April 24th, 2011, 09:59 PM
Not Sure; But .....
" Been Birding Today? Please tell us what you saw. " It says. OK. Well, Wheatears and Warblers made up the vast majority of what I saw. Anyone got any hints or tips on how best to single handedly find a wheatears nest? I'm all ..... well, bloody Wheatears, basically.
They gave me the run around last year. This year there's more of them. But, that's ~ if anything ~ making it worse. Because, trying to spy on them from 100 yards +, with 8 x 30's? With my eyes, I'm lucky to make out it's a bird, let alone male or female.
Anyway, I could bash away about my elusive Wheatibix all night. It's not them that dragged me back in here. Well, not directly, anyway .....
See; I'm sitting on this pile of stones, up on the roadside. Road runs past the rim of this natural land basin, bottom of which is a shrinking lough. It's more like 2/3 Reed Bed and 1/3 water now. And that forms the back drop to the ground I'm eyeballing my wheaties on.
Then, far out, coming in through the small willow trees and the expansive reed beds that are spread well out to one side of the water, something brown.
It's coming in from my right and god alone knows how far in front. Flying low. Low enough that it's slipping behind any but the tiniest willows. Tending to keep above the actual reeds though.
First thing that struck me, as I tried to get the bin's on it ~ even just tracking it by eye, as it vanished and reappeared on its long, straight flight in to where it was going ~ was that this was no duck.
Apart from the fact that it's be a bloody big duck, the wing beat was far too slow and ..... I dunno. Bittern entered my head. But, this was more ye 'flying crucifix' than flying egg shape. Anyway, we don't get Bitterns here.
What ever it was, it went down into the thinner strip of read bed. Quite close to the water, I'd imagine.
Alright. Hands up. I went all the way down there to see what I could see. Wondered, if I could get close enough, if this bird may flush in view.
Only, I have a genuine phobia of ground which is wet and soft, beneath such cover as ye can't see where ye feet are going.
I got into the small patch of willows behind which it had gone down. But, I was getting deeper into the reed beds by then. The ground was getting spooky. I had to get out before my nerve went completely. I was on the point of freaking out and going into a blind panic.
Don't laugh. It's not funny for me.
So, I guess I'm not really cut out for searching for Reed Warblers nests. And I'll likely never know if that Was a female Hen Harrier that went down there. Nesting.
Because, that's what I thought, when it happened. And I've seen what I took to be a male HH following the little 'river' that leads into this lough. He was flying much the same way as this bird did. Approaching the lough from the opposite direction, last year.
And, this lough is a place where absolutely no body goes. Ever. Reed beds and soft ground deter fishermen. And it's bang in the middle of no where in particular. Surrounded by rough pasture.
Wish I had a telescope. I'd stake the place out.