22 May 2014

Birds and Hoes

Two pairs of Goldeneye have been frequenting the small pond in the hide area for last 2 weeks. They are currently focused upon their mating rituals, which you can see the male acting out in the photo above. In between they dive below the surface to search for aquatic saplings. I spent about 30 minutes solidly trying to capture this 'diving' moment, to no avail, so I made a few nice images of the individuals in the water. Where they get their name from is quite self-explanatory, although the females tend to have a slightly less saturated colouring in the eye. 

The photo to the left is a very nice example of an adult male Goldeneye. He has a beautifully defined contrast between his upper and lower body, with the brightly coloured 'Golden' 'Eye' adding colour to either side of the head. An intruder male visited the ponds several times whilst this male was courting his female (Right and Above), the two broke into a fierce battle, both, submerged and on the surface of the pond. Finally ending with the intruder being chased away, fleeing from the pond.

In between photographing the large apex predators, you take time to see what other auxillary wildlife is around. This small Wood Sandpiper spent an hour circling the perimeter of the pond, just teetering on the edge, searching for dinner. Fortunately enough it came within 2/3m of my hide and I was able to snap a few photos of it.
There has also been a pair of loudly displaying Greenshank, which have been present at the side of the pond on most nights. They too offer a welcome change of subject whilst photographing the larger mammals for the duration of the night.