Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Wednesday 30th. January 2013

Knowing that I was going to have to make a journey 'up to the smoke' sooner or later , I have been watching reports of Bearded Tits in Hyde Park on the London birds page . Then , on Sunday , Marianne / The Wild Side visited the site , and posted a report and pictures on her blog , so this morning I decided to bite the bullet and travel up to London with what seemed like everybody from my neck of the woods . Having sorted out my business first , I headed by tube to Kensington , then a short walk to Hyde Park and the Serpentine . Fortunately , it would appear that the reed bed directly below Princess Diana's memorial is about the only one on the banks of the Serpentine , so it was not difficult to find . An obvious problem from arrival was a very strong wind , at times almost laying the reeds horizontal , but at least there were good periods of sunshine . I walked up and down the short reed bed a few times , finding no sign of the birds , and to hear them 'pinging' over the wind would be almost impossible . Another birder arrived and set up a scope , the back of the reed bed being no more than 5 mtrs. from the path we were standing on , perhaps he didn't own binoculars , but I didn't even use mine as the distance was so little . I spotted the two females low in the reeds , but one
disappeared lower still , whilst the other one posed atop the swaying phragmites , showing the ring which was fitted last Autumn at Rye Marsh . The second bird then joined it and they both took off , but only to land at the far end of the reed bed , to start working their way back along it's length . Often , both birds would disappear , especially after a particularly strong gust , but after a few
minutes would reappear , some times feeding at water level , unfortunately behind the iron railings . With no sign of the wind abating , it became a matter of waiting for the few moments of less movement between the strong gusts , and hoping that the birds were posing nicely , but more often
than not , they were back on to the camera , but not always . A couple more birders arrived and passers by stopped to find out what all the fuss was about , but numbers didn't seem to bother the
birds , although we did get a few looks from one of them , but it wasn't us that ruffled it's feathers . They didn't like it when one of the parks gardening vehicles went by , and kept out of sight for some time . It was difficult in the conditions to get one of the birds in focus feeding whilst swaying in the
 wind on the reeds  , even harder to get both , but it was managed a couple of times . By the early afternoon , and with more people stopping and looking , the birds stayed to the back of the reed bed , and impossible to focus on through the reeds , so I headed off to the tube to make my way home , after a couple of satisfying hours of photography . I'm sure it will take a lot longer than that to process all the shots taken . En route home ,  a wait for my connection at London Bridge station
afforded a shot of The Shard from the end of the platform . Even with the lens down on 70mm , I could only get the upper floors in the viewfinder , and a sore neck .


ShySongbird said...

Well done Greenie. I had a feeling Marianne's post might tempt you to go. You had some wonderful views and took some great photos too. If the wind was like it has been here I can definitely see how challenging it would have been to take photos.

Warren Baker said...

What a good record for a small patch of urban reed bed Greenie, gives me hope of finding something here!

Alan Pavey said...

Nice stuff Greenie, great find for someone in town :-)

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie, I definitely commented on this post yesterday evening just after you posted it, you had no other comments at that time so it was quite early. However, like several other blogs I commented on yesterday, I think my comment went into your Blogger spam folder. I was using a different browser on my iPad and I don't think Blogger thinks it's legitimate!

Anyway, I had a feeling that Marianne's post might tempt you to go and look...and it was certainly worth it. You got some wonderful views and great photos too. I'm very envious having never seen one, I would have to travel a fair way to do so. If the wind there was like it was here that day i can see how challenging it was with photos but you did very well.

Marianne said...

Nice one, Greenie! Aren't they great? I wonder how long they will stay.