"Swan Lake". Bev's. December 2012.

Ten days after the first December visit to Bev's and the month is flying past. There were a few more Common Snipe this time although only just into double figures. No sign of the Goldeneye that was here last, but plenty of Gadwall still and a few Shoveler.

After a quick jaunt around I set up to see what was available for some images, I opted to stay put and capture anything providing picture opportunities especially any flight images with which to practice on.

Any larger gulls than the Black headed and Common seemed to pass over high, the lone Kestrel was very active, no doubt taking advantage of the decent weather that was gracing us for a change.
I think this is the first record shot of a Wren at the sight, I'd seen them before but never managed to grab a shot. I also noticed there were a handful of Song Thrushes around the site. Normally just one maybe two but I had 5 or 6 today feeding in the waterside vegetation, and never stopping to pose for a shot.

With a few more Mute swans present I finished up with some images of them, getting close in for some water dripping images. Then to add to a very nice morning out, I noticed something along the waters edge on the far side. With just binoculars, although more than adequate for identifying stuff at range, I happily picked out a Water Rail scurrying along the waters edge before weaving in and out of the vegetation. I'd only been thinking about catching a glimpse of one earlier as I searched the drainage ditches for snipe, no picture because of the distance, but a tick I was pleased to get.

Hoar frost extreme. Wrestlingworth. December 2012.

Only the second real hard Hoar frost that I can remember, and the first that Sarah had been able to witness, we both dressed for the cold and set off around the village. It is an amazing sight to see, everything white and frozen. But the extent of frozen taking to a higher level, on closer examination the leaves,branches and virtually everything else had a needle like coating. Some of the leaves still had some vivid colour and these stood out on the almost bare branches, most were falling with the added weight of the spiky ice jackets. The leaf litter covering the ground was brown and wet from the defrosting ice and giving a contrasting colour scheme when a ice laden green leaf hit the floor.

Every branch just glistened with the icy spikes. Yet some ice formed more like small crystal beads. A feather    lodged in a tree had now become more of a jewelled brooch, whilst the berries took on a frozen punk look hairdo!
I hope the next Hoar frost graces another work free day, I'll be donning the thermals and getting out there again. 

Waters freeze at Bev's. December 2012.

 The start of December and the conditions were becoming cold to say the least. A trip to Bev's found the outer edges of the lake frozen over. Mostly Black headed gulls and a few Common gulls occupied these areas, there was a group of Lapwing that were circling but they ventured further afield.

 This Common Gull unusually stayed put and allowed a fairly close approach, enabling me to grab a few decent images.

 The Goldfinches were mobile as usual, but not in the large groups as before, busily feeding on any seed they could find.
 Even on a grey day these birds seem to shine in colour.

 This female Goldeneye dropped in on its own, after a very short spell it disappeared, not before I could get a record shot though.
Whilst skirting the reed fringes I noticed a small bird flitting around, revealing itself as a Chiffchaff only to then be moved on by a Reed bunting. Other birds noted were a Green woodpecker perched in a hedge and a Goldcrest which was nice to find but frustratingly flew as I pulled focus with the camera!!
With the cold weather forecast to carry on hopefully some winter birds will visit the lake....oh and as for the Snipe, I only saw 2 this time, no doubt they were further back from the water sheltering in the grasses.