Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Bird with the Sci-fi Eyes

Today myself and my nephew did a recce to West Yorkshire to check out the location of a special in 3 weeks' time.  We hadn't been walking long before we heard the 5 deep booms of a performing Bittern.  The paths were saturated with water in places, so walking dry shod was rather difficult.  There were Meadow Pipits displaying, Skylarks singing, a drab Wheatear (in comparison with the one the other day), Lapwings, a Curlew, but very few signs of summer migrants.  In the channels and pools we saw Tufted Ducks and some smart Pochard, and dull Coots, but little else of interest for a long time.  Our walk was punctuated by a few more booms of the Bittern and the frenetic trills of Little Grebes.  Then we had distant views of a pair of more interesting-looking birds  
Black-necked Grebe
 Drake Pochard
Eyes still red, but toned down!
 Ditto
 Later, we were quite close to the Black-necked Grebes, but they were mostly out of sight behind the tall phragmites reeds.  Eventually, they came into the open and I was able to take a few photos, but as soon as I had some nice images I continued on our walk.  The Black-necked Grebes make short high-pitched calls quite different from the trills of Little Grebes.  Unfortunately, the photographers who were there before we arrived, continued to chase the Black-necked Grebes along the channel.  We looked back several times and the photographers seemed to be still in pursuit.  I hope the birds found some peace eventually.  Ben spotted a strange bird in flight heading towards the visitor centre, which was being mobbed by a Black-headed Gull.  it was a Bittern, but was too far away, even for a record shot.
Even more strange looking right at you!
Zoomed in
Back to profile
 Ditto
 With reeds reflected in the water
 Ditto
 Back to Blue
Still Strange!
Back at home the Mistle Thrushes are still visiting, occasionally together, and sometimes taking a bath.  The Tree Sparrow has never returned. 
Mistle Thrush
 The pair
 Having a bath