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 .
21 minutes ago