Friday, 25 January 2013

Freezing at Fishers Green

Blue skies heralded another freezing day with the remnants of the first bout of snow still on the ground. Wrapped up warm in my new birding coat (which cost almost as much as my camera) and a packed lunch I headed off into the badlands of Essex, Fishers Green to be precise. The first stop was the compulsory Bittern Hide which is fast becoming a crime under the Trade Descriptions Act. There was, however, a brief glimpse of one of the resident Water Rails and a pair of Gadwall, looking very smart in their breeding plumage.

But the biggest surprise of all centred on the feeders. Whilst many birds hang on the feeders, many others feed on the ground under the feeders, picking up the seeds that the others have dropped. And today, the star of the show was a beautiful Jay, just 12 feet away. A red-letter day as this was the first Jay I have ever photographed.

Time for a walk to keep warm and I decided to head north for the Grebe Hide which overlooks Holyfield Lake. On the way it was quite noticeable that, when it is cold, all types of wildlife are more intent on feeding and less worried about your presence. This was particularly so for this Grey Squirrel which was foraging at the side of the path and a Robin that was so concerned it let me walk round it at close range to get the light on the right side.

Meanwhile a lone Magpie was keeping sentry from the top of a tree.

It is quite a long walk to the Grebe Hide but I wasn't disappointed as there, right in front of the hide, was my quarry - Goosanders. One female had taken time out to sit on a submerged log for a bit of chill-out time and was then joined by the male for a spot of synchronised preening. Absolutely stunning.

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1 comment:

  1. Okay I'll come round and photograph your Redpolls and you can come round and photograph our Jays - that are quite proficient on both the peanuts & fat feeder.