Tuesday, 3 March 2015

In Search of Smew and White-fronted Goose at Abberton Reservoir

17th February

Today a trip to Abberton to try and connect with the Smew and White-fronted Geese. A quick scan at the Layer de la Haye end drew a blank apart from a couple of pipits either side of the causeway. The bird on the western sunny side was a Meadow Pipit which was quite confiding and allowed some photos to be taken in good light. The other bird on the eastern shady side was a Rock Pipit, and a combination of the bird being fairly flighty and in poor light made photography difficult. It does, however, illustrate how important a bit of sunlight is for a good shot

Back at the Layer Breton causeway a cracking male Goldeneye was diving quite close in to the causeway and provided some good opportunities.

Then, on the north bank tucked in tight to the trees were four Smew, one male and three females. They were fairly elusive, at first swimming away and then hiding amongst the tree roots as is their habit. However, eventually they broke cover and allowed a few shots in the open albeit a little distant. To me Smew always look too exotic to be a British bird.

Then a scan of the western section of the reservoir revealed the six White-fronted Gees emerging from the corner at the far end of the reservoir, a distance of 650 yards as measured on Google Earth.. This was of course far to distant for even a record shot. However as luck would have it, they slowly paddled their way down the northern bank until they were indeed in range for a shot, but actually carried on until they were right opposite in front of the wall, a distance of a mere 150 yards. This is still a large distance in terms of photography, but certainly manageable for a record shot of a large bird.

Overall, very satisfying. Two targets, two achieved and the added bonus of a Rock Pipit. Now on to East Mersea.

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