26th November 2017

November 27, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

A Cautionary Tale!

You can't ever get a day back again once it's over. I know that but I decided to try. I gave it my best shot!

Let me explain. Friday 24th November I went up to Saltholme. I took some great pictures: post-mounted stonechats, some lovely twite flight shots, long-eared owl, flight shots of green sandpiper and shore larks a-plenty. I stopped on the way home to sort out everything in the back end of Tiggy so I could unpack quickly when I got home. I made a coffee. Not unusually I took the memory card from the camera to put in my wallet.

Somehow it never got there. I was mystified when I got home that I couldn't find it. Anywhere. Eventually I came to the conclusion I must have dropped it in the lay-by where I made the coffee. Saturday Sheila and I did gardening at our son's in Pontefract but at the end of the day we drove up to the lay-by to see if the memory card was there.  It was. It was wet and had clearly been run over. Smashed. If you've ever wondered what the inside of a compact flash card looks like, now's your chance! Broken memory cardBroken memory card

So I decided to go back again on Sunday [26/11] to do it all again.

Stonechats still at their posts. StonechatStonechat A pair in fact. First target nailed!! StonechatStonechat Remember my last posting with this photo of the Snook? Seaton SnookSeaton Snook Well, this time it was very much as I'm used to seeing it. Seaton SnookSeaton Snook The twite performed so I met my second target. Most were hiding in the samphire but a few had ventured onto the causeway rocks. TwiteTwite TwiteTwite TwiteTwite TwiteTwite TwiteTwite TwiteTwite

I had to hope that the long-eared owl hadn't dropped down out of sight. The Reserve has provided what is described [jokingly, surely?] as a new viewpoint. Here it is: a squelchy mud pile retained with a couple of planks. It is slowly getting lower as the mud spreads out into the brambles! New facility this week: a chicken-wire covered step!! 'Viewing platform' Saltholme'Viewing platform' Saltholme Wellies recommended.

The owl was there. Long-eared OwlLong-eared Owl Ok. We're not doing badly. Walking back I saw some barnacle geese not far from the path. They're usually much further away. Barnacle GeeseBarnacle Geese Lost in my thoughts and walking in the heavy shade of the banking near Paddy's hide I suddenly noticed a kestrel hovering in front of me. Normally when this happens I'm looking at the back end of a kestrel. This encounter was different and rather special. I don't think it had spotted me hidden in the shade.  KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel KestrelKestrel

Bonus session that replaced the green sandpiper shots. I did see the greensand at Phil Stead hide but it was in the shade and so no photos this time. 

I had tried North Gare for the shore lark first thing but no sign. So, after lunch I went back. The light was full of a mixture of harsh contrasts and shade. Late afternoon sun was slowly fading. Slowly but nonetheless quicker than I expected. I sat down on a rock and looked at the tiny samphire area the larks seem to prefer. Nothing. I reviewed the kestrel photos. Suddenly I heard a bird call. They had come for me.  Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark Shore LarkShore Lark

Mission accomplished. What was lost was found.

Don't drop your memory cards - be more careful, Chris!


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