Venus Pool - 30 Oct 16

A trip to Venus Pool today and.............

A drake Wigeon centre-stage: 5 ducks in the background.

And here is a duck Wigeon. Note the dark smudge around the eye as seen in the drake. In flight the white belly is very apparent in both drakes and ducks.

The right side of a drake Teal: ...

... and head on ...

... and then the left side ...

And at last the head! 27 shots that took: thank heavens for digital photography. Here the green speculum and the yellow in the tail are well-shown.

Here is the more sombrely attired duck Teal.

A different drake Teal

Awful (lack of) light but here we see a pair of Mallard; 6 duck Wigeon, one partly hidden but ID-ed by plumage tone; the much greyer duck Teal; and a Common Snipe.

A drake Shoveler showing the strange bill. Yet to acquire full breeding plumage – the head will be bottle-green and the flanks a richer chestnut.

8 Cormorants stretch their wings and preen: note even the juvenile on the right with the pale belly shows the yellow face patch. A drake Shoveler is upended behind them; a Grey Heron in the foreground; and the other duck is a duck Mallard – best ID-ed by the leg-colour.

Weird one this: this adult Grey Heron seems to be sitting on a shooting stick! Not see: just evacuating its bowels at speed!

All gone!

A trio of waders here: left foreground are two Black-tailed Godwits, the one with the pale fringes being an immature; just left of the island are four Common Snipes; a Lapwing wanders away. Meanwhile two Black-headed Gulls behind, a 1st winter on the left.

It was not just the Teal that were ‘head under water’: this is a Black-tailed Godwit doing the same. Even here we can see the black tail and the rather poorly-marked back separate from the similar-sized Bar-tailed Godwit. This latter species in less common inland.

Almost ‘up for air’!

And here we see the long bill. Another pointer to this species is that on Bar-tailed Godwit the bill would be very slightly up curved.

The adult Black-tailed Godwits raises its head bringing a lot of water with it and shows its characteristic two-toned bill. A Common Snipe behind.

Crossed-bills at dawn?

Not how the immature has an orange-buff wash on the chest: this will become much redder and brighter when it moults in to breeding plumage.

Must be catching: but ....

 ... not much doubt about this wader: a Common Redshank.

From this angle a rather narrow bill.

And a drip on its nose.

The rarely-seen undertail view.

And a classic portrait.

And, at last, the full ‘red shanks’. The ‘thing’ on the left is a blowing feather and not a strange insect or animal!

The ground is quite hard at the moment so the Common Snipe are unable to bury their long bills up to the hilt as they often do.

This preening Common Snipe reveals patterning on feathers not normally visible.

Almost back to normal.

It would not be Venus Pool without a Kingfisher on the twigs in front of the hide. Here the bird prepares to deal with its catch.

Not much luck so far – the poor light made it hard to catch ‘the action’.

Trying hard!

At least it now has a grip on the middle, if that helps.

Clearly does: all gone!

Different settings on the camera give different colour tones, though not sure why.

Closer on a different perch. The fish looks none too happy!

Down it goes head-first.

Too many Kingfishers photos? Can you have too many?

Another fish: this is getting greedy!

Lined up head-first with ...

... just the tail to go down the hatch

(Ed Wilson)