Monday, 2 December 2019

Bird stalking at Cranford Park along the River Crane


Bob Barton set me a challenge the other day...…. photograph the Cranford Park Kingfisher. 

So today I tried..... and I tried...…. and I tried...….for three hours I tried !

I saw the lovely little blue bird loads of time whilst I was stalking it up and down the river. I kept to the same section of the Crane walking from the iron bridge down to the stone bridge and including the M4 viaduct and back again several times. So if any of you saw a lady with piled up pale pinky blonde hair, glasses, light khaki jacket and a serious expression on her face, tip toeing along the river .....that was me ! 

careful stalking.....walking silently and slowly...…..keeping to the shadows where possible...….hiding behind trees...… peering through fence posts....

The Kingfisher was so active today, but was almost always flying rather than perching. There are two perches by the viaduct where I often see the beauty, and twice he was there today but both times a dog walker spooked him before I could get a decent photo. If you position yourself carefully behind the second tree you come to if walking from the church side entrance, you can see both perches clearly but the bird cant see you.  

Today I had to make do with him perching where there were always twigs in the way, or so far away that my lens could barely pick him out. So here are the best I could get...….

Spot the Kingfisher......



In this photo I was actually trying to get a clear shot of the Little Egret when I realised the Kingfisher was sitting directly above it on the second trunk (at the top of the photo)
The Little Egret, although just as easily spooked as the Kingfisher, obviously showed up much better due to its size and colour. You cannot miss a 'white heron' in these pics...



Luckily for me the regularly seen Little Egret flew towards the M4 and landed in one of the trees on the left hand side of the River Crane between the viaduct and the stone bridge.....

More careful stalking.....walking silently and slowly...…..keeping to the shadows where possible...….hiding behind trees...… peering through fence posts....


and finally I got some really lovely views.....




Only 25 years ago, seeing a Little Egret was a rare thing and would have all the 'twitchers' going mad for a sighting. Now they are fairly common, and we've had regular sightings of an individual at Cranford Park for some years. A couple of weeks, and today, I saw two Little Egrets, both of them appearing to be quite relaxed and happy in each others company, so maybe we'll have a breeding pair of Little Egrets next season ! 

Whilst sticking to my chosen route of between the iron bridge and the viaduct, this female Kestrel landed briefly in front of me. I managed just a couple of hastily snatched pics, so they are not as sharp as I'd like. When she took off, I saw another one join her and it would be nice to think they are our resident pair starting their courtship.



Not many photos to show for my efforts, but it's nice to know that both the Kingfsher and Little Egret are being fairly predictable and sticking to the same stretch of the River Crane. It also means that the recent fuel spillage has dispersed as you wouldnt find these two birds there if the water was heavily polluted. 


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