Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Second chance.

With the car available but late out yesterday afternoon i just headed up to Gosforth Park for the last couple of hours of daylight. I spent 45 minutes in the feeding station in the presence of hundreds of birds, all common species but looking stunning in the mid afternoon winter light. You take them for granted on occasions but it's nice to take time out to appreciate them.
A slow wander through the woods enjoying the light and shade. Small parties of birds passing through. A bit of warmth from the sun. Cracking stuff.
I passed a guy who proudly showed me his Bittern images on the back of his camera. As he did so another sad individual passed complaining that he hadn't seen anything while he had been in the hide. On arrival in the hide i adjusted the settings on my camera to accommodate the conditions. Bright sun over the reedbeds and medium shade over the water in the shadow of the trees. Nothing much about but was having a good craic with a youngish local lad who was a new member but had hung around Gossy and Big Waters when he was a young 'un. Tales of making camps in the woods, tracking deer and sitting on Big Waters hide roof enjoying the wildlife. I hadn't realised that the light had gone and it was quite dark outside and as we chatted we heard and then saw a movement in the reeds directly to our left. A crack of ice and out clambered an Otter !!!! You'll see from the image below how close it was (image not cropped) BUT i hadn't altered camera settings. I grabbed the camera a fired off a couple of shots. The Otter heard the cameras shutter and immediately turned back into the reeds and disappeared under the water.
I knew before i looked that it would be blurred

You can imagine how i felt. I'd missed an unbelievable opportunity because i'd been so busy yapping on. However.
Twenty seconds later the Otter, which obviously had swam the 30 or so metres under the ice, resurfaced to our right and scrambled onto a pile of cut reeds. I quickly altered the ISO (that's all i felt i had time to do) and started taking some more shots. It looked as if the Otter marked the area on the reeds before climbing down and heading off slip sliding across the ice before it gave way and this time it disappeared for good. I'm a lucky lad.