…but a couple of nice surprises.
On Friday, but too late to visit, I saw the reports that a pair of Garganey were ‘showing well’ on a lake at a nearby nature reserve. So yesterday, hoping that they had ‘settled in’, I decided to go and have a look. It was a nice sunny/blue sky morning and I was up early and with time on my hands, the reserve doesn’t open till 9.30!!, I decided to stop off at a site where I’ve previously seen Corn Buntings…no luck this time though! I was however treated to the sight of a lovely pair of Stonechat, distant at first but, slowly getting nearer as I tried to make myself as invisible as possible by mingling my 16 stone bulk into a very thorny Hawthorn bush…ouch! But, as is the way of things, just as they were getting into decent camera range they were flushed by a group of walkers who were allowing their two dogs to race, seemingly uncontrolled, around the field where eventually they managed to scatter a flock of sheep with no discernable control or concern from any of their owners. I guess the dogs were just being dogs..but the owners….??
A distant male Stonechat.
It was nice to hear the songs of the many Skylarks as, still killing time, I sat in the car with the warm sunshine streaming through the windows and read the newspaper. Now, despondent and fully depressed at all the ‘news’ I decided to have one more look in the field to see if the Stonechats had returned…unfortunately I couldn’t re-locate them but what I did notice were the Skylarks they seemed to be everywhere, and a couple were in camera range…just!
It was now time to make the five minute drive to find the Garganey. On entering the main hide, which was quite full!, the only conversation that I could hear was…”any luck with the Garganey?”….”have you spotted them?”…”seen ‘em yet?”…to which the replies were a rather subdued…”na”….”nope”….”not been seen this morning”… and then there’s always one smug smart arse who comes up with the most helpful and encouraging answer…” I saw them over in that corner of the lake yesterday and they were showing really well”…!!!
I eventually spent a couple of hours sitting in the, cold and draughty, hide watching the other birds that were on or around the lake…including; Wigeon, Tufties, Gadwall, Mute Swans, Greylag and Canada Geese, Lapwing..busy staking their claims to nest sites on the islands, Shoveler, one Oystercatcher, twelve plus Snipe..they’re good at hiding!! and the bonus of a new ‘tick’ for the year..a ‘bouncing’ Jack Snipe.
Oh!…and I almost forgot…..Saturday morning and half term school holidays = lots of noisy screaming kids…bah, humbug!!!
This notice, spotted on the way out, did manage to raise the mood a little…
…Is it just in case they should get the urge to do something really naughty?
And after all that…still no Garganey!