At the risk of boring you all, I went to Dartford this morning to see the extremely approachable Slav Grebe. So did everybody else - just look at my links! When I got there Kev J, Mick S and Richard S were already there, Shaun and Monkey had already been, and Redsy, Rich B and Hawky turned up after I did! Bloody photographers..... I've been wanting to see this bird all week, and when I found out that it was on the small lake again yesterday evening, it was too late! I'd have liked several hours with it, but today was not a birding day, and it was either a smash-and-grab raid with the kids this morning or nothing at all. It was a tick for all three of them though, so fairly easily justified. Typically, and I know I'm a moaning old whingebag, there was too much light - black and white birds in full sunlight are a right old pain - always work in manual, as AV will lead you a merry dance in these conditions. I took a couple of test shots as soon as I got there which were nearly on the money (and almost recoverable) - shame then that this was the highlight of the action - the Grebe caught an enormous fish - it might have been a species of fin whale. It then went and had a quiet vomit and some Rennies under the trees at the back before doing another quick circuit of the pond. I caught it on the way back round, but then it was time to go. I took exactly 86 shots, four of which are below, and was there for a total of about 45 minutes, most of which was spent nattering about lenses and an upcoming trip to Morocco. Mick, who smashed it during the week in ideal light, didn't even turn his camera on, admirable restraint. I'm relatively pleased with what I got - as I said when I turned up, all I had to do was take a crappy hand-held shot with the bird right on the other side of the pond and I'd have my best ever photo of Slavonian Grebe right there.
The rest of the day was spent as a cleaner and taxi driver, ferrying children to and fro from parties, and generally being a good father. I managed another quick hour on the Flats during which I saw diddly squat - my patch list is dead in the water and it's only January. The bad thing about this is that I don't actually care. I caned through God knows how many frames this weekend and had an absolute ball doing it. Heaps more to come once I've finished going through them, however another week of work beckons, and I can tell you now that it's going to be a bad one!