Lets hope one of those Kites finds it's way over to my match soon Greenie.

I have yet to get a Coal Tit shot as good as yours today, they are one of my bogey birds.

Kingsdowner said...

Good to hear that you indulge in birding while driving - I hope you took absolutely no notice of any other cars, pedestrians, ditches etc. Mind you, it's a bit extreme doing it on the M4.
Many congrats on the second prize, and the hedge looks marvellous. Could you show off your skills on mine at home?

Phil said...

Greenie, really pleased all is well now with the lens and camera. I absolutely love a happy ending,and well done with second place for the hedge laying!
Would you mind if I bought my notebook round and did a quick interview for my next story? :-)

ShySongbird said...

Congratulations on your success in the competition Greenie, well done!

What a shame your repaired lens didn't arrive yesterday, that is a great Coal Tit photo.

The Red Kites are gradually moving closer to me, my brother saw one about 15 minutes drive from here recently which is much closer than they have been before.

Anonymous said...

That`s one neat bit of hedgelaying Greenie. Should`ve been first place.

Phil and Mandy said...

You were right Greenie, that wind was awful yesterday! I'm off to Brands Hatch today so will be cold there as well, time to wrap up.

Greenie said...

Thank you all for your kind comments .

Warren ,
Worry not , I have loads of bogey birds .

Steve ,
The question is , could you afford me ?

Phil ,
I would probably finish up sounding like a talking bird - no chance .

ShySongbird ,
I suppose it's swings and roundabouts , if I had had the lens yesterday , I probably wouldn't have got 2nd . - too much skywatching .

Dean ,
I agree totally with your sentiments . If I can swing it , would you be available to judge my first competition next season ?