With the imminent potential move from this house to another a few miles further up the M1 and closer to Bedford, from now on my free time will have a very different set of priorities, and having just missed several promising weather days lost to the start of packing my current home into a series of cardboard boxes, I decided that I just had to pay a final visit for a while, to Tring Reservoirs, and to give myself the best of chances I set my alarm for five o’clock, a time that I have on occasion been more familiar to going to bed, rather than getting up!
As is my wont, I awoke to a light wakefulness a few minutes before the alarm, and reached out to check the time through squinting eyes to avoid the glare from the screen of the phone, and there were some seven minutes to go, but I got out from under the duvet with nothing that could be described as alacrity and started my ablutions. At least I had laid out all my clothes the night before and changed the contents of the pockets to a scruffy pair of trousers that still bore the dried whitish soil from the last trip to the banks of the Marsworth reservoir. I took a quick look beyond the curtains and was greeted by a a grey mist that was almost thick enough to call fog as the shops up and across the road were barely visible.
I showered in haste and only downed a bowl of Muesli as I prepared a small flask of coffee and grabbed some crisps and biscuits and all my camera gear and a backpack which contained a second camera with my 24-105mm, and I was out of the door just short of an hour after waking. The mist lifted as I came towards Kensworth and as I drove down Bison Hill after Whipsnade, I was above the mist that shrouded the plain below, but as I drove towards Tring the mist was rising, yet still hung over the lake at Tringford as I parked the car. Billy the Baker’s house on the far bank showed faintly through the veils of mist floating across the intervening water, so I grabbed two quick shots, whilst holding the camera steady with the tripod dangling as a counterweight, before heading across the road to the banked path between the twin lakes of Startops End and Marsworth, heading towards the Grand Union canal. As I came to the fork in the path, I spotted a pair of grebe starting their dance routine, but this was stopped by the flapping of wings from a heron on the bank, deciding I was too close, both had lost the magic of the moment!
When I arrived at my chosen spot, I had to descend the bank quietly so as not to disturb another photographer who was intently concentrating on taking a shot. Either he lives much closer or is an insomniac as I learned he had been there for more than forty minutes, but there had been little activity thus far, and precious little the day previous! We were lucky with herons during our stay as a pair visited and alighted on the tallest branch of the dead tree straddling the water in front of us, but until he departed a couple of hours later we only had flybys by a kingfisher or two, but three quarters of an hour after he left, I did see a pair, but only one landed and on both occasions I was shooting through branches and at a distance which was a shame; the wind rose and I was ill-prepared for the wind-chill it brought and before my limbs froze, I called it a day and took the long walk back.