Thursday 29 December 2011

Christmas, snow and bunting

For our Christmas Day fresh air, we ventured to Tring reservoirs as none of the team were keen on a muddy walk. Alongside the Grand Union canal and around several water bodies of the reservoir complex, there are firm paths offering risk-free ambling (provided that you don't fall in, obviously).

As it was a blustery day and the light, under a sullen sky, was far from optimal, I didn't take my camera. This virtually guaranteed a photo opportunity and, sure enough, not five minutes into the walk, one presented itself.

Traversing the dam head of Startops reservoir, we paused by a pair of birders who were armed to the eyeballs with optics. Just below them, where the reduced water level had left a broad margin of stony shore, was a small bird, foraging amongst the rocks and pebbles.

As Christmas gifts go, this was a beauty. My very first Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis.

Unbelievably, The Admiral was travelling light too, though he did have the presence of mind to bring a small camera. The image below is courtesy of his good self.

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