Obsessive? Me? Surely not?
It was just another lunchtime visit to Farmoor. Just another wander around. I hoped the morning's rain would have brought some passing waders down but, no, and in the end it resulted in another bout of Shag communing. I really did not intend to take any more photos. Honestly, I deliberately left the camera in the car and walked up the ramp from the car park with only my scope and bins, just like any 'normal' birder.
There, literally feet from the perimeter track on the nearest pontoon, almost in front of the yacht club was a Shag. It proved irresistible and I was back to the car in a trice to return with the camera and take yet more close up images of yet another Shag.
I can make no apologies. I can make no excuses because I am really enjoying myself indulging in Shag mania. It will be over soon enough. Dare I say I will be shagged out?
Today, there were only seven Shags as far as I could ascertain, five were scattered randomly across both reservoirs with another two very close to the yacht club. One of these latter two was the 'point blank' one loafing on the pontoon and looking a little soggy from a prior fishing expedition and then subsequently standing in the light rain. It too, like the one yesterday, bent one foot over backwards in a resting position which looks really curious.
I walked Farmoor Two, finding up to four Common Sandpipers and ten Little Grebes, the latter now scattered all along the reservoir as single birds and feeding almost at the very water's edge. A Little Egret was perched on the Shag's favourite pontoon and two Egyptian Geese, as usual, wandered the grass surrounds of the reservoir.
I came to a small flock of around fifteen Swallows, most of which were juveniles, with ten or more sat on the concrete of the perimeter track, presumably resting and trying to dry out their feathers. They took off, whirling about me with sharp alarm calls before settling back onto the track behind. There is always one individual which initiates this behaviour of settling on the ground and on seeing this all the others like to follow.
And that was it apart from four more Shags sat out on the rafts spread across Farmoor 1 and a sudden influx over the Causeway of another twenty or more Swallows with a few House Martins and one Sand Martin keeping them company. Doubtless the rain had caused them to come low in their search for insects and later, after the rain had passed, there was no sign of them. A Whimbrel called from high in the sky but it passed straight over unseen and I heard no more of it.
Back at the yacht club marina the female Ruddy Shelduck was dabbling at the edge with inevitably its bird of choice, a couple of Coots for company. It is now much more confiding than when it first arrived, hardly bothering to move away and it is showing more and more signs of a dubious origin.
I watched as a Shag caught a tiny fish in the small enclosed marina, as usual bringing up a tangle of weed with its capture. A little later it was joined by another and they both lurched up onto the flat pontoons to preen and eventually go to sleep in each others company.
Another cluster of mainly juvenile Swallows were settling on the yacht club roof behind me while others flew in random pursuit of insects, in and around the glade of trees by the footpath down to the main car park. Their blue black forms swarming like irritated insects back and fore through the trees.
I do hope the Shags move on soon. It is beginning to get embarrassing!