A Common Tern battled to make any headway against the wind as we were propelled by it and fairly flew down past the Marina towards the causeway. Another Common Tern gripped onto a floating pontoon to avoid getting blown off it. In wind as strong as this even those birds seemingly designed for such conditions struggle, especially the juvenile birds bred locally who would be experiencing it for the first time.
|Juvenile Black Tern|
The hide was surprisingly and thankfully empty, at times quite a crowd had been congregating in the hope of seeing the Kingfishers. The famous post was also vacant and to be honest we didn't expect anything to fill that vacancy either, Kingfishers and Old Caley do not magnetically attract and it's normally the opposite, one look at me and the birds are positively repelled and fly the other way! But amazingly we were in luck, well almost. The post was indeed filled but by a rather nonplussed looking Wood Pigeon! At least I was able to log a cheeky and deliberately cryptic post of the post on the local FaceBook group!
|Wood Pigeon on The Post|
The Kingfisher turned back towards us and whistled shrilly, probably yelling in Kingfisher speak "you're useless!" in my direction.
|"You're crap mate!"|
Without any warning the Kingfisher hit the water again, dive missed by me once more despite putting the camera back to auto mode, and returned back to the post, also missed by me yet again, with what appeared to be a sprig of weed and nothing else, cock-up number 3! At least the bit of vegetation provided an interesting composition. It must have held a small morsel though since the Kingfisher readily ate it unless it was adding some herbs to its fishy diet.
After a quick preen the Kingfisher suddenly sped away from the post and we all feared that that was that. But luckily it stopped short of a complete exit and grabbed onto a reed stem at the far side of the pond.
From there is spied another meal and dived to the water again and very helpfully flew back to the post. There's no need to relate the results of my efforts in trying to capture the dive and flight, cock-up number 4! The Kingfisher did at least show off its prize for us all to see although quite what it was I've no idea before dispatching it.
A few moments later the Kingfisher was off once again this time landing in the reeds right in front of the hide where it could just about be seen when a gust of wind parted the reed stems. A further few moments and the Kingfisher did exit stage left through the trees and towards the river. We had watched the bird for maybe twenty minutes altogether during which we easily had our closest and best views ever of a Kingfisher and I had easily surpassed all of my previous images taken of the species. But there was still those cock-ups, maybe I'll need to return for another go.
Back at the reservoir there had been little let up in the strength of the wind and there was now an element of rain in the air too. Hundreds of Sand Martins were hawking reasonably close in so I tried halfheartedly to photograph some. The conditions did not lend themselves to capturing the flight of quick moving birds. But I tried as I always do.
|Juvenile House Martin|
|Juvenile Common Tern|