Monday, 10 January 2011

A crimp in plans....

Had planned on a trip to the southern part of the patch today but there was a slight crimp in my plans in the shape of a very flat tyre.

 By the time this would be sorted I would be out of time for the trip south. A change of plan was therefore required. The bike? A bit wet for that. Stay local then. Marine Lake and West Kirby shore again.
Greyness abounds again, and a few spots of rain in the air too, so challenging conditions for photography. It's about high tide so there should be some waders on the lake wall and with it being a weekday the lake itself should be free from boats and windsurfers. Could be a chance for Red-breasted mergansers and if I'm lucky, Goldeneye.

There are a few people talking a walk around the lake despite the dampness and I get a few funny looks as I'm carrying the big kit today. As I get to the old baths I can see a few waders on the wall. Creep a little closer, pop my head over the wall, swing the lens into position and run off a few frames.

The Dunlin here can be a little flighty, but with a little patience and some stealth you can get close. I really enjoy spending time watching the little tussles for roosting room, the preening, the bathing and nervous twitches as a gull glides past. Today there is a lot of chattering from the Dunlin, it sounds like there is gossip and scandal on the Dee. The Redshank are unimpressed and are all asleep, must have been a busy morning on the mudflats!

I continue around the lake as I can see some ducks on the far side. As I get closer they don't swim off, this is a bonus as they usually give us humans a wide berth. There must be good hunting below the surface to keep them close. There is noone else on the path so I've got a while with them. To get a better angle and to keep disturbance to a minimum I lie flat on the cold wet floor, uncomfortable maybe, but it wont be for long.

The male come close enough to see the teeth on the birds saw bill. Frequent dives bring up small brownish fish. The light is now really poor and shutter speeds are too slow to catch this action.

I notice the female has a slightly off-set bill. The top and bottom don't meet as they should, but it doesn't seem to affect her fishing ability. It's not a good day to be a fish!

The cold and damp have, by now, penetrated both my coat and trousers and any longer on the floor and it will start to look like I've suffered a mild bout of incontinence and there are some people starting off on the far end of the path. Time to call it quits and pick up a caramel latte (my new favourite thing!).

Bonus bird on the way to the coffe shop too. As I reach the sailing school I scan the edge of the receeding tide. Plenty of Dunlin and a few Redshank. A couple of white flashes dart from the flock. Sanderling! With the Canada Geese over the house in the morning they are added to the patch 2011 list. Up to 79, hope to hit 80 tomoz!

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