A gusting, blustery, wind whipped hard through the Ouse Valley. The icy cold it carried with it, gathered pace across the lakes of the floodplain forest nature reserve. Occasional spots of rain, driven sideways by the wind, spattered my binoculars. It really wasn’t a day I was expecting a patch tick!
For my second walk of the day – Colin needs a walk too, but isn’t yet ready to join me on my nature walks, he’s still of an age when he wants to chase the ducks! – I headed out onto the Floodplain Forest Nature reserve to see if the strong winds had brought something exciting in.
Sadly the gusting wind was keeping much of the wildlife huddled up to the banks; the few teal, now pairing up for the summer, were carefully picking their way between the weedy margins; Orange sided shovelers held their spade shaped beaks under their wings; Even the 6 Goosander, winter visiting birds, were hunkered down on the islands.
And then things took an interesting turn.
Reading the board in the farm hide I spotted a note mentioning either 8 Egyptian geese or Egyptian geese on the 8th. It was below a report of Willow Tit on the 7th so I wasn’t convinced (Willow tits are pretty much extinct locally).
Sitting in the Viaduct hide, the wind was howling through the open slats, it was so ferocious, and cold, that on a few occasions I would rather close the windows than suffer the weather. And I was preparing to leave, when I spotted a pair of pale geese slowly walking out from behind one of the distant islands. Lifting my bins I was greeted with my patch tick.
Heading nearer, the nervous geese had already made their way into the middle of the water. I wasn’t any closer than I had been in the hide. So rather than disturb them more I kept walking, only for the pair to fly up off the water and head West towards Stony Stratford. My patch tick was gone again.
The River itself was running high and fast, her water levels buoyed by the snow melt of last week still. The brown waters whipped through, creating eddies as she went, and looking too intimidating to hold many birds.
Drama in the Skies
A quick stop at the farm hide as I wandered back and as is so often the case I was greeted by a stunning, dramatic sky as I left. I’m not sure if it is just it’s position, or the back drop but quite often as you exit the farm hide the skies are full of drama.
I blew the highlights a little here, but I’m sure you can see what I was trying to capture.
I was also able to grab a few photos of the ponies, I know, I do this a lot, but they are a stunning addition to the reserve and often pose well for photos.
Another walk over, another few miles added to my walking total for the year.
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