Afternoon Sunshine

Afternoon Sunshine - Mallard
Afternoon Sunshine - Mallard
With it being the Easter holidays and my daughter currently having a Minecarft fixation (seriously if she isn't playing it she is watching YouTube videos of other people playing it, I'm starting to think I need to become a YouTuber just so my kids don't forget who I am!) getting out on the patch isn't easy, so with Zoe on an early shift I took advantage of her being home and popped out in the afternoon sunshine of today to see if I could catch up with a few of the migrants that have been passing through recently.

My walk was short, and mainly spent in the main hide, rather than one of my more usual walks all around the patch, but it was enjoyable for a number of reasons.


Afternoon Sunshine


Hitting the patch by the top fields, I was hoping for them to be dripping with wheatear or hirundines sadly there was little, or nothing really, on the fields so my walk to the main hide was not delayed by pesky birds!

As I arrived at the main hide I could hear the bubbling calls of several Redshank, as they chased each other around the reserve obviously in an amorous mood. The air was also filled with the electronic calls of the displaying Lapwing, although numbers appeared down on my previous visit. Looking out of the hide window, the bird numbers were down but the water levels were up! 

The way the nature reserve changes on almost every visit is fascinating, I have never been as aware of rainfall as I am when I watch the lakes. Heavy rain Monday and Tuesday has the levels up again (although as I was informed, the water was lower today than yesterday), much of the mud in front of the hide is now hidden, so the waders are using other, more hidden, areas, usually deep in the scrubby weeds.

Lapwing Frenzy


As I sat watching the comings an goings of the duck, mainly Mallard, Gadwall and Teal with the odd Shoveler still and a party of 11 Tufted Duck, ten of which were male (the poor female was getting a lot of hassle from her would be suitors!), I couldn't help but think how much the reserve was coming into its own. The plants are slowly growing up, creating more and more habitat for the wildlife to get lost in; The hides give us wildlife watchers a view we struggled for last year, the sun now at our backs as we watch the waters from the comfort (and relative warmth) of the wooden structures; even the paths, which although well walk already, are providing a great place to wander (I can't wait for the full set to be open).

Male Mallard seen from the main hide at Manor Farm
Male Mallard seen from the main hide at Manor Farm

As I sat there was suddenly a flurry of activity from the local Lapwings, as all the residents suddenly decided to take to the air and perform their acrobatic display flights, their humming wings and zapping calls filling the air with a green and purple sheen as they twisted and turned trying to prove themselves most worthy of siring the next generation.

Lapwing on the deck
Lapwing on the deck

The Tongue of this displaying Lapwing can be clearly seen
The Tongue of this displaying Lapwing can be clearly seen

More Flight shots of Lapwing
More Flight shots of Lapwing

Heading Home


After taking in the view from the main hide for a little over an hour, I figured I had better head home and allow the family to eat, so I exited the hide and headed along the reserve path towards the Western hide. Along the way I managed to flush a Green Woodpecker from the trees that border the small brook and Photograph a small charm of Goldfinch as they fed on the drying seeds of the teasel.

Goldfinch sat on a dry Teasel
Goldfinch sat on a dry Teasel


There was little else of note along this path, or for much of the journey home, a solo Chiffchaff half heartedly calling his name, briefly provided me a taste of things to come and as I packed away my gear a Collard Dove could be seen snuggled down on a nest, an early breeder clearly.

Pied Wagtail seen very close (too close to focus at times) from the hide window
Pied Wagtail seen very close (too close to focus at times) from the hide window


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