Tuesday 28 April 2009

An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

At 14:10 yesterday afternoon I was pleasantly shaken out of my state of apathy by a call from Steve asking me if I'd like to join him and Bun on a little outing to Somerset, to see Ferruginous Duck, a potential lifer for Bun and me (it was a drake too)! And after the Fudge Duck we would go and try for the Nightingales near to Taunton. You'll already know if you've read Steve's blog, that we were successful on both counts, with a couple of bonuses to boot! :-)
Here are a few pictures to relate the evening's events;.

The 'North End' of Wimbleball Lake

The Ferruginous Duck was with a couple of Tufted Ducks in the distance just below the line of trees which reach the water's edge on the far bank. This is the view from on the trackway along the side of the north end. We wanted to get a closer view, like you do, and seeing as the track appeared to veer off away from the lake we scrambled down the steep bank and walked along the water's edge, easy right!? We got into all sorts of difficulties which I will illustrate with the help of a map, like so:

It gets bigger if you can't read it, (you have to click on it though, it can't tell you can't read it)

The red dotted line shows our attempted route.
1) Our eventual best vantage point.
2) Here we all got wet squelching our way through a bog.
3) You can't see it but here we crossed a ravine (well it felt like one)
4) Bun and I didn't even get this far, but Steve nimbly scampered up this rocky crag before heading back. I would have liked to have got a photo of this but was ever so slightly inconvenienced negotiating the ravine.
5) This is the fantastic vantage point we'd have been in, IF we had stayed on the track (indicated by the blue dotted line which I just added coz I could) How stupid were we!!???
6) Where the duck was.

Anyway here's a photo of the duck in question. It's quite distant so I've added a subtle clue as to it's exact whereabouts!

Can you see it? No, OK here's a detailed close up then....

Whoa!! Stunning.

Here's a shot of a defeated Steve heading back through the bog.

Ferruginous Duck was a great bird to see and my first ever 'wild one'. We also saw a singing Redstart and heard a Cuckoo, which was amazingly my first for at least 10 years, probably more. I still haven't actually SEEN one yet.

I went to see the Nightingales last year and they were enchanting then, so I was very keen to hear them again. There were a couple less singing than last year but they were still superb, even though we didn't even catch a glimpse of one.

Prime Nightingale Habbo, the scopes proved superfluous though!

I took some video footage mainly to record the sound, which worked very well I think. But you can also see Steve demonstrating firstly, the fine art of 'Nightingale stalking' (notice him stealthily creeping behind a bush in the first half of the video.) Then he has a go at the ancient and lost skill of 'Nightingale charming'. The pictures are dim due to poor light but you can see him beckoning to them as he crawls along the ground!

How to see Nightingales

Today I popped over to Blackbury Camp with Rex, hoping that the Redstarts might be back. There wasn't any sign today and it was 'packed to the rafters' with visitors of the human kind. They were there to see the Bluebells, which were simply stunning even though they wont be at their peak for another week I reckon. Here's a photo of Rex, who's back 'on form' I'm happy to say, amidst some of them.

Life in the old dog yet! :-)

No comments: