Saturday, 2 January 2010

Purple patch continues.....

Cheddar res has come up trumps yet again. An afternoon spent there on New years day provided a bit of excercise & some (very!) fresh air.
On arrival at the Shipam road car park, i could not see any birders or photographers. Could it be that my target bird(s) of the day had left? The breeze at the top of the ramp to the footpath was biting, but the sun was shining, so not all bad.
I scanned with my bins from beside the tower & immeadiatly spied a small Grebe, some way out & not really identifiable at such a range. A quick photo viewed at 100% showed a Little grebe, not my target species.
After 30 mins scanning the vast coot flock & the ducks in front of the sailing club to no avail, i decided to go around to the other car park near the Axbridge tower. There were a couple of birders over there showing some interest in something.
It was the Ring-necked duck! It was doing its best to hide amongst the rafts of Tufties & Pochard & was quite hard to pick out with its head tucked under its wing.
A fellow photographer mentioned that the birds i was interested in, had flown back towards the Cheddar end shortly before i had got there.
Another birder that had walked from the Cheddar end said he had seen one in front of the sailing club. Another scan of the margins again prooved fruitless. I decided to have one last attempt over by the Cheddar tower.
The Little Grebe had now miraculously morphed into two. Again no sign of my birds. Might as well call it a day i thought. Then a birder that had walked the entire circumference said that i should walk around the res for about 200m & that a bird was diving & feeding close in. Off i went. I scanned again, & this time i was rewarded with a distant "blob" on the surface. Smaller than the accompanying Coots. That was it, my target bird. I moved closer as it dived & positioned myself where i thought it would surface. Then, there it was, about 50m out, a single Black-necked Grebe. The D2x fired away & i was glad to have the 1.7x teleconverter on the 600mm as well. During the next half hour, i shot almost 4GB of images, moving as the Grebe dived & was rewarded with frame filling shots of this scarce little bird.

There has been reports of up to 4 birds being present & also of the rarer Slavonian grebe. This one however was all i needed!