Friday, 5 March 2010

Consolation prize?

I set out this morning to travel to Steart on the Somerset coast, part of Bridgwater bay nature reserve. A first winter Common Crane has been associating with a group of Mute swans on a rape field there. After parking in the car park & unloading my gear, I set off down the rough track, only to be met by a couple of fellow birders. "Easiest Somerset tick ever" & "really close by the track" is what i was told. After saying my goodbyes, i set off again thinking it was in the bag only to be met by another birder 100m further down. "You here for the crane?", "Its just flown off down river towards Burnham" was what i now had ringing in my ears!

Oh B******* was what i was thinking in my head. If only i had got up 10 mins earlier, if it wasn't for those bloody roadworks in Bridgwater...... I consoled my self with the thought that in a few years time, Somerset will be crawling with Cranes. You wont be able to go anywhere without falling over them. Well that remains to be seen. Lets hope the reintroduction programme goes well & we will be going around saying "oh, its just another Crane".

I walked further on, up onto the sea defences & scanned the estuary. Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon & Gulls were in evidence. And then a deep Kronk call caught my attention. A Raven. But better than that it was chasing a Ringtail Hen Harrier! I managed a few shots before it drifted off with its Raven & Carrion crow ontourage closely behind, a great consolation prize for missing the Crane. The next sighting i had was of a far off Hare, that played hide & seek in the long tusocky grass on the saltmarsh. Just as i was about to press the shutter, it totally disappeared! Almost as if it fell down a hole. There ability to hide in the shortest of undergrowth never ceases to amaze me. I had no chance in this longer vegetation.

As the tide was still quite high & i was in the area, i thought i might as well have a look over at Stolford. Resting the camera on the beanbag on top of the rocks that form the seawall there, i spent the next half an hour snapping away at the numerous Shelduck, Curlew & the 11 Brent Geese that have been in the area for a while. I really ought to plan my trips to the coast a bit better & get in position earlier to take advantage of the rising tide pushing the birds towards me. Next time maybe......

1 comment:

  1. Some great shots here Rob. Looks as if you got some good detail on the hen harrier and the oystercatcher in flight is a blinder!

    Sorry you missed the crane. It was a long way off when I saw it.