A quick pass by the Alex was a waste of time, the light being completely against me, but I notched up another fine count of Greylag with 24 birds pottering around the car park, hoping against hope no doubt for some mouldy pitta breads. Moving on to the Park I hoped for better opportunities, but nothing doing either on the Heronry or on Perch. Hmmm, so much for my big day of constant shutter-hammering. I decided to try the Ornamental Waters, and I'm glad I did. Apart from Joe Public, it was absolutely perfect. The ice-free bit was in front of the sun, and the Gadwall and Mallards were enjoying precisely the area that was best from my point of view. I cantered serenely past 400 shots in no time at all, a few of which are shown below. Too many? Probably.
Learning from Mick that my next destination of Fisher's Green was closed, and hopes of Bittern therefore dashed, my backup plan was to head back to Hyde Park for another crack at the Bearded Tits, so I hastened home for a quick bite to eat, an Oystercard, and a bag in which to conceal and transport various bits of camera. Despite saying very sternly to myself that I would stay awake on the tube and thus prevent my valuable possessions from being snaffled from under my very nose, I fell asleep more or less instantly. I have a habit of doing this on public transport, but luck was on my side this time as I woke up at Bond Street only a few stops before I needed to get off, and my bag was still at my feet. Up the lifts at Lancaster Gate and out into glorious sunshine and blue sky. No ISO 1600 for me! Until about ten minutes later when I got to the Bearded Tits of course, when the sky clouded over, the sun disappeared, and once again I found myself cranking it up. A real shame given the effort I'd made, but c'est la vie I suppose.
There are two things I like about Hyde Park. One is that the birds are all very tame. And two is the continuing presence of Bearded Tits. There are however fifty-thousand things I don't like about Hyde Park, and they are all people. There are people everywhere, and if you have a camera on a tripod you are PUBLIC PROPERTY. If I had a pound for every person today who prevented me from taking photos and asked me what I was doing and what I was looking at, I would be able to retire before Monday. Ye Gods, the number of cretins I had to deal with today was unparallelled! When will people learn that if you're pointing a camera at something then the one (three) thing(s) you want is space, peace, and quiet, and not a crowd of jabbering idiots all around you? The low point was when a Japanese tourist physically inserted his head between my head and my viewfinder in order to look down my lens. No asking, no please may I, he just stuck his head there. Unbelievable. I threw him in the Serpentine - didn't ask his permission, just chucked him straight in. You make your bed, you gotta lie in it. In the end, I actually gave up talking. There are only so many times you can say that there are Bearded Tits in a reed bed, what Bearded Tits look like, if Bearded Tits are rare, where Bearded Tits come from, if they are making A FUCKING NEST! Imbeciles.....So to anyone who encountered a grumpy git in a red hat who completely and utterly ignored them, including the Scottish chap who complained to passers by that I wouldn't tell him how many birds there were, or indeed anything at all, please accept the fact that I hate you all and if I ever see you again in my entire life it will be too soon. There, glad I got that off my chest. I complain about various segments of humanity here in Wanstead, but if I had somewhere like Hyde Park as my patch I reckon I would go completely loopy. Or spend quite a lot of time behind bars for assault.