The low bellowing of one of the local bullocks, carried on the light winds up the Ouse Valley as I took an early morning stroll around the patch today. A sick feeling little girl had put a bit of a dampener on my plans for today (the aim was another dragonfly hunt at Tattenhoe), instead I left the little lady and Zoe at home and went for a quick stomp around the patch, and I do mean quick, as I had to be back for 10am.
Where are all the Birds
The low autumn sun, back lit the sheep surrounding Manor Farm, as I looked out over the Floodplain Forest Nature reserve, a golden glow spreading out across the gently swaying willows, that are slowly overwhelming the nature reserve. A Few Canada Geese flew through the river valley honking their presence to the surrounding country side.
Back lit sheep around Manor Farm
A distinct lack of birds on the nature reserve did have me puzzled, it felt like the summer visitors, had deserted the area, and taken many of the resident birds with them, while the winter arrivals are yet to arrive. From the Aqueduct hide all the way to the stilt pits the bird life was non existent, a couple of swans the limit on the water, and a few corvids and house martin the only birds in the skies.
The stilt pits where slightly more popular, but only with geese and gulls, a long line of white headed Black-headed gull filled the middle of the water, while Greylag and Canada geese swam the still grey waters or “whiffled” in to join those already on the lake.
Canada Geese in Flight (note the thick mud on the beaks!)
Following the reverse course of the River Ouse back to the Iron Trunk Aqueduct, a flock of squeaking Long-Tailed Tits filled the willows as I walked, the occasional Blue and Great Tit mixing in with the lollipop shaped cousins. At the tail end of the flock a few Chiffchaff picked flies from the air, as they searched through the green leaves, appearing to hover as they dashed out and hung in the air to pick off he tiny insects.
The high pitched peeping sound of a Kingfisher alerted me to its presence as it dashed up river past me, before circling around me and darting back up river once more.
Little else of note was to be found anywhere on the patch sadly, it begs the question, where are all the birds?
Grand Union Canal towards and over the Iron Trunk Aqueduct