Saturday, 13 December 2014
from dusk til dawn
On Friday evening I got the chance to see the swans at Welney at close quarters from the basement of the main observatory during the swan feed. Primarily, it was to do some ring recording, and we found some interesting stuff out about the age of some of the swans there, and where they go when not at Welney. One of the birds was ringed at Caerlaverock, another at Martin Mere. Such information is vital to the appreciation of the Whooper swan population and its habits, and reveals the importance of Welney as a wintering spot. Some of these swans have been coming back for years. It was quite surreal to say the least, being just a few feet away from them as they poked among the mallard at the grain that Lou shovelled out from her wheelbarrow. They were oblivious to my presence as I stood in the dark cellar, and I had to keep reminding myself that they were real wild birds that would fly off if I came within 200 metres of them out on the fen.
In complete contrast, this morning Duncan and I enjoyed dawn on the washes while hunting a diver that had been seen in hte area. We didn't see the diver, but could not complain about the scene that lay before us. Wildfowl scattered across the floods and trees and bushes and lines of semi-submerged reeds were silhouetted against the water-sky. A real landscape photographer's dream, and sadly I only had my digiscoping lens. I could have attempted some monolithic Hockney-esque photo mosaic, but I thought better of it and just soaked up the atmosphere.