Friday, 25 March 2011

A nice little bird took a fancy to me... sorry Liz!!!

After reading a great post on Brian Rafferty's blog regarding Otters on Waterhead Pier in Ambleside, I asked my boss if it would be possible to take Tuesday off to head off early and hopefully get some shots of these amazing animals.  Luckily I have a good boss who instantly said yes get yourself off there and after a quick call to Liz to see if she and Briony wanted to join me, the plan was set in motion.

Alarm was set for 5:00am, YES 5:00am!!!  And as soon as it went off I was up, dressed and raring to go and while Liz saw to Briony I got lunch and flasks full of hot water all ready and we were out of the door and heading to Cumbria by 6:00am.  The weather into Cumbria was fantastic with low clouds over the hills and mountains and the sun starting to blaze through and with the M6 north traffic being quiet at that time in the morning we arrived in Ambleside at just before 7:00am, no I was not speeding!!

On arrival there was only one other car present in the car park in front of Waterhead Pier but not someone who looked like they were waiting for Otters.  Anyway I stuck around the pier till around 8:30am and no Otters showed, I was seriously gutted as I now think Otters are going to be my bogey animal to photograph but as Brian said in his email to me yesterday "it's always worth another try" and believe me it is.  Not to be to down trodden, we then headed off into Ambleside to get some breakfast and then we carried on into Grasmere.  Still early, as we even beat the hardcore walkers but we didn't beat the kids into the local school and after a short walk Briony wanted to be fed and myself and Liz decided that we would walk down towards the River Rothay behind the church in Grasmere.  What an idea this was as Liz suddenly went "look at them" and she had noticed 7 Goosanders happily swimming around literally 2-3 metres in front of us.  I was over the moon as this is one of my favourite birds, plus one I have being trying to photograph for a long time now, nearly every lunch on the River Ribble but always so skittish but these were unbelievably tame.

After firing off lots of shots, this one female Goosander seemed to take a fancy to me as she was parading up and down in front of me and got closer and closer.  I may sound a little weird but just look at the picture below, she is gorgeous, almost the punk rocker of the bird world. (Click pic for larger view)

Female Goosander - River Rothay, Grasmere 22/03/2011
For anyone wanting to know a little more about Goosanders please carry one reading.  

Members of the sawbill family, which you can see from the serrated bill on the above image, this is used for catching small fish. They are largely freshwater birds, forming into flocks of several thousand in some parts of Europe.  If you live in Preston there is a great chance to see both male and female Goosanders up the River Ribble near Holme Road.

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