Friday, 26 November 2010

Friday 26th. November 2010

Having seen and read of the Slavonian Grebe at New Hythe on Phil's/Sharp by Nature's blog , and once again unsure of where to go today , the blue sky and sunshine had me pulling into the car park at Brooklands Lake , just after nine o'clock . I parked next to another chap who was getting kitted out for the weather and binoculars around his neck . As I got my boots on , I casually asked ' here for anything special ? ' . He said that he had seen the Slavonian Grebe yesterday in not so good weather and had returned today in better . That's hand I thought , I'll stick around this chap . From the conversation it was obvious that he was local , and after a while , I asked ' do you know Phil Sharp ? ' , to which he re[lied , ' I am Phil Sharp ' , and thus started a most enjoyable morning with a fellow blogger . We started looking along the Paper Mill end of the lake , and before we got to the first corner , we came face to face with Allan Woodcock/Snodland and Surrounding Area , who as it happens was tracking the Slavonian Grebe along the edge of the reedbed towards us , and gave us our first fleeting glimpse of this smart little bird , before diving and disappearing for a while . When it did show again , it was heading for the diagonally opposite corner of the lake , at quite a remarkable speed , given it's size . We left Allan and headed around the lake , getting just the odd glimpse . From high ground Phil spotted it again , but by the time we got in front , it had disappeared again . Then eagle eyed Phil spotted it again in a small bay in a reedbed quite a distance away , and in case this was to be the only opportunity , I got the camera ready , and fired off a few shots , just as it was dealing with a good sized fish it had caught . No sooner was that fished swallowed , the bird dived again , and shortly afterwards , came up with the second course of it's breakfast . It then went into a preening session , and we took the opportunity to get closer , but found that this bird could spot a camera from a great distance , and was very good at making itself scarce . Eventually , after much trying , a few decent shots were obtained , firsts for me , having seen but not photographed the species before , but , looking back , the most frequent shot taken , was of the back of the bird , as it once again put distance between us and it .
Phil had mentioned that the river should be about at low water , so we left the Slavonian Grebe in peace and went down to the little outfall to see what was about . On the mud were Lapwing , Little Grebe , Cormorants , Grey Heron , Redshank and , spotted by eagle eyed Phil on the far bank of the river , a single Common Snipe , which became 2,3,4, possibly 5 seen during our stay . Along with the usual BH Gulls , were a couple of Common and 2/3 Greater Black-backed Gulls patrolling the river as the tide turned . With the tide turning so did the weather as the cloud started to roll in on a stiffening breeze . Phil headed for Abbeymead , whilst I headed back to Brooklands and another look at the Slavonian Grebe , which was now well out towards the centre of the lake . A few more species were seen on the way back to the car park , and am posting a couple of shots for anyone who doesn't often see them ,Tufted Duck and Pochard ,and a male Shoveller . Before heading home , I tried for the Goldeneye on the small Alders lake , but no sign , probably because of three angler there . On the large lake , a Great Crested Grebe posed for a shot .A slow drive down Lunsford Lane once again didn't produce the hoped for Redpolls , but there were several very nervous Redwings , feeding on the Hawthorns . Movement high up in an Alder had me grabbing the camera , but it turned out to be a female Chaffinch . I thoroughly enjoyed my visit this morning and it was good to put a face to a name . If it hadn't been for Phil's eagle eye , I could well have dipped the Slavonian Grebe shots , so thank you Phil , I hope we meet up again in the future .


Wilma said...

How nice to see and photograph the little grebe fishing!

Warren Baker said...

All those Duck species just get me drooling Greenie, Tufted and Pochard in the same frame, an impossibility here :-)

Phil is a nice bloke, I met him at the KOS indor meets.

ShySongbird said...

A bonanza of bloggers :) It sounds like you and Phil had an enjoyable time. Well done on seeing and photographing the Slavonian Grebe.

I think my favourite photo is the Shoveller.

Phil said...

Good to meet you today Greenie and nice to see your pictures turned out well. I'm glad you were able to record the Slav eating breakfast, really nice shots. Bad luck with the Goldeneye. I had bad luck with the Bittern as well, forgot to mention that bit on my blog!
Maybe i'll visit one of your patches in the not too distant.