Last Updated on December 5, 2019 by Kevin Agar
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
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.
There were plenty of Tufted Duck, Mallard, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebe, Greylag and Canada Geese, and a lone Shoveler.
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.
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
Would be nice to go back when they have young and hopefully get some shots of them.