Some time later I left to come home, feeling that the main feature of my afternoon had been my first rainbow of 2014 ... or rather, a hat trick of three rainbows.
There were a few people with binoculars at Alton Water Park who seemed to be on the lookout for the Diver, but I did not think I had been lucky on this occasion. The rainbows were magnificent against the winter sun and so were the Greenfinches (in the photo below), who were tucking into seeds provided by the Water Park staff. There were also a good number of Chaffinches about.
On my journey out to Alton Water, I had spotted an Oystercatcher at Wherstead; and on my way home, I pulled in to watch a flock of Greylag geese and a small gathering of ducks which I think are Wigeon.
Later, when I uploaded my photos, it began to dawn on me that perhaps I had been more vigilant this afternoon than I had realised. What I had clicked away at in great haste and had then dismissed as a Cormorant (it dived and disappeared along the edge of the reservoir with great speed) may well have been the Diver after all. I only have one poor shot ... but take a look below and see what you think. My hunch is that it is a juvenile and that it is definitely not a Cormorant: for a start the bill does not tip downwards.
In my wildlife watching there has only ever been one other occasion when I came home feeling a little disappointed, only to find something unexpected in my photographs ... and that occasion was when I was in Greece, looking out for Caretta caretta, the sea turtle.