For quite a few months now, I've seen a pair of Shelduck lurking in Finch pond, on Manor farm. They were highly nervous of people, taking flight even though you are up to 100 yards away.
Recently I have only seen one Shelduck. Initially I put this down to my tardiness at arriving on the site; shockingly at 10:00am or the even more heinous time of 11:00am. Thus, the other Shelduck was feeding somewhere else. This morning I got there at a more normal 7:00am, but the Shelduck was still on its lonesome. Hmmm, was it jilted?
Maybe so, but the Shelduck really had it in for some poor little duck - I am assuming it is a female Tufted duck. Before I launch into narrative. The water levels in Finch pond are exceedingly low. The reason: water is pumped out. Initially it was to enable gravel extraction. Now it is to aid the restoration efforts of Inert; the company contracted by Cemex. The banks of the pond give an indication of how low the water levels are.
I noticed the Shelduck winging its way over to Finch pond from Cormorant lake. A mad panic ensued to get the camera up, on and focused. I didn't realise its intent, as normally I can get some reasonable photos of them flying.
Here it is beginning its attack run on the poor duck.
Cropping out the bird.
Now it levels out on to its target.
Cropping out the Shelduck and poor duck, who is going 'Oh, cripes, not again!'
Cropping out the Shelduck, with the poor duck is trying frantically to get out of the way.
Fairly dramatic pose. It is possible that the Shelduck has actually smacked into the duck.
The poor duck, possibly submerged in the attack, pops out and desperately begins flapping in an attempt to get airborne.
Here's the poor wee beastie.
Much frantic wing flapping and running across the water.
Cropping out, the nasty Shelduck just floats there quite calmly.
Even more frantic flapping, and the poor dazed duck still isn't airborne. I know it was warm this morning, but it wasn't that warm, so the air was still reasonably dense.
Cropping out our poor duck still trying to get airborne.
The Shelduck calmly floats along as if nothing had happened.
Here's the nasty fella.
I thought that was it, and concentrated on photographing the latest tranche of changes Inert had done to Manor farm over the week. After a couple of minutes of calm, I noticed the Shelduck taking off. Ah, photo opportunity to further try out the capabilities of my Canon 800d in capturing flying birds.
The Shelduck flew across the pond. This was going to be a low level attack.
Some course correction.
Final tweaks to course and speed.
Before levelling out for an ultra low level bombing run.
Our poor put on duck was quicker off the mark this time. You can see it on the right of the photo, running on the surface of the pond to get to flying speed.
Air brakes on for flare out.
Touch down, but too late. The quarry had flown.
The poor little duck had wheeled around, and was now heading east to Cormorant lake.
It stayed low.
Before beginning to try and gain altitude, possibly to fly over the 'ridge'.
Full power, with after burners on!
Blow me if the Shelduck didn't give chase!
Again, applying full power to get over the 'ridge'.
Up it goes, gaining altitude.
Finally, it begins to get over the ridge between Finch pond and Cormorant lake.
I know the birds in the lake and ponds have all sorts of fights, but I have never seen anything as sustained as this. Well, apart from the Corvids, who seem particularly belligerent and have a go at anything. They always harass the little resident Kestrel.
I'm still working out how to use my new Canon EOS 800d. It seems to be doing surprisingly well. One reason I bought it is that it has 45 focus points. Beats the nine of my ancient Canon EOS 350. I still haven't quite worked out how the camera chooses which focus points to use and what happens to those areas it doesn't choose. It definitely has a mind of its own. However, it seems to work quite well.
I am continually swapping between centre spot focus, centre area focus, and entire frame focus.
This morning was particularly fruitful, and I may get around to posting some other shots I got. However, first I must update my blog with the latest changes to Finch pond.
Poor duck but it had a happy ending. Whether you have worked out how to use your fancy new equiptment or not Angus, there is nowt wrong with those photos. Thanks for sharing.
It's surprising how some birds seem to take exception to others for no apparent reason. I'm surprised the the Tuftie didn't dive as they are perfectly capable of so doing. I've seen them doing this when being harassed by Black-headed Gulls - again for no apparent reason.
In my experience Coots are the worst. They'll pick a fight with anyone.
TeeJayIn my experience Coots are the worst. They'll pick a fight with anyone.