photographers dream of today at Reddish Vale.
Today's forecast was for cloud, but I've always been one for just getting up early and judging for myself how I think the weather will turn out...This morning, the lack of cloud and crisp frost were obvious signs that it was going to be a great morning to be out with the camera!
Two new Mute Swans seemed to have settled very nicely now at the Vale...Although sadly this seems to be at the expense of the recently orphaned Pen which had returned alone after a short absence last week.
The poor young bird was nowhere to be seen today and I learned earlier in the week that the new arrivals had 'seen her off' a couple of times, only for her to return...I guess the aggressive and very natural behaviour of the newcomers and particularly the Cob finally got the better of our young Pen and she has left for good.
Another piece of worrying news from the Vale is a Kingfisher sighting I made on January 10th may have been the last reported sighting of these beautiful birds at Reddish...The harsh winter may well have taken it's toll on this local stronghold.
I'm praying that the birds have moved a little further down river and will return once their favoured feeding areas are ice free.
My favourite place to photograph at the Vale is the smaller of the two main Mill Ponds because when conditions are right and the sun is rising in the morning sky, you get this incredible golden glow across the water at one end of the pond.
Sometimes however, there simply aren't the birds there to take advantage of these conditions so it can be frustrating waiting for something other than a Coot or Mallard to show.
This morning I was hoping one or two of the very shy Goosander would come into range of my lens, but as usual they stayed at the far bank only occasionally moving tantalizingly towards me before heading back to their safety zone.
One bird that didn't let me down though was one of my favourites, the Tufted Duck.
I have always found Tufted Ducks engaging little creatures and I can watch these birds for hours whilst they dive repeatedly underwater for food.
They really are very beautiful looking things too...
I mentioned Mallards earlier in the post and reading back, I don't want to give the wrong impression...I absolutely love these very common ducks and just like the humble Robin, I can never resist the opportunity of photographing them...