Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Sitting Ducks

Could be a good birding weekend this. Today I was working at the Lee Valley Park and as per usual, I went for a walkabout before the shift. You probably know I have had some camera problems and this morning was a chance to test out my new Nikon Coolpix 6500 with my scope. This is always a bit hit-and-miss so I had to pick an easy target to get going. The Holyfield Weir seemed the perfect place to shoot ducks. They (Mallards) like to hang out along the concrete edge of the weir and I have some cover so as not to freak them out.

Mallard Duck
Unlike my old Samsung, the Nikon needs some manual zooming to lose the vignetting. I was spoilt with the Samsung as this framed perfectly so now I have to fiddle a bit.

Mallard Drake
On the whole, I’m liking the results although I still need to sus out a faster shutter speed or the fps setting at least.

Coot, nearly a duck
Well spotted. Not a duck
So, so far so good but sitting ducks are fairly easy. The Bittern watchpoint was fun today with some good people, some good company and of course some good birds (Hobby, Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher and Cetti’s Warbler). Something about the place (The park) makes you just want to spend your whole life doing conservation or working with nature in some way.

We had an enlightening visit from the head ranger who has spent a lot of his time dry stone walling, teaching bush survival techniques (including eating slugs) and basically living a life outdoor and out of this world. It’s a romantic notion to just drop everything and take up a new life in the wild but he looked very healthy and rode a quadbike. My kind of company vehicle if you ask me.

I think when you live in the modern world with all the modern pressures of life, you are basically a sitting duck. It can depress you, stagnate you and control you. We all have to accept this right? Wrong. We can if all the circumstances are favourable, do what we need to to change this. It may be a bit late for me but the volunteering, the people I meet and the people I work with make the aches and pains of the world go away for a while.

The view from Holyfield Weir.
Wouldn’t this be an amazing office?

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