Sunday, 30 October 2011

Attenborough - Squacco Heron :-)

It’s had been a quiet month on the birding front. Talks here, there everywhere and getting them ready have seriously hampered me getting out. With the local scene in the seasonal doldrums and yesterday’s Pied Wheatear doing a flyer overnight, I was seriously demotivated!

All that changed with a check of the day’s rarities and a browse of bird forum’s thread on the Notts Squacco Heron! I had this on my radar (a lifer if it stayed put). Another magic example of birding folklore too... An aarsy fisherman got his just desserts on Saturday when deliberately flushing the bird and got his tackle trolley thrown in the river for his efforts! (I packed my landscape lens in just in case another opportunity arose!)

I was late off the mark and got there just before 1.00. Just a short walk and fortunately the Heron, was right out in the open, viewed under the railway bridge (it’s favourite fishing spot!) I say fortunately as after another fifteen minutes, it was gone – and I’d used another dollup of ‘just in time’ luck!!

Nevertheless, in those fifteen minutes, I watched it stand still

Pose in a manner that could seriously damage the health of fish (false alarm on this occasion)

Stand still again

Another more seriously threatening posture!

Then SPLASH, diving headlong into the water

Before emerging with a small Perch

Struggle all he might, this Perch was lunch I’m afraid!

Alignment of the fish for a smooth journey downwards!

Down the hatch

A moment of satisfaction or the train rumbling overhead effect? Moments later it flew upstream!

Only one fish was harmed in the making of this blog, no fishermen were seen, let alone sent for an early bath and the only barracking was reserved for two numbskull birders who tried (unsuccessfully) to make their way under the right hand side of the railway bridge to the sandbags – potentially stopping a reappearance! And for once, all the photographers were good guys!

It was 2.45 and I received a summons from Shropshire! It was Andy Latham with an interesting development regarding the Wall Farm 'Great Grey Shrike' – was it something else? I legged it to the car.....