Would you rather spend a morning sitting around watching TV and playing video games or, head out into the great outdoors with one of your favourite people, and have a lovely walk and a chat? In my case I would much rather do the latter, and today my daughter decided so would she, and so it was that we packed up our binoculars, scope and camera and headed out onto the patch to see what wonders the recent weather might have brought us.
The little lady (still only 6) was on great form, both in her desire to chat rubbish (one of the great daddy & daughter activities we both enjoy) and with her spotting. She picked out pretty much every bee and insect we found, as well as many of the birds.
You’ll notice this post is very light on photos, well some days the company and chat is more important than the photography or even the birds seen.
Would You Rather
Bubs first spot was a cracking Robin that was feeding on half a worm a few feet away from us as we first entered the path leading to the Old Church, she then watched as it circled me, landing mere inches from my should, all while I had my head in my camera bag.
We strolled along, hand in hand. through the church yard, enjoying the warmth of the spring sunshine and the sounds of the season as around us the “teacher, teacher” call of Great Tits mingled with the “chiff chaff, chiff chaff” calls of the Chiffchaff easily confused sounds when heard alone, but nice to be able to compare once again.
Wandering through the Old Lock area, we chatted more about what birds Bubs would like to see, Eagles are top of her list, then a brief stop after the cattle creep where she reminded me of the time she and her mum fell in the stinging nettles below, and then we entered the wild flower meadow (I think that was the plan for this area).
Again talk turned to the birds as I asked her to keep her eyes open for wheatears, I then had a brief moment of explaining what a wheatear is and how the white rump relates to the name! Sadly there were none. As we talked it was heartening to here that she would like to do this walk on a regular basis when we have days off together.
Floodplain Forest Hides
As we entered the western hide we settled down to a bit more serious birding, me scanning the birds for interesting migrants, her counting the mallards (we managed 15 in total) – we did have a funny moment here, when we first sat down there was a duck swimming alone in an open space of water, This was our conversation about the birds:
Bubs – “What is that duck daddy?”Me – “Why don’t you have a look and tell me?”Bubs – “OK”
A few moments later
Me – “So what do you think it is?”Bubs – “I don’t know yet, I can get my binoculars to focus on the mallard!”
Matter of fact as that she had identified the bird even before seeing it in her binoculars!
Our next stop was the main hide, looking out from the open windows were were treated to a few nice flyby’s of Redshank, as they whistled and piped around the reserve as well as plenty of displaying Lapwing, their humming wing beats filling the air with sounds.
A Brief appearance of a Little Ringed Plover made my day, not only was it one I was hoping for but was also my 83rd patch bird of the year and 107th over all (not bad for a non driver who rarely leaves his local patch). Even the little lady enjoyed it and was amazed at the striking yellow eye ring.
|Little Ringed Plover|
Sadly there was little else about so we quickly moved off, the shade provided by the hide does kind of make it a cold place to sit outside summer (I imagine) especially for little ones.
Would You Rather
Finally cold hands and tired legs got the better of the little lady and she decided enough was enough. It was time to head home for lunch. So we set off over the cattle fields and home. An impromptu game of would you rather filling our time as we walked.
And as a result of that, and our various questions and answers we were left with one outstanding question: Would you rather have a mouthful of bees or a scorpion in your underpants? It’s the important issues we tackle. Let me know your answer in the comments.