Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Otter sighting

Taunton and Bridgwater Canal
Tuesaday 28th February 2012

Walking to work this morning, I noticed my first Skylark of the Spring over a field near the Canal, singing and hanging quite high in the sky. Brought a real touch of Spring. Lovely to hear the first singing Skylark. If that was not enough the return walk back from work along the Canal close to home at dusk brought my first Otter sighting what more it had a fish. It was a real surprise, I know they had been seen along this part of the canal, but it was great to see. Now I want to see more.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Cranes at Slimbridge

                                             Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
                                                              February 19th 2012

Sorry for the long overdue posting, I have been a little busy with my new job over the last few weeks.

I have been wanting to pay a visit to Slimbridge for a while just for the purpose of photographing the Cranes that are now part of the conservation programme with the WWT.
It turned out to be a very cold day, with the reserve covered in thick ice. So there were not too many wild birds like Waders to look for sadly, so my day was just wandering around in the Winter sun photographing various birds. But it was the Cranes I had come to see.
It was a Grey Heron that grabbed my immediate attention wading around in one pool that was not iced over.

The WWT are part of a group of Conservation bodies that are re-introducing the Common Crane onto the Somerset Levels so there is a breeding programme here. The lagoon was covered in thick ice so the Common Cranes were gingerly walking about the ice.

There were probing the ice, even at one point really attacking the ice and poking holes in the ice, I had visions of the ice cracking at one point, not a pleasant thought. But they are so graceful to watch, and they would call to each other if one wandered too far off.

With my passion for all the species of the Cranes around the World, one of my favourites has to be the really attractive looking Demoiselle Crane. With their striking red eyes, you are really taken when you get to see them so close.

This species of Crane is really quite small, but their calls are really quite loud, and this pair really did not like being away from each other.

Back to the Common Cranes, I was really lucky to get some really good close ups, something you will never do in the wild. They are really striking and would investigate everything, very carefuly lifting up leaves to see what may lie under them.

I have had a love afair with the species of Cranes around the World, and would be amazing to travel the World and see all the speices.

Before heading off home I had wanted to photograph the feathers of the Emperor Goose as they are really quite striking, just getting them to sit still for a moment was impossible !!
Hope you agree about the feathers, just could not find any stray ones though sadly. I did spot this Shelduck also wadling about the ice looking like a duck out of water.
Despite the ice and the cold it was a surprise that I did see the first Mallard Ducklings of the year today...Spring is just around the corner.