I heard at work there were some bird hides there, so I hunted them down. Not as hard as I thought since they're on the guide maps. As it seemed quite sunny I was afraid it'll be busy, but that concern was unfounded. There were two horse carriers and one car at Waterhay car park when I got there. Not too bad...
As soon as I left the car park I saw this bird in the distance. I had to 100% crop here. In other words, for equivalent field of view I would have to strap on a 2600mm lens. And that's without 35mm equivalent to make the numbers bigger. I'm told by a bird watcher who was there this is a kestrel.
Along the paths were a load of rabbits. They didn't hang around though. So only long distance shooting.
Lots of birds hiding in the trees. Emphasis on hiding. Occasionally one would tempt me long enough for me to start focusing, but would disappear the instant before I fully press the shutter. I wonder if there's a measurable time constant there? Anyway, this red-ish bird didn't fly away. Sang a lot. Anyone know what it is? My guess is a Chaffinch based on a quick browse around.
This couple of geese didn't stick around. I think I saw them taking off later as I arrived at the 3rd hide, but had focusing fail so missed that.
It took a while, but I eventually reached the 2nd hide (Reed). What about the 1st hide (Waterhay) you say? I skipped that one since where it overlooked had dried up. No wetlands there, nor anything else of interest I could see. Reed Hide was quite large and well built as can be seen here. In the middle are three glass windows. To each side are two hatches which let quite a breeze in as I found out when I did.
This swan family were there with 8 cygnets.
What else? This Pochard did a swim past.
This jackdaw was hopping around right in front of the window. Unfortunately too close, I couldn't get the lower body. When I moved to try for a better angle I spooked it and disappeared in a blink of an eye.
This grebe never came close, so I tried sticking a 2x converter on the 100-400 for 800mm. Phase AF doesn't work in this setting, but contrast does. And I still had to crop a lot for this.
Some canada geese also flew overhead, as well as one heron which I missed. I decided to head for the 3rd hide (Wickwater). This overlooked a different patch of lake, where apart from two geese (possibly the ones from earlier) taking off, nothing happened. I didn't stay long and head off back.
I thought I saw a white thing on the opposite bank, and sure enough, through the lens I saw this heron sitting.
And finally, I had a go at these damselflies (I think banded demoiselle). The paths had a LOT of damselflies. At times, I was talking through a cloud of them. They were occasionally hitting my face and eyes, but those were the more common type. This one is a type I don't see often so I had to try a little more. But like all bugs, they weren't impressed with me approaching and disappeared so I stuck to using the 100-400 and not a macro.
I'm not sure which route I took. The round trip was at least 4 miles if I went the short way, 5 miles if it wasn't. I haven't done that much walking in a while...
On the way back I had to pass a LOT of horse riders out and about. I got passed by two on the way to the car. Driving back, there was another pair just turning off the road I was on, before I had to slowly pass another pair further along. A while later and almost home, there were another pair. Alas they were not so compatible in an urban environment and they caused severe traffic congestion. I think that's a record number of horses I've seen ridden in one day.