Sunday, 24 January 2010

Smew - Alston Res and River Ribble - 24th January 2010

no, Its not just blog of dirt on a grey screen...this is actually the best I could do in the conditions at dawn Alston Res!

I arrived at Alston at 07.10 in pitch black and set up camp hoping to turn the faint black blobs on the black water surface into a Smew. As the light improved, the fog didnt, but I managed to pick up 19 Goosander and 2 smaller birds with White faces, result, the birds has roosted overnight. As I was about to send the news to Bill Aspin, i thought I could see another 2 smaller birds. I later confirmed that all four birds had roosted overnight at Alston Res. The fog made photographic conditions a nightmare. I managed to get a couple of poor videos of one of the birds which was a little closer and less flighty. At 08.18 the birds took flight and circled the res a few times, coming past me twice and headed off E/SE. My d-SLR was on self timer for some reason and there was a horrible 10 second lag time between the time I pressed the Shutter and the time the shutter opened!

I thought I would check Spare Mill Res before I checked the Ribble but only had 3 Goosander and 4 Goldeneye on here...with a raptor that I maybe shouldn't mention on a public blog.

I arrived at the Ribble at 09.30 and had a flock of 9 Pinkfeet over >SW. I was down by the river when the 4 birds with whistling wings alerted me from above and I watched them in flight for about 1 minute before I saw them come to a land towards the western end of Jackson Bank's Wood.

(Bill Aspin later found 3 of the 4 birds on the Ribble from Bezza Road, so the 4th is somewhere in the west Ribble Valley)

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