My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Elusive....

At the close of play yesterday, my trusty lawn mower came back home from its holiday; it's been away for 5 weeks now and I hope it's glad to be back.

The plan for this morning was - you've guessed it - to cut the grass. But overnight rain and black clouds decided me that it was not a good idea. So - I headed off to the London Wetland Centre.

Whilst I didn't expect to see much in terms of birds, I thought I might bump into one or two acquaintances. Well I did, which was nice :)

But the bigger surprise......
I'd been hearing a Reed Warbler in the same spot for most of my recent visits. In fact there were two in close proximity outside or near the Dulverton Hide. Today was no exception.

There they were - singing away and so near you felt you could put your hand into the reeds and touch it!

And finally, it came into view. I'd been there for some time and it appeared, very shyly, in the reeds.

OK - I got a couple of shots thinking - well, it's better than nothing and at least I've seen it!

But then, it lost some of its shyness and, with beak open singing for England, it came a bit further forward!

It then decided it would forsake the reeds for a visit to an adjacent tree - where it could hide - yet again!

But, having teased me for some time, it eventually decided it would be photographed..

So it was very much worth the wait. Question: how do Reed Warblers sing so constantly and for so long without seeming to pause for breath?

Behind me, in reed beds I could hear another Reed Warbler and also the call of young. I couldn't see the nest at all, but at one point, the adult bird flew out of the rushes and into a tree on the other side of the boardwalk. I was somewhat taken by surprise by pointed the camera and got this!

Still no sunshine so this Damselfly sat still long enough to swap to the Macro lens. I've no idea what it is despite pouring over the relevant (and very good) book I have.

Couldn't find anything with this colour body and eyes let alone the abdomen and marking.
So - if anyone can help I would be very grateful

Edited some time later.
ST has IDd this damselfly for me as "a female Blue Tailed Damselfly (rufescens-obsoleta) - but it is not fully mature. The blue tails come in a number of colour forms."
Thanks for that ST

The light was dreadful for photography today; grey but bright(ish) which caused unwanted reflections on the water which was being wafted by the wind!

BUT, such a wonderful sight, Great-crested Grebes with their chicks. Initially, I could see three but was advised there were four.

Later on when I passed them again, the adult bird decided it was time to swap over the child-minding duties with its partner.

So having unsuccessfully wriggled to disembark the youngsters, it then reared up and shook them off into the water.

This revealed all four little ones and now the second adult had joined the party!

It was great to watch them!

The two more recently added Cranes (in the captive section) were having a bathe today.

and further around, this duck was having a preen.
A Comb duck (also known as a Knob-billed duck - well it's obvious really :) )
But nonetheless, whether or not it's a foreigner to our shores it was sporting some fantastic wing colours.

On the way back I came across this family of Mallards! Still a lovely sight in spite of all the more exotic birds.

For those of you who do NOT want to be graphically aware of the natural food chain involving a Grey Heron - then I please SCROLL DOWN VERY QUICKLY to the end of the blog.

We'd been watching this Heron when it flew over from behind me....
Unfortunately for the young Coot, the Heron had a meal!

Finally, I came home with every intention of cutting the grass but - heavy showers again made this an impractical idea - so it will have to wait until Monday!

I decided that as the black clouds had moved away and, not being given much patience when it was first handed out, I couldn't bear the suspense of knowing whether the grass cutting machine was going to be co-operative or not, so I set to!

I've now cut ALL the grass - without incident! Whey hey!


Pete said...

seems to be a day for showy Reed Warblers!


Tricia said...

Indeed it is a warbling day!

And see amended post above; I decided I would and so, I've now CUT THE GRASS! (Nag, nag, nag Lol)

Chris said...

Hi Tricia,
Waht a wlak... Cool, you saw so many species there. I love the crane shots, they are really great, but the hide and seek with the warbler looks funny.
Unfortunately, I cannot help you with the name of the damsefly!! Sorry.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Tricia,
I procrastinate greatly over mowing the lawn too!

As for singing birds, without going into boring technical details, they have separate throat organs. One for singing, one for breathing!

swatson said...

lovely lovely shots of the reed warbler.It reminds me of springwatch and the poor little one feeding the cuckoo

mick said...

The Reed Warbler photos are great - but the Grebe with its young on its back is fantastic! I've never seen anything like that!

ShySongbird said...

Love the Reed Warbler, the GCG family and yes, they may be more commonly seen, but I loved the Mallard family too! Lovely photos again.

Janine said...

Tricia thanks for sharing all the happy families with us!

NatureStop said...

The crane shots are great!

oldcrow61 said...

Always great pictures. Don't you just love the face on that...hmmm...whatever it is! Wonderful.

SPD said...

HOORAY for the grebes and hooray for natural selection and bully boy coots...sorry but c'est la vie.
Great shots mum

holdingmoments said...

Good news on the mower front :)

Great pictures as always Tricia, especially the Grebe changeover. Perfectly caught.
I've been watching young Reed and Sedge Warblers today. Great fun.

I think your Damsel is a female Blue-tailed; 'rufescens-obsoleta.'
Nah, aint clever, got it from my book lol

Never seen a Comb duck. He looks interesting.

Tricia said...

Chris - Thank you - it was great to finally spot the Warbler!

Warren - I know what you mean but on this occasion I couldn't bear the thought it was going to go wrong again!

Now I didn't know that birds have separate throat organs, so I've learnt something today - thank you :)

Sheila - thank you. Yes that cuckoo - it was huge!!

Mick - The young on the parent's back are fascinating to watch. Especially when they're trying to get back on again while the parent is still swimming and not slowing down!

Jan - Thank you - Mallards are much overlooked in my view!

Janine - you're welcome and glad to see you here.

NatureStop - thanks - strange birds and difficult colours to photograph.

OC - thank you - yes, great little face isn't it! And so tiny in reality!

SPD - I can't do anything but agree with your sentiments. It's all part of life's rich pattern....

Keith - yes indeed re the mower - at last!!

Haven't seen any young warblers yet - but was pleased to get two adults!!

I will re-visit my book re your damsel ID - thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

Yes Tricia, Herons arn't nice birds really, but there again Coots arn't much better.

Tricia said...

Hi Roy - I would agree; they seem to be indiscriminate and eat anything! And yes - Coots are the bully boys of the bird world! But where would we be without diversity.....

St said...

Hi Tricia- your post on the 20 june re-damselfly pictures

female blue tailed

IT IS- but not fully mature.

The blue tails come in a number of colour forms i thought i had found a new varient the first time i saw a immature violet form

Tricia said...

Hi ST - many thanks for the ID - I've updated my post accordingly and also learnt something :D - these damsels don't make identifying easy do they!

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