a lifetime burning

By Sheol


I spent the day on the Shapwick and Ham Wall nature reserves near Glastonbury in Somerset.  I arrived at 8am hoping that the promised misty start would give me a shot of the Tor rising above the misty marshland at dawn.  In the event it was -2C and foggy.  Seeing the next reed bed was tricky let alone the Tor :-)

Later in the day the mist largely burned off, and I was joined by Incredibish and Happy_Janwen.  We spent a very enjoyable time wandering around and, in my case at least, almost capturing some really magnificent shots of birds in flight etc.  Its amazing how often they stop doing that really interesting thing the moment you point a camera at them ...

The main is of a snipe in flight.  These are pretty speedy waterfowl, not that easy to get a shot of.  Hence the title "sniper" given to expert marksmen. The RPSB guide describes them as medium sized (i.e. the same size as a blackbird), skulking (!) wading birds with short legs and long straight bills. I can't help but feel that the description does them no favours. 

I came across my first extra when exploring the "Sweet Path" at Shapwick, which is the recreating of a Bronze Age path through the marshland.  As it was too misty still for bird photography I was exploring the bits of the reserve I hadn't been to before.  I don't know which of us was more surprised, myself or the cow.  I spotted its back through the undergrowth and thought at first that it might be a deer, but then realised it was much too big for a deer.  

The third  extra is another shot of a marsh harrier later in the day when the mist had lifted, but the piece de la resistance (as they say) is the final extra which is a shot of Cetti's Warbler in the reeds.  It doesn't look like much, it is after all a small brown job.  Its not even flying.  But they are incredibly difficult to spot and get a photo of so I'm pretty pleased with the end result, even though it is less than perfect.

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