Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Ducks, ducks and more ducks!

The reserve at RSPB Greylake is full of wildfowl at the moment and they make a splendid sight. The layout of the reserve is such that almost all of them are concentrated around the two public hides.  This affords great opportunities to view them in close up and to photograph them too! I do not usually take bird portraits, but the excellent light recently and the proximity of the ducks tempted me to snap these two Shoveler. The female first

 then the male

For me it is much more exciting to photograph these excellent and extraordinary looking ducks in flight, and there were a few opportunities.

But of course there were other ducks to focus on - Wigeon, Pintail, Teal and Mallard. I was keen to try to capture them as they adjusted their speed, height and attitude for landing. I think that moment gives the greatest variety of action poses and I really like my birds to be doing something! This is such a rewarding challenge that I plan to return to Greylake as soon as possible to have another go - always chasing that elusive perfect shot. Here are a couple of Wigeon trying hard to do the right thing for me!

And a pretty group of passing Wigeon.

Actually, Pintail make such a pleasing sight, it really does not much matter what they are doing. I do not think I have ever seen so much flight activity from Pintail as I have recently at Greylake.

Gadwall are almost in the same category.

 Anyway, I have saved the best bit for last. The ducks were all resting, with not much going on until a Marsh Harrier flew along the water's edge. They rose en masse calling and circling in agitation. The sky was so full of ducks that I lost sight of the Harrier, and I did not even once see the Peregrine that it turned out was hunting at the same time. Then, and it is almost a miracle, amongst all the swirling ducks I spotted a different shape flying straight and low towards the boundary fence. I fired off a few distant shots and, when I looked at them, saw that it was a Peregrine with what looks like a Snipe in its claws. It is difficult to make out in this photo and your opinion would be interesting.

Please do have a look at my website www.johncrabb.co.uk and watch out for the next Blog item coming soon.


  1. Hi John
    Nice to meet you today - many excellent images here - well done. Gives me something to aim for indeed. No doubt bump into you again soon. Hope that you warmed up!
    Here's my blog: http://wildlifewanderings.blogspot.co.uk/
    Kind regards
    Peter (petermcsweeney@hotmail.com)

  2. Hi John!

    Wow, stunning photo's here!
    Congratulations on the Pergrine with prey! Stunning!! It looks like a wader of some sort, probably Snipe, though I'm not the best at Wader identification!
    I still haven't found your email!

    Have a good day!