The day started off brilliantly, though a bit nippy, but definitely promising. So it was a trip to Middleton Lakes again, and hoping to see the avocets again, and possibly see some nesting on the sand banks on one of the pools.
The heronry across from the car park was full of herons and little egrets, I guess with young, as during the day, they never seemed to be around the pools.
But that didn’t thwart what seemed to be a promising day, I always accept what I find, and if what I’d like to see is around, then that is the bonus. Unless, something else caps what I hope to see, and that would then be the bonus!
A big surprise for me, and a first, was a black cap flitting around a couple of trees. Closer observation revealed two black caps, so my guess it was a courtship thing, for they never went far from each other, but did provide great photo opportunities.
And a cropped photo
Before it decided to fly off....
Not too far from the black caps, is a small area where blue bells were in fine display, so I just had to grab a few photos for this years collection.
Further along the footpath is a small viewing platform for the first of the lakes, which is usually very quiet on the water, where there is a feeding station, that often sees blue tits, great tits, reed buntings, nuthatches and robins among its regular visitors.
A great tit (successfully photobombed by a twig) having a nibble on some food I’d placed as bribery to get some piccies.
Also around this area is some Willow, which was looking glorious in the morning sun.
While just taking in the quietness of the day, Mr B came down for a feed.
Followed by a nuthatch,
Once it had got is suet pellet, flew off immediately.
I think this was one of a pair, there had been two hanging around and flying off to the same point on a tree about 10-15 mtrs away.
Walking further along the path towards the more active lakes, there is another feeding station, where the public are encouraged to feed the birds, and another bribery opportunity, which also the local pheasants seem to be frequenting!
I will add, while pheasants have been domesticated somewhat over time, this one like the one last time I was at the reserve, seemed very content to follow me, and any other potential human based sources of food.
As you’d probably expect, there were brown rats also doing their bit as natures hoovers, and I just had to share this photo, where a blue tit (one of a pair), seemed a bit perturbed that a rat was feeding from the same point it wanted to!
I say pair, it did get some seed and then flew off to feed another blue tit in the trees, which I guess is akin to the robin courtship process, male feed female. Sadly no photos, the branches obscured the AF.
Once past the noisy black headed gulls, the next stop was the West Scrape, which was unusually quiet, though I did spot a common ringed plover, and managed to get some decent piccies, even though they had to be cropped.
I don't know what caught the attention of the common ringed plover (which was around 40-50 mtrs away), whether it could hear my camera clicking away, which often gets that look from many nearer birds, or something else caught its attention!
A coots nest on West Scrape.
What started off as a promising day, the walk from Wet Scrape to East Scrape was a pleasure especially as the ground was dry, and no mud, and the day seemed to be perfectly trumped with the black caps, was trumped yet again, a whitethroat!
This little one just kept posing (I’m guessing it was really more curious who was in its territory, akin to the robin), and as you probably guessed, I just kept clicking away…..
The next two photos are cropped.
Then it was on to the screen at East Scrape, hoping to see the avocets, but alas, they were aloof!
Casting aside the noisy black headed gulls, there was still plenty to see, starting with teal,
A peacock butterfly that landed on some dandelion plants next to me
Looking back on the water, a gadwall, though Mrs GW was further away, and they did join up later to go shopping, just as all good hubbies should do, escort their wives around the shops…..
Also a solitary lapwing (cropped photo)
Which later flew off
To join up with another lapwing. Now I’m not sure if these were a pair of if a bit of rivalry was taking place, they seemed to be chasing each other “up down and flying around” (part of the words to the theme from the film Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines).
YouTube link to the opening sequence, for those of you too young (that includes those claiming to be too young, but????) to remember the film….
Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines Title Sequence
The only sighting of a grey heron away from the heronry. For some inexplicable reason, it was transfixed on the reeds,
only once turning away….
Whilst watching the heron, a greylag flew over, giving an almost perfect inflight photo.
Now, the kayaker’s weren’t pleasure boating, they were in search from South Staffordshire Search And Rescue for a 79 year old man with dementia who’d gone missing. The reason why they were searching the lake was just a few metres away, his dog had been found!
Always a common sight at the reserve, orange tip butterflies, and this female was right in front of me whilst I was chatting to someone.
And then I spotted a male orange tip, with another female just to the lower right of the photo.
All in all, a brilliant day topped by the black caps and whitethroat sightings, along with everything else of course.
Flickr Peak Rambler
(Pardon the Scottish Accent)
In reply to PimperneBloke:
PimperneBloke said:Looks a superb day out Mike, thanks for sharing :o)
Thank you, it was a good day out and you're welcome.
In reply to Linda257:
Linda257 said:A brilliant day right enough Mike. You did well to see and photograph all that you did! Hope the missing person was found safe and well. Great pics of some fab wildlife although am no too keen on the rat
Thank you Linda, ahhh poor ratty.....
I've no update on the missing man, though I've just found out someone I worked with is with the search and rescue team, so I've contacted another former colleague for his details.
I have to say, considering his age, and his health, all of which are not a good cocktail, I fear his chances are beyond slim.
Lot to learn
In reply to gaynorsl:
gaynorsl said:I enjoyed looking over your pics Mike, great variety and lovely to see the Whitethroat, don't think I have ever managed a pic of one. Smart Lapwing and Teal, and that was a large Ratty, no wonder the Bluey was annoyed seeing it eating it's food:-)
Thank you Gaynor, its been great to get out again, with the added plus of firsts for me.
I often think that many creatures can be so expressionate when faced with a scenario, and that blue tit with ratty was no exception.
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