It was my daughter Laura's Birthday today and the first sunny day for quite some time. Laura doesn't consider bird watching to be high on her list of birthday treats, but Tarnia, her mother and my wife, stepped up with an offer of a visit to the local cinema. What's more, due to the constribution I made to cooked breakfast for the five teenagers, who joined Laura for a sleepover, I was excused from their trip to watch a "girlie" flick. So with the house empty (apart from my stepson Ali who is 19 and spends every waking and sleeping hour in his bedroom), I was left with a couple of hours to fill.
Lackham College was my first destination. Although, the sign at the entrance said something about 'private property' and 'only open for business visits', it was clearly meant for boy racers and those people in cars who get up to mischief when the moon comes out. The previous day at Lackham, I had taken some shots of a Jay, however, the light was poor on that occasion and the images similar. Today, the light was much better, but no Jay to be seen. I pulled into each layby, which were conveniently placed all the way along the drive to the college. This resulted in some good sightings: Redwing, Pheasant, Treecreeper, Raven, Buzzard, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Crow, Magpie and Rook. I will go back at some point in the not too distant future for that Jay.
Onto Corsham Lake, with monopod, fishing seat and camera. There were lots of ducks and gulls present, however, the people who took the time to speak to me, were far more interesting. One man pointed me out to his wife. In passing, he threw out a comment, which went something like, "what a big one (lens) you have". I've not heard that one before!
Another couple from Bath, stopped and asked me what I was doing...I told them I was "taking pictures of the ducks"... perhaps the lens is not as big and obvious as I thought. They were nice people nonetheless, and first-timers to the park.
Finally, I spoke to a family who were trying to avoid their springer spaniel, which had just jumped into the lake to chase after the ducks. Of course, the course of evolution weighed heavily against the dog. The ducks just nonchalantly swam away, with minimal fuss. From their reaction, I suspect the dog is a regular "jumper" at the lake.
The daughter of the family had a new DSLR and she was taking close-ups of the Mallards and Canada Geese. A skillfully crafted question and I found out she was taking AS level photography, so I let her take a look through my Canon 7D Mk II viewfinder and the 500mm lens and wished her well with her studies.
Returning my attention back to the lake, I spotted the usually Black-headed Gulls, Coots and Tufties and a couple of rather shy Goosander for good measure.