Finally, a Black-necked Grebe.

Today was the 1st time that I’ve managed to get to RSPB St. Aidan’s this year. I’ve wanted to go for a while but the weather has always been poor or I had other things to do. It was also a good time to give my 500mm lens and 1.4x extender a test after calibrating it with Reikan FoCal. Weather was very overcast so I wasn’t expecting anything great. On arrival at 07:00 I entered the reserve and saw a Kestrel on the old opencast mining machinery

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Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/250 s. f/6.3 iso1600 700 mm.

 

A good start.  Carried on down the hill to the large reedbeds at the bottom. Where there was a Reed Bunting singing in the bushes but at least it gave me a clear view.

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Reed Bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/500 s. f/5.6 iso1600 700 mm.

 

There were plenty of Tufted Duck, Mallard, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebe, Greylag and Canada Geese, and a lone Shoveler.

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Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/1000 s. f/5.6 iso1600 700 mm.

 

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Canada Goose, Branta canadensis

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/500 s. f/5.6 iso1600 700 mm.

 

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Mute Swan, Cygnus olor

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/800 s. f/7.1 iso800 700 mm.

 

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Greylag Goose, Anser anser

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/1000 s. f/5.6 iso1600 700 mm.

 

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Great Crested Grebe, Podiceps cristatus

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/1000 s. f/5.6 iso1600 700 mm.

 

What I really wanted though was a Black-necked Grebe.  I did see a couple in the distance but much too far away to get any shots of.  I decided to give it one more trip around the reedbeds and channels then call it a day.  On the far side I heard the booming of a Bittern and was busy looking for it and almost missed a Black-necked Grebe fishing in one of the channels fairly close to the bank.  When it dived down I got down to the waters edge and sat down.  I quickly shortened my monopod and reattached it to the lens.  It stayed for about 10 minutes fishing in front of me and it kept checking me out every time it surfaced but didn’t seem too bothered with me.  Here are some of the shots I got.

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Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/1000 s. f/7.1 iso800 700 mm.

 

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Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/800 s. f/7.1 iso800 700 mm.

 

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Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/800 s. f/7.1 iso800 700 mm.

 

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Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/800 s. f/5.6 iso800 700 mm.

 

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Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/3200 s. f/5.6 iso1600 700 mm.

 

Very happy with these shots as I was low down giving a great point of view.  Could have done with better light but considering the conditions and camera settings I’m happy with the results.  Was worth getting up at 06:00 and sitting on the wet ground.

Also managed a bonus shot of a Black-headed Gull whilst I was leaving

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Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Canon EOS 7D Mark II 1/400 s. f/6.3 iso400 700 mm.

Would be nice to go back when they have young and hopefully get some shots of them.

 

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