Francis sent in this amazing photo of one of the Wakefield peregrines during the recent lunar eclipse. This a remarkable and, I suspect, unique image!
I’m well out of the birding loop these days and I’ve only just got wind of a long staying great northern diver at Lady Lakes in Mirfield which has been there for about 5 months! Thinking there might be a photo opportunity, I nipped over there and sure enough I saw this amazing sub-adult great northern diver. I couldn’t understand why it was in Mirfield in June and not in Scandinavia along with the rest of its kind until I saw it feeding. On every dive it brought up a large crayfish, presumably signal crayfish, and heartily scoffed them down. Living on a rich crayfish diet like that must outweigh the long flight north :¬)
The bird regularly surfaced right in front of the anglers on the lake but would not come up in front of me and my camera! I managed a few grab shots before being thrown off the lakes by the owner – only fishermen are allowed on. So, if you go along, stay behind the otter fence and you are fine. Lots of black-tailed skimmers there too.
Got a call last night to say there was a great northern diver (common loon for the USA visitors) on Cawood’s Pool at Pugneys Country Park and it had still been there at dusk. So, I set off early this morning as the sun was rising and met up with this battle cruiser of a bird as drifted across the lake in the winter sunlight. Cawood’s is a big pool and the bird was a way off, but fortunately just as I arrived it dived beneath the water and I ran to where I thought it might pop up only to find it broke the surface about a yard in front of me!! I was over-geared for the bird at this range but in any case it panicked, dived again and came up about 100yds away to look back at me. I got off a few quick shots before it headed further out into the lake. I always find them hard to photograph because, despite it’s size, they sit low in the water and there is little contrast or definition for the camera to lock onto. Here’s a shot of the bird which will at least serve as record of its visit to Wakefield. On the way back to the car, I came across some carrion crows drinking in a puddle in the car park. I’d already reached my car and taken the 500mm off the tripod when I saw them, but the light was good so I whipped off the 1.4x and stalked them hand held. Here’s a couple of shots I really like and were an unexpected bonus to the short morning session.
John Gardner (President)