18 November 2010

Brandon Marsh– in the Fog

Map picture

I made A trip to Brandon Marsh on the 16th of this month, November 2010, mainly to get rid of the “cobwebs” stiffness and so on from our recent marathon to Donna Nook (see below).  It was a very foggy day, cold and uninviting. As experienced wildlife shooters, however, we have learned not be too phased by such weather. It is true to say that even dense fog can lend itself to the creation of some interesting images and may reveal otherwise unseen natural phenomena.

It is always great to visit the marsh – it is a place we know very well, is on our doorstep, so to speak, and, of which we have now shot approaching 100,000 images. We are members of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and are now in our fifth year of visiting.

As I said, we know the place very well….. So I arrived in the car park to find my friend Geoff was just leaving, there are usually lots of photographers, many of whom we know, bird watchers, wildlife tourists and people out for a pleasant walk at the Marsh – though surprisingly not so many on freezing cold foggy days LOL

Geoff and I passed a good few minutes in very pleasant conversation, about pretty much what you would expect two keen amateur wildlife photographers to talk about – what is where, cameras and lenses and so on LOL. Many of the photographers at Brandon use Flickr to display their “works” – I have included a link to Geoff’s page – take a look……….

Brandon Marsh D300s  16-11-2010 14-32-30As I said above, the marsh only gives up some of its  secrets in certain weather, this time, with the fog depositing a fine mist of water droplets onto the reed beds and other plant life it is amazing to  see that everything is wreathed in spider webs, all “illuminated” by their fine watery coating….. Only in this weather can you see just how active the spiders are, and how beautiful their webs look…….

Brandon hides, there are 7 of them, were almost empty, as were the lakes. Goldeneye are out there somewhere, but not seen by me today, from the Baldwin Hide A Grey Heron stands guard on a pontoon and a Great Cormorant flies past, giving me the opportunity to fire off a few shots…….. All is quiet, and sometimes that is all you desire – a place of peace and serenity overlooking beautiful scenery and equally beautiful flora and fauna. Marched on towards the East Marsh Hide – slowly and painfully – but still getting there eventually….. and stopping often to take photos of the marvellous reeds and wet webs, fascinating stuff…..

In the East Marsh Hide – a few birdwatchers – have you seen the Bittern, the usual question at this time of year……Bittern are very rare birds in the UK with only a couple of hundred pairs in the whole country. Brandon Marsh is privileged to host several individuals during the winter months…… After an hour or so of shooting a Pheasant and a Green Woodpecker – whoosh, up goes the mixed flock of Black Headed Gulls and Lapwing (always resident) a sure sign that something they fear is overhead. A quick look around, and there it is the A Bittern dropping into the reeds. I was the only one who spotted it, and frankly I don’t think the others took my word for the sighting… their problem not mine LOL We have several hundred shots of Bittern in our collection, but it is always great to see them again.

Needless to say the Bittern stayed out of sight for the rest of my stay in the hide. Did see a Sparrow Hawk flyby – once again lifting the nervous flocks into the air. Inexperienced people, when the flocks lift off, watch the flock. More experienced viewers watch the sky around them for the perceived predatory species, which quite often turns out to be something harmless, but interesting. A Water Rail showed itself several times as did several noisy wrens….. Too dark for easy photography, but enjoyable to see nonetheless. The pheasant I was watching took off and headed towards the spot I was sitting in at breakneck speed. Little light but a quick burst on the D300 and I captured the flight head on – dark and blurry shots, but I am happy with the outcome.

Stayed in the East Marsh Hide until the skies began to darken – watching to the right – towards the Carlton Pool. Watching for starlings….. for the past few weeks we have enjoyed watching the starling flocks  float around the sky in a pre- roosting dance. there is now a sizeable flock in evidence.

A cold wet day, with poor light and visibility, and which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Click the above image for a gallery of shots from this trip.

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