With a small operation beckoning to remove a BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma - a slightly less worrying type of skin cancer) from my nose tomorrow, I decided to get out and do a spot of bird photography today. This helped take my mind off the impending hospital visit and I thought I might not be unable to get out much next week.
I wanted to stay local and I'd seen that two of the scarcer birds were in the Winwick area - so that's where I headed. The first stop was a long Alder Lane in a flooded horse field facing the Fiddle I'th Bag Inn. What a great name for a pub! Despite being fairly local, I'd never been down here before but finding the field and locating the bird was very easy. Just the sort of birding I like - get out of the car and there it is!
As soon as I had parked up on Old Alder Lane which runs alongside the field, I noticed two young girls playing in the field and at times splashing through the water. So I immediately thought my luck would be out - wrong! The Ruff was still present on the far edge of the water as was a single Shelduck. So I quickly took some distant shots looking into the sun just in case it made a sudden departure.
I knew I wasn't going to be happy with these, so I'd just started to make plans about how I could get on the right side of the bird when the two girls approached the Shelduck and it took off and flew away. They then turned their sights on the Ruff - 'Oh no!' I thought. The Ruff however didn't seem unduly concerned with their presence and, although it did eventually take off and land a little further away, it didn't fly off.
The girls then walked round the water on to my side of the pool. Funnily enough they didn't ask me what I what I was doing with a camera and a biggish lens on a tripod as they walked straight past me and started playing in some nearby trees. So I continued taking what can only be called 'record shots'. However, as they made their way back I asked them if it was their family's field and they told me it belonged to their Nan who was over with the horses in the stables.
So I decided I'd go and ask her if I might walk through the field to the opposite side. She was a very nice lady and we had a chat about the bird, the field, the floods and even my old Landrover Freelander which she told me she loves, having had a few of the them in the past. She now has a Freelander 2 (to which I aspire) but prefers the Mark 1 version that I have! And after checking that I had boots on she was quite happy to let me walk through the field - a lovely lady!
So I went back to my car to get my camera and just as I was doing so, the two girls chased the Ruff over to my side of the water where it landed on the edge right in front of me! What luck and needless to say I am pretty pleased with the results. I even managed to make this short video of the the bird.