Tuesday, 24 July 2012

What a Purr-fect day

After missing out on the Bygrave Turtle Doves and receiving some information from Denise Anderson, I decided to go to Fowlmere for another attempt.

I have only been to Fowlmere once before with No1 son Mark about 23 years ago, when the only things we saw were a Mallard and a Brown Trout. The reason I know is that Mark keeps reminding me. However, I must say that first impressions were good as I had only gone a few yards when, in a dead tree the other side of the reed bed, I saw a male Linnet and a male Bullfinch. These were too far away to photograph but just illustrated the potential of the site.

I eventually made my way round to the Reed Bed Hide which is a magnificent two-story structure which was there when we went all those years ago, and gives commanding views over the mere and reed beds. However, what caught my ear was a Linnet singing to the left of the hide. It didn't take long to realise that the pair were building a nest in the bramble below (yes, even in the latter half of July) and the male was insisting in singing above the nest as they normally do. This always seems to me to be less than sensible, but was a godsend when I was finding nest during my ringing days. Anyway, the temptation was too great and I rattled off a few shots.

After about 150 shots I was preparing to leave when I heard music to my ears......the purring of a Turtle Dove coming from the other side of the hide. I peered out of the window and although the dove was obviously very close, it was out of view. The singing then stopped. I left the hide and was about to rejoin the main path when the dove starting singing again and I was able to spot it high up on the edge of a tall tree. This was certainly on the edge of my camera's capability.

I put on the converter and took a series of shots although the bird, apart from being very distant, was always sillouetted and therefore lighting and contrast was always going to be an problem. However, I did manage to get a few record shots.

So, what was the outcome of the day. Well, I enjoyed taking the Linnet photos but the Turtle Dove is a species that will have to wait for another day.

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