Last Monday Keith and I had a day out to Pitsford Water in Northamptonshire. We arrived at around 6.30am, and after buying our permits ( excellent value at £5) from the little hut by the main gate we parked up on the causeway that divides the reservoir into two parts (wildlife reserve and sailing). By now the sky was beginning to show the first glimmer of light and the first thing that we noticed, apart from the cold ( -4 C / 25F ), was how low the water level was, which doesn't bode well for the Summer.
Whilst having a warming cup of coffee and waiting for the sun to rise we noticed stream after stream of Gulls coming in to land on the water from where they had, presumably, roosted for the night. Over the din of the traffic which was now getting busy along the road, we started to hear from across the water, what we decided were Jackdaws 'talking' to each other prior to leaving their roost and sure enough, as the chattering got louder literally hundreds of Jackdaws left the trees and started swirling around in the sky before slowly dispersing to wherever they were going to spend their day - a beautiful sight!
After recording at least 17 different bird species without moving away from the car and watching a beautiful red sunrise it was time to set off on our seven mile trip around the reserve and within less than 300 yards we came to a small group of bushes containing a feeding station where, amongst others, we found large flocks of Fieldfare, Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers. Keith also spotted a covey of Red-legged Partridge making a hasty retreat!
With another ten or so species recorded here it looked like a good day was in store. Unfortunately the birds were keeping their distance making it difficult to get any real close photo opportunities.
Retreating Red-legged Partridge.
So, on with our walk, despite the sun now shinning in a bright blue sky it was still cold with a thick white frost on the ground. Although there are numerous hides overlooking the water we didn't see any waders mainly due to the shallow water in the scrapes being frozen over!
For most of the way the path tends to be some distance from the water's edge and travels through various stands of trees, quite a few species noted here including both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Pheasant, and Bullfinch. We were also accompanied for most of the way by what appeared to be a single Robin darting from bush to bush just a few yards in front of us but in reality it was a 'relay' of Robins escorting us safely through their 'patch'.
There were still a few Jackdaws hanging around.
Nearing the end of our walk the path again afforded good views across the water where we had a good, if fleeting, view of a pair of Goosander and a male Goldeneye.
I also managed to capture this image of a different kind of aviation. There is a small airfield close by Pitsford called Sywell were they fly a lot of vintage aircraft. I checked the registration number and this is a DeHavilland DH-82A Tiger Moth built in 1939. I don't know what the passenger jet is but it just struck me as to how far (in some ways!!) we have advanced over the last 70 odd years!
So after seven miles and a little over six hours of pleasant walking we arrived back at the car for a welcome 'picnic' of rolls and coffee. With over fifty species of birds logged along with Rabbits, Brown Hares and Grey Squirrels it turned out to be a very enjoyable day.
A video of the walk!