The Starlings are an abundant species around Marston Moretaine; at a distance they seem a boring black, but close to, and especially in sunlight they are a magical mixture of iridescent blues and greens and they are often to be heard whistling amongst a gathering on a nearby telegraph pole; their call a Tseeuw, that I have been mimicking in the hope I can attract them closer in order to capture their true colours, and on this Sunday morning in bright sunshine I lured them in with a mixture of toast crumbs from the toaster, seeds and bread I have to cut off in order for my Bloomer bread slices to fit the new toaster (why did I buy a toaster that did not accept my favourite bread loaves? Answer – because an even browning was more important, and cutting a sliver from each frozen slice meant I had a fresh source of feed for the birds – QED!)
Reckoning that English Weather Forecasts are notorious for unpredictability, I thought I’d take a chance and head for Tring Reservoirs to see how the birdlife there was faring since it was bright from the start and the scheduled later rain might not materialise. Unfortunately I somehow managed to dislodge something in my back and was in considerable pain, but reckoned that no gain without pain, so persevered and headed south cross-country avoiding the M1. I am fortunate in being allowed to park my car with the local anglers and met the Water Bailiff and some of them briefly before heading away from Tringford to Marsworth Lake. It was tough on my back, but the weather was still so good it would have been a shame not to make the attempt and suffer in silence.
I probably spent at least four hours, and all of it standing as I decided on a different spot for a change and sitting was not an option; the pain did not let up and I did have to keep transferring my weight around, but it was manageable and I found that air was alive with all manner of birdcalls, most of which I was unable to place, and certainly most of those calling were never seen. I reckon overall I was lucky in what I managed to capture, even though some birds never succumbed to my trigger finger, even though I had tracked assiduously through the undergrowth – in that category were a Dunnock and Wren, and there were overflying herons and Greylag geese.
However even the pigeon gave me couple of interesting shots as did a robin gathering what I took to be food for its young and he or she was brave because it was straying into the territory of the resident Robin that I regularly spot and sometimes feed (and on a disappointing day, talk to and implore he ask a Kingfisher or Woodpecker to call by!)
To capture a flirting Bluetit pair cavorting, a Long-tailed Tit a Grebe or two and a Kingfisher, I felt was well worth the visit, and I was warm!