You can probably tell I’ve been itching to get out and about now spring is finally here. Well a couple of weeks ago I was pretty much on top of things. The animals were done, the housework was finished and I had finally caught up with the backlog of llama poo in the fields. We prefer to pick it up daily to prevent them grazing over the area and collecting another worm burden. (It must be working because the vet rang only yesterday to say the latest samples I sent off recently were good enough for the boys to not need worming yet again. They still need to be gelded at some point this year, but at least I don’t need to add worms to my worry list).
It was a lovely morning only a couple of weeks ago that I decided to leave the cats to their own devices for a few hours to drive over to the nature reserve. I hadn’t been there since last September and I was eager to see what was going on. The guys on my photography forum had been lucky to see a lot of waxwings recently. At the very least I hoped to see the tail end of the birds that were supposed to visit for the winter.
The first thing I noticed was that the car park was almost full, but as I wandered past the first hide I realised that most of the visitors were volunteers. It looked as though they had already done plenty of hard work as they were resting in the picnic area. I don’t know how many people do this on a regular basis, but considering the size of the reserve, they do an excellent job.
I could already see the results of their hard labour as the first path I followed had been cleared of brambles. All the undergrowth had been cut back round the hides too and with the recent rainfall, I was hopeful there would be some birds close enough for my 300mm lens. Sadly I was out of luck as all I could see on one of the largest lakes were two pairs of Canada geese and a few coots. Even those were too far away.
Never mind, I thought, as I set out for the hides way over on the other side of the reserve. There is a kingfisher hide there, but last year it has been left high and dry. I was keen to see if the channel was full of water this time. I got about half way there and suddenly my left knee went “ping”. It had been playing up for a couple of days, but had always settled down fairly quickly. Not so this time. I clearly couldn’t go on, but getting back wasn’t easy either. Eventually I reached the hide by the car park, so I thought I would sit down for a while to see if any small birds were coming to the feeders. While I was waiting, I got talking to a lovely lady who had made the journey by train. She recommended another reserve on the coast, which I intend to try later this year.
There wasn’t much activity by the feeders either, but we both managed to photograph this lone blue tit. Just a few minutes later, the volunteers started pruning the trees in the background. The birds flew away and I gave it up as a bad job and drove home.
Next week the weather looks as though it will improve again. Fingers (or knees) crossed, perhaps I will have another go.