Sunday, 21 April 2013

Well, what do you know? Spring has finally arrived!

After we had each endured a hectic week, Our Lass and I went out for a meal on Friday evening. Nothing too exotic, a local restaurant, a chance to talk, time to unwind. Foregoing a dessert (we were being good!), we settled up with our waitress and pottered off into the dusk. We walked down to the river, along the bank and then into a cemetery, following the path until we reached the confluence of the Rivers Lovat and the Great Ouse. We stood here awhile, listening to the last of the evening chorus, happy to catch a glimpse of a Kingfisher in the fading light, as it disappeared downstream piping its frenetic high-pitched call. Leaving the graveyard and climbing up to a road bridge, we paused again to take in the last of the light, marvelling at the pink and grey reflections of the sky in the water by the weir. A white shape floated across the grazing meadows and revealed itself to be a Barn Owl, silently portending the imminent death of some unfortunate rodent.

And so began our weekend.

The next morning dawned bright and clear, the night's frost soon disappeared and warm sunshine greeted us on our short journey to the local nature reserve. On the off chance of an early damsel or dragon, we tarried by the pond-dipping pool. Sadly, there were no odes, but frog and toad spawn was much in evidence. Indeed, throughout the day, toads were calling and occasional splashes hinted at further romantic activity.

High above the water surface, the reed mace was busy shedding seeds in a gentle breeze. It was admirably helped in this endeavour by a small squadron of Blue Tits, which we presumed were busy gathering nesting material.

Suddenly, a churring sound jolted us from this fluffy reverie, as a Grasshopper Warbler began singing from a bush at the back of the pond. Sweet!

We wandered on a few yards further along the path to a handy bench. Sitting here, looking over the lake, we spotted a tern sat on a post. Bill colour, wing length and short legs hinted that this was an Arctic Tern, pausing on its way northward. Indeed, when a few Common Terns landed on adjacent posts, it was easy to see the differences between the two species.

Plants were making up for lost time too, Cowslip and Dog Violet now joining the Primroses and Coltsfoots which lined the path. Some yellow Gorse flowers were looking particularly splendid in the morning sun, but more abundant were the male catkins of Willow trees.

Having spent all Winter watching small finches at the top of Alder trees, I was pleasantly surprised to find this Redpoll feeding on seeds at ground level, on a branch blown into the water by some strong winds the preceding week.

We returned to the pond-dipping pool several times during the day, but remained ode-less. However, the amphibian antics kept us entertained and then Our Lass capped a cracking day by pointing out a Cuckoo as it flew by.


Tales of a Bank Vole said...


Imperfect and Tense said...

Yours was parked on double yellows and should've been toad away.