Tiny white diamonds sparkled in the grass as I left the house today; the heaviest frost of the year, so far, had blanketed the area in a thick white layer, muting the usually vibrant colours of autumn with its winter sprinkling. Brilliant blue filled the skies above me and a low wintry sun was beginning to get to work on the icy tendrils spread out over the fields in front of me.
Winter is Coming
By the time I reached the Floodplain Forest nature reserve, the frosty coating had been burnt off the fields and the azure blue skies and brilliant sunshine replaced by a sheet of whites and greys, as clouds spread out over Milton Keynes.
A female Goosander, her orange head matching the colours of autumn flew fast overhead, heading across the manor farm buildings, as a rusty coloured Bull stood roaring out to his concubines and asserting his dominance over the fellow bullocks staggered around the fields once known as pop Whiting's fields.
|Bullocks in the Farm Fields|
|Roaring Bull on Pop Whitings Fields|
The hides, now open to the public once more, the gaping hole in the floor of the farm hide fixed since the most recent vandal attacks, yet they provided little relief from the bitter coldness that is a sure sign of the approaching winter.
Wandering the nature reserves paths, the sounds of Wigeon whistling as they squabbled over space on the waters banks mingled in with the cries of gulls, their numbers building into the larger winter flocks, and Teal as they flew through the air, their piping calls echoing around the lakes.
|Lesser Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull and Common Gull|
|Lesser Black Backed Gull|
|Winter is Coming|
The cold wind continued to blow over the reserve as I made my way back along the river path home, over head flocks of Fieldfare flew through their "chacking" calls heavy reminders of winters soundscape, while Dunnock and Robin called from deep within the scrub.
|Views over the Flood Plain Forest Stilt Pits|
Long-tailed tits, gathering in large flocks, high pitched calls mingled with the "teacher, teacher" calls of Great Tits high in the canopy, joined in the cacophony by the flute like calls of Bullfinch and the twittering sounds of Goldfinch as I wandered back through the old lock. Redwings flew between bushes with their quiet whistles peaceful in comparison to the loud frantic alarm calls of the Blackbirds.
It may have been cold, and the birds may not have been the most striking today, the grey skies made photography tough, but it was still worth the walk, my body and mind now reset for the days ahead.
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