Sunday, 29 March 2009

Chew Valley Lake

It was a gorgeous spring day today and I'd arranged to go birding to Chew Valley Lake with a friend before going to see another dear birding friend in hospital in the afternoon.
This male Tufted Duck looked very smart in the sunshine, shame that twig in the water spoilt his reflection!Have you ever wanted to see the backside of a Barn Owl? Well, that is all I could get of this bird which was hunting at around 11am this morning. Someone should tell him he's supposed to be hunting at night. I'm glad he was bucking the trend though!The water was perfect for reflections today and this Mute Swan was a lovely subject.Shelduck are large gooselike ducks that mainly breed along the seashore, but will breed at larger lakes too.This male Reed Bunting was singing away in a bush quite some distance from me (hence the heavy cropping), but they are such smart birds that I couldn't resist trying for some photos. Here's the front view.........and then the back. As their name suggests their preferred habitat is Reedbeds. By the way, the black smudges in the sky are midges. There were gazillions of them out there today.The best part of the day for me though was watching this pair of Great Crested Grebes in their courtship display. I wish I could have been closer for better photographs, but it was still a real pleasure to watch.They gradually come together with lots of vigorous head shaking and flicking.........
........and copycat preening.
They are without doubt one of the most graceful and charasmatic of birds.This is my favourite shot of the day............and cropped. A perfect end to a wonderful mornings birding.

12 comments:

Steve B said...

What a fabulous day birding. Thanks for showing us.

Eve said...

Wow Jenny these are great!!! And yes I would love to see the back end of a barn owl!! What a great day. Hope Maggie is feeling well.

Shellmo said...

Those grebes know how to put on a show - beautiful photos!!!

Mary said...

All of the shots are great, but I really love seeing those grebe doing their display! What beautiful birds! Maybe the barn owl had been hunting all night and lost track of time :-) Lovely shot of him flying off! That Reed Bunting is indeed a lovely bird. Looks like one of those perfect days.

Jenny said...

Hi Steve, yes it was one of those great days when things come together nicely!

Hi Evie, glad you liked the photos. I dearly wish that Barn Owl had turned around for another sweep of the field, but there you go! Maggie was quite chirpy given the circumstances.

Hi Shelley, they really are beautiful birds, specially at this time of year when they're at their best.

Hi Mary, it was one of those days, I know you know what I mean. I really think that Barn Owl had lost track of time as the weather wasn't bad enough recently to force him out during daylight. Weird!

The Early Birder said...

You definitely had a splendid day Jenny & suitably encapsulated by the Grebes in their courtship display.
Thanks also for sharing the wild Daffs at Edford Woods, one of my favourites. FAB

Roy said...

Very lovely images Mrs V.
That Shelduck flying is brilliant and something I would love to achieve. As you say the GCGs so elegant and you have got some great reflections there as well.
The Barn Owls will fly in the afternoon though the winter and even on into the spring.

Quiet Paths said...

What a lovely birding diversion on the way to the hospital. I hope your friend is doing well. I love those Grebes. Wonderful shots.

Jenny said...

Hi Frank, I could never get tired of see that display. Glad you liked the wild daffs too. I must remember to go back there in another few weeks......

Thanks Roy, Shelduck isn't my favourite duck, maybe because it's very brash somehow, but I was please with that shot. I was surprised with the Barn Owl as the weather hasn't been bad at all, so I wouldn't have thought it would be that desperate to have to hunt during the day. Nice bonus for us though. (-:

Hi Christine, thanks, it was a great mornings birding. Maggie is doing as well as can be expected thanks for thinking of her.

Chris said...

HI Jenny,
This looks like a terrific birding day.. Fabulous, wonderful... The great crested grebe courtship is amazing. I saw that in Paris and it was wonderful, but I did not managed to take pictures as my camera was in my bag and I was eating a sandwich!!!

Jenny said...

Hi Chris, sorry you missed out on taking photos of those french Great Crested Grebes. When you've gotta eat, you've gotta eat! (-:

dog trot farm said...

Jenny what fantastic photos! What an enjoyable day you must have had.