The forecast was for a dusting of snow at around eight and it was likely not to settle for long and simply become dull, but I awoke to no more than a light suggestion on the roofs of cars. Then a while later the sun appeared to break through weakly, but it lasted barely an hour before a couple more fitful falls of snow returned; it looked as if any chance of using my newly acquired EOS 7D MkII this day had diminished to zero, so I busied myself cleaning and tidying for the next few couples viewing the house, and just hoping I might get half a chance to go out and not be around for when they came. I took the opportunity to put some washing into the machine and paid the gas bill and posted it off and ran through the rigmarole of paying the Vodafone bill via a semi-automated numbers game and transferred cash to cover the camera body to avoid going overdrawn, and as I left the house to post the gas cheque, I found the sun was out and the sky had cleared!
I hastily gathered up the 7D MkII and the Tamron 150-600mm lens and headed for Wilstone Reservoir for a change, parking alongside the cemetery. The walk was slippery in parts, but I managed to keep my balance, and told myself to take extra care, as to damage the kit on its first outing didn’t bear contemplating. Arriving at the lake, I saw very little avian activity, even fewer humans walking dogs or children; I did see a few coots, but they hold no attraction. I walked towards the centre of that side, and caught sight of a wagtail, but before I could even get close or a clear view, it took off and away towards the fields rather than along the shore line, passing the little promontory with a bench I did then catch sight of some grebe and pochard ducks, but at first they were against the sun and rather too distant, but as I turned the corner at the end of that side, I saw others much closer to the shore.
I was in luck after all. There were more pairs of grebe, and some youngsters more coots and more pochard; at last I got to take pictures and the lens and the new body performed beautifully, exceeding expectations, and the shutter was both fast and quiet. For quite a time I forgot the biting wind, cheerily greeted those that past and got into conversation with some the others who had braved the conditions to be out in the sunshine, the longest conversation being with a man called Dave who was a gaffer in the movie business, and he seemed to be known to several passers-by as we chatted and I occasionally grabbed a few likely shots. After he departed I stayed probably another hour and more before finally succumbing to the bitter cold as the sun became weaker and was swallowed by the clouds; I took a very brisk pace as I strode back to the car as my body needed to generate some heat.
Amongst the chats I learned that red crested pochard were now on the Tringford lake which was news, so I can see I will be down at the Tring reservoirs when next the sun shines, as they are truly beautiful birds.