Saturday, 14 November 2015

Winter on the Marshes

When I start to get wildfowl pictures like these I know that Winter is well on its way.

The temperature is a bit of a giveaway too. I came home after a day at RSPB Ham Wall feeling pretty chilled and resolved to wear more layers next time. It was the wind as much as the temperature which contrived to rob my body of its essential heat. Was it worth it? Yes, as always!

Below is a Gadwall landing on a crowded patch of water.

And this Shoveler positively glowed in the afternoon sun. 

Geese always make me think of Winter too. In this case it was just some Canada Geese that came noisily honking in to land. 

Won't be long before the Whooper Swans arrive. Sadly, this was just a Mute Swan, but one day it will be the real thing!

The funny thing was that, even though Winter is just starting, there were already signs of Spring behaviour amongst the birds. The Mallards below were seen mating. This photo catches them just after the male's head-bobbing display has caused the female to adopt a prone, submissive posture prior to mating.

These Herons were also engaging in a playful aerial game very reminiscent of Spring.

Even the Coots were making a playful splash.

Of course the Bitterns were still very much in evidence. It is very difficult to photograph them at this time of year. They only make very brief flights and it is difficult to get on to them. Once they catch Spring fever it will be easier as they chase each other about the sky for extended periods.

Marsh Harriers as well of course. I often wonder how they survive. I watch them hunting for extended periods and imagine their growing hunger pangs. They never seem to catch anything and I fear that they will not survive the night.

This is a typical sighting with the bird fluttering over the reed tops whilst staring intently downwards

Marsh Harriers always seem to keep so far away from the hides. I often kick myself afterwards for not fitting my 2x teleconverter. Never seem to think of it in time. I am always hoping instead that this time they might come nearer.

Here is one with Glastonbury Tor in the background.

Finally, this fine Cormorant posed for me.

And this Grey Heron cruised by in the low winter sunlight.

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