21 April 13 Woolston Eyes

22nd April 2013
As the weather forecast for Sunday was rain I wasn’t really expecting to get out with the camera but lo and behold we had light!

By the time I’d organised myself time had moved on a bit but the weather still looked promising so I decided to visit “The Eyes”.

I always have mixed feelings about visiting “The Eyes”, it’s generally quiet meaning there aren’t hoards of people around so it’s easy to take photos without upsetting anyone. The cons being the hides aren’t that close to the water so unless you’ve got a very long lens you are going to struggle to take “quality” photos of the birds on the water. However I have heard rumours that a hide may be constructed closer to the water for photographers.

As I walked across the footbridge on to No.3 bed there were a couple of Great crested grebes looking resplendent on the water not too far away; always worth a shot or two but the results are never really flattering.

Great crested grebe

There were also quite a few Swallows and Sand Martins flying around and even some sitting on the hand rail of the bridge. Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot at them..

As I’d heard that the Black-necked Grebes were favouring the North West Pool I decided to visit there first. I counted six all up at the same time so there were at least six on No.3 bed.

I’d only been there a short time and a Redshank flew in followed by a second one shortly afterwards.


There were also five or six Little Grebes on this pool, a small group of Pochard, the obligatory Black-headed Gulls, Coots, Moorhens, Shelduck and Mallards.

Little Grebe

The Black-necked Grebe were quite a way out on the water but eventually a couple of them ventured closer to the edge so I fitted the 1.4x tele-convertor in the hope that I’d have a decent chance of the birds being larger in the frame. I’m reluctant to do this now as the drop in quality is significant and it makes the autofocus much slower.

Black-necked Grebe

Not a good photograph but better than none at all.
Soon after I could hear a Water Rail calling (likened to a squealing pig) and then I noticed the reeds twitching and out one popped, they are definitely skulking birds and rarely come out of the reeds into the open. Then when they do come out they don’t hang around and generally run at top speed to wherever they are going.

Water Rail

This one was as wary as the others I’ve seen and only gave a partial view initially and then it did come out but run quickly to another clump of reeds. It is difficult to get an absolutely clear shot on these birds there’s always something else in the frame. Eventually it did give an almost clear view without much else in the frame before it disappeared at high speed into the reeds on the other side of the cleared area.

Water Rail

I then walked back to the John Morgan Hide and there were quite a few birds on the water and the same Redshanks on the edge of the water. There were also a couple of Buzzards flying over the pool but they didn’t come that close to upset the other birds.

There were quite a few Coots doing what Coots do best, squabbling and generally chasing each other. I did have a go at taking a few shots but they weren’t that successful.

Coots on the run

Overall I had a really enjoyable time, some frustration but best of all a few reasonable pics but unfortunately not of the Black-necked Grebes.

Thanks for reading my writings.



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