Monday, August 05, 2013

This weekend in the park

On Saturday I arrived reasonably early and had a Buzzard over the east side of the park before moving on to the beach where a Mute Swan gave me the opportunity to try for an "On Black" portrait. With the sun low in the east and the Swan in a pool of sunlight and the background in shadow you can underexpose the scene leaving the emphasis on your white subject:

Mute Swan on black
In the above shot I would have preferred the head to be turned the other way in order to catch the light on the eye but I really like the line of water droplets falling from the beak. Another portrait of the same bird below:

Mute Swan on black
It was a weekend for Peacock Butterflies which were out in force around the park on both days.
Peacock Butterfly
This Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly perched on a nettle and stayed long enough for a quick snap.
Black-tailed Skimmer
Another nice find was a Common Sandpiper on the Canoe Slalom, sharing it with a single Grey Wagtail.

Sunday morning there was a lot of fish activity in the north east corner of the main lake. This Common Tern took full advantage, making a dive incredibly close to the reeds before making off with its prize.

Common Tern
Along the Spit this juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker perched on the dead tree and posed nicely for a while. Note the red crown which marks this bird out as a juvenile. Note also the way it is using its stiff tail feathers for extra support as it grips the branch with its feet.
Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker
A Greenshank passed high over the main lake and looked like it may have dropped in on the south side or possibly Fenlake Meadows. A Kingfisher was heard on both days around east Fingers. Sparrowhawks were seen on both days around the Rough and a Kestrel was on the wires over 100 Acre. I had a single Swallow over the New Meadow on Sunday morning and an Oystercatcher was heard during the lunch break of the volunteer session.

DK had a Goldcrest on the south side, a Willow Warbler singing in the SW corner and two additional juv Sparrowhawks together on the south side.

Sunday was also volunteer day and ~13 people turned out for the main task which was to remove the Water Soldier from the Finger Lakes. This invasive weed has really taken over in recent years and if left would smother the lake prevent other plant species from getting a look in.

With such a good turnout there were plenty of bodies to carry out a few other tasks so parties were out trimming back overhanging branches and brambles and clearing up litter.

At the end of the day several boat loads of Water Soldier had been removed but there is plenty more left to go! Thanks to everyone for your efforts and hope to see you again next month.