Goosanders are yet another Devon bird that I always enjoy seeing, particularly in the Autumn and Winter. They are fresh water ducks and the clean rivers and reservoirs in the county, particularly on Dartmoor have healthy populations. In common with most wild ducks they are hard to get near to and consequently, hard to photograph. When I was at Venford Reservoir, ( near to the Datmoor village of Holne) yesterday, I saw a few and decided to return today with a bit of a plan to get a good photograph or two.
I arrived mid-morning, it was relatively quiet and glorious with no wind, and the strong clear sun made the reservoir look absolutely gorgeous. The reflections were stunning and the birds looked realy good through binoculars. As usual however, as soon as they were aware of me they moved purposefully to the opposite bank, hundreds of metres away. So time for the plan! I chose a part of the Reservoir with the sun at my back and sat, dessed in my gillie suit. I used a bag hide to cover up the camera and tripod. My back was supported by a large boulder and I ws confident that I was well concealed. The ducks were doing what ducks do and I was quite pleased when suddenly one flew in and landed just in font of me, around 30 fet away......... bingo! It started to fish and eventually moved even coser as it looked under the surface of the shallow water for prey. It seemed to be getting as close to the rocks as possible, probably because any potential prey would be hiding uner or near to them.
I knew that my strategy was working well but it was a waiting game, in all 5 hours of waiting, but it was well worth it . I was joined by a Cormorant at one point and in the brightness I took a few smashing pictures of it as it flew up from the water on to a rock very near to me. Cormorants are not very popular but you know what? I quite like them, they are very photogenic especially in flight.