Serendipitous snaps, and two new bird species

I made another visit to the RSPB reserve at Burton Mere on Tuesday.

Canada geese.

The recent prolonged spell of hot, rainless weather meant that much of the wetland near the Marsh Covert Hide was, in fact, dry-land, which meant that there weren't all that many birds close to the hide. But there were still plenty to see in the distant pool.

At one point, a largish number of lapwings took to the air. It was nothing like the numbers of lapwings I used to see above the autumn stubble field of my youth, but it was still pleasing to see, so I aimed my camera to take a photo. At the very moment I released the shutter, however, a different bird flew into the frame. Quite unintentionally, I had photographed the reason for the lapwings' having taken flight: a peregrine:

Lapwings spooked by peregrine falcon (foreground).
Peregrine falcon.

I then decided to see if I could get to the other hide on the other side of the pool. I realised that this must be accessible via the other RSPB-signposted track near Burton Marshes, so I returned to my car and drove over there. I didn't realise it at the time, but this second hide, the Inner Marsh Farm Hide, isn't open on Tuesdays. It's just as well that I didn't realise, as the hide was unlocked, and I got to spend a good hour there, all on my own.

On the way to the hide, you pass through a boggy carr of alder and willow via a winding raised wooden track, which I photographed. Once again, serendipity was on my side: I didn't even notice the red fox at the far end of the track until after I had taken the photo:

Through the carr.

The views from hide were excellent. There were hundred of waders and other birds:

View from Inner Marsh Farm hide.
View from Inner Marsh Farm hide. (Mainly black-tailed godwits.)

On my way to the hide, I had bumped into an expert-looking ‘birder’ (I hate that word), who informed me that he had just seen several spotted redshanks and a ruff from the hide. Both of these would be new species for me, so I kept my binoculars peeled, and eventually spotted a number of spotted redshanks (of which I have photographic proof) and a single ruff (of which I don't). I have to say, the spotted redshank is a delightfully elegant bird, with a surprisingly slender bill:

Lapwings and spotted redshanks.

Other than that, it was mostly geese and black-tailed godwits in their gorgeous russet summer plumage:

Greylag geese.
View from Inner Marsh Farm hide. (Mainly black-tailed godwits and Canada geese.)

A lovely spot to visit. It's just a shame that it's not officially open on the one day of the week that is most convenient for me to visit it!

Full set of photos »

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