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Strange as the timing might seem (my phone & broadband get disconnected @ midnight [as far as I know]), I have decided that it’s time I used this blog for the reason I started it in the first place – to share with you some of the photos I’ve taken over the last year (well, not quite a year, but who’s counting?)

The first picture I’d like to share, while perhaps not one of my best, is nevertheless very special:

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Red-crested Pochards (Netta rufina)

When I first saw this beautiful pair (2 weeks ago) I was mesmerised by the male’s vivid colouring, and by how “soft” the female looked. Over time I’ve seen a few species that I didn’t recognise (although I’d perhaps seen them before without realising) and have had to look them up. From this limited research I could tell this pair were likely to be related to the common Pochard.

As soon as I got home I consulted my Collin’s Bird Guide – well, I say mine, it’s actually a library book that I just keep renewing! 🙂 – which told me it was a Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina). I was slightly puzzled by the distribution map, as it barely registered a hit in the UK. A quick bit of digging showed that it was not a red list species (ie it’s not in danger of becoming extinct in the very near future.)

I then had a look on http://www.rspb.org.uk/ (which I should’ve done in the first place!) When I looked at the distribution list on there I literally started shaking; there are only 29 breeding pairs (plus around 320 wintering birds) in the entire UK!

This sighting also made me a firm believer in synchronicity; I’d spent the entire day up in hospital having a bone scan, and was so fed up that I’d decided just to go home, rather than walk through the park to pick up the newspaper, which I normally do Monday to Friday. Still don’t know why I changed my mind, but boy am I glad I did!

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The following day of course I went back to see if they were still there (I’ve visited the park almost daily – including Christmas & New Year’s days – since it re-opened last year, but I had latterly spent my time shooting a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, as well as stalking some rather elusive Jays) and was glad to see they were.

Now, given that the previous day I had seen the Pochards for the very first time, what were the chances of catching this shot?:

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Yep, not 24 hours after seeing these uncommon (if not exactly rare) ducks for the first time I managed to get a shot of them mating! Talk about luck.

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I have many more images I want to share but, given the broadband situation, I’ll only be posting every few days (although I might “cheat” and post 2 at a time…) I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did taking them.

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