Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Water Rail

Humble apologies for the delay in posting but having completed two circumnavigations of Farlington Marshes in one day I was just too knackered to put fingers to keyboard. We started the first circuit just after the morning rush hour, with a rising tide there were plenty of birds to be seen, especially Brent Geese relocating all over the marshes. We dutifully searched every flock, every individual bird was scanned, to no avail, the Red Breasted Goose was not there. However, just before Point field the Spoonbill put on a short display which meant one of our target species was in the bag. Other birders reported a no show too, so we left for Baffin's Pond and the Water Rails. For once I was "over lensed", using a 400mm on the Canon 7D meant that many of my shots of three obliging birds more than filled the frame.   Odd that such reclusive birds can be found in a reed bed of a park lake in the middle of Portsmouth, oblivious to dog walkers, passers by and birders. In fact the resident Moorhens and Mallards being much more of a threat than mere humans.


Next stop was Southsea Castle, where we had another go at improving the Purple Sandpiper shots. With a high tide and nine birds moving up the sea wall conditions would have been perfect except for the disappearance of the sun. However, I was happy with the results as they were much better than our last attempt.

We returned to Farlington for a second shot at the RBG, birders returning to the car park gave us a precise location and we commenced our second circuit. This time success, finding the bird in a huge flock of Brents. As a bonus, when the whole flock went aerial and relocated, we found the RBG closer to the footpath and managed a decent record shot.

A bonus - a true wild black rabbit - something I haven't recorded for ages.

 My original plan was to go to Baffin's Pond to photograph some amenable Shovelers that occupy the pond along with a host of Tufted Ducks and Mallards. Well calling them Mallards is stretching it a bit as they all seem to be of dubious parentage. However, I did notice these two handsome inhabitants, Call Ducks are a bantam breed of domesticated duck raised primarily for decoration or as pets, obviously someone has set a pair free.

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