I decided that with such bright sunlight beckoning, I would visit the reservoir at Wilstone once again. The journey over was measured at a constant 1˚C as it had been for most of the preceding week, so no surprise there, but on arrival, the temperature must have risen as I clomped through thick, glutinous mud to reach the banks of the lake. It is at times like this that I do begin to wish for the more solid underfoot experience of the recent frosts.
I had come with a monopod on this occasion to keep the weight down and due to the risks of slipping and falling did not attach the camera and lens till I had arrived at the water’s edge – the water level was much higher than my last visit which was bad news for wading birds, but good for the reed beds. At the nearest corner there was still ice at the edge of the reeds. It was here that I took advantage of the metal covers over presumably sluices, to get the camera onto the monopod and balance the lens using the slider on the quick-release plate. I waited awhile here to see whether anything stirred amongst the reeds, but soon started gingerly along the narrow stone edging to keep out of the mud as much as possible. I took up a position just after the first bush in case the wagtails were around, but they kept their distance.
I came alongside an angler where a few Grebe were, and soon found myself in conversation and learned he generally found he had better luck close to where the Grebe frequented. Occasionally I greeted other photographers as they came past and some were happy to chat as I waited to spot the grey wagtail that had appeared. After awhile I moved further along the edge and soon was lucky enough to spot a lone Teal with its partner, this was my first chance to see Teal close-to.
I spent quite a deal of time trying to capture the diving of a particularly busy Pochard and I had an almost 99% failure rate because it moved so fast and I was unable to spot any precursor movement; it was even harder to capture the Grebe diving, as it slid under rather than leapt as the Pochard was wont to do, so I have numerous shots to simply bin when it comes to the processing!
Altogether though I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours once again taking photos with the 150-600mm and the EOS 7D MkII, but in future I will try to manhandle a tripod rather than the monopod in the future.