Yesterday I just had to get out so I made a return visit to the River Mole. It was raining and underfoot was mushy slippery ice so I wonder 'I am mad to even contemplate getting any decent sightings or photos in these conditions?' Undaunted I tread carefully and commence my stroll downstream. At the Vinnery the only sound is from a Grey Wagtail calling as it flies over. Well that's another species for the 2010 list and my my spirits are lifted further as I stand and watch a flock of Tits (Long-tails, Blue & Great) plus Blackbird, Redwing, Wren and Chaffinch busily feeding as they move around the shrubbery but the camera stays under the coat protected from the rain.
At the first bridge I catch a glimpse of lightening blue as a Kingfisher dashes by.
As the sign indicates, they nest in the river banks so maybe I might catch up with one perched somewhere later on, I can always hope!
The water level is fairly high and a fair torrent tumbles over this small weir as I follow a twittering band of Goldfinches high overhead using the bins.
A brief respite in the rain allows me a quick shot of a stationery Grey Heron with a pair of Mallard hiding nearby as two Moorhen, aware of my presence, promptly scurry away. Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling and a single Song Thrush are also noted nearby.
Crossing over the river via this bridge I scan the waters for signs of the Goosanders but nothing yet.
Out onto the open field the view looks fairly bleak, but specks of greyish-white in the water gets the heart rate pumping. Maybe I'm in luck...but it's still raining and the light is dismal. Over the half next hour or so I stalk these shapes, constantly diving and moving away from me.
On a number of occasions I get set up for a shot only to be interrupted by dogs and their attendants with obviously no idea why I'm croached down in the soggy snow concentrating on something in the water.
The Goosanders are eventually spooked and fly away up river towards the town so I eat my packed lunch before heading in the same direction. After a hundred yards I relocate two Goosander and fire off a few more frames for luck.
If there is one lesson I learnt it was don't expect too much when the conditions are this dismal and I also need to practise using manual focus. I promise myself to try harder in future.
The final stretch, with more rain...through the gate..along the path back to the car and then home again.
I had two more sightings of a Kingfisher flying up and down river but never perched so I thought I would share a shot taken late last year along the River Mole.
Have a good weekend, whatever the weather. FAB