My son Christopher, aged 9, loves a bit of nature. Ya know, frogs, spiders, fish and the like. He was dying to get round the pond with his net and jar to catch a few tadpoles, so off we went on this calm summer's night. It was nice and peaceful and we only passed a handful of people on our journey which lasted a couple of hours.
It didn't take the little fella long to get into his stride as he brought up atleast 30 tadpoles with hid first scoop of the net, which brought a big smile from him shortly afterwards. As he sat at the waters edge I nipped into nearby reeds to photograph a coot's nest which contains both eggs and chicks. The chicks could have only been a day old and were ready to take their maiden voyage on the pond as I snapped away. I grabbed half a dozen quick shots before leaving the nest site and returning to the little fella and his jar of taddies.
We then walked around the whole site, passing many nests in the reeds as we went. It's a great place to visit and photograph but you always encounter the odd 'Bad Egg' or two on your travels.
By this I mean the regular knbob-head who has nothing better to do with his time other than rob nests and even shoot the nesting birds as they sit. It's a problem that seems to have tailed off over the years but not entirely, as a male swan was shot in the neck a couple of weeks ago and the hen then deserted the nest in search of it's mate. Quite sickening really. Only last year a Peregrine Falcon laid a clutch of eggs at Houghton Quarry but was later found dead after being poisoned by the preverbial knob-head. God knows how many years it's been since a Peregrine nested in Houghton! So, without really knowing which locals could be reading this blog entry I will avoid naming the location where I took these photographs for the safety of the birds and their eggs, especially when I came across a Mute Swan with a massive clutch of 10 eggs! More on that one later...