It was dark when I left the house this morning. As I walked in the crisp coldness, the ice from the weekends, now melting, snow was crunching under my feet. The first tendrils of light were spreading across the sky from the East. The spooky, part light of twilight.
As I arrived at the nature reserve, a thin sliver of red was beginning to show in the sky above the Manor Farm buildings. A portent of the stunning skies to come, perhaps.
As I wandered onto the reserve and settled into the Aqueduct hide the air was alive with the sounds of the early birds. A cackling cacophony of Canada geese echoed through the valley; Jackdaw called their names, as great swathes of them flew overhead, leaving their nighttime roost; Green Woodpecker laughed from amongst the tall trees; Their smaller cousins Great Spotted Woodpecker, drummed on dead wood, the reverberating sound carried on the stiff, cold wind.
After sitting in the Aqueduct hide, with the windows open, waiting for the spring sunrise to eventually break, the cold Easterly winds were tearing across the floodplains waters. The icy winds were biting even through my layers of clothes. and eventually I realised the sunrise was not going to be forthcoming.
The thin sliver had turned into a small patch, but no more. The Narrow window was funnelling the freezing wind straight at my exposed face, and I’d had enough, so set off on the move.
There were not many more Sunrise opportunities, but below are the 2 photos I managed, that showed some nice colour.
I took my walk on down to the New Workings, hoping there may still be some colour in the sky, beyond the viaduct (the high railway line blocks much of the early rays from the nature reserve). There wasn’t much (see opening image), but white light there was gave a beautiful golden glow.
Along the river a few Goosander swam, easily battling the strong current; or racing away at speed using the rivers flow for extra pace. The golden light of dawn casting them in amazing colours.
The golden light continued beyond the regular “golden hour” casting rich warm colours over the nature reserve, as I made my way back. Suddenly a Stonechat popped up, one of the over wintering females.
She sat beautifully for me, the stunning, rich light, casting her in an orange glow at times.
With the Konik ponies now back on the reserve, they appeared to be getting amorous as spring approaches. Although I am not sure how much castrated ponies get amorous?
Either way I managed to capture at least one, tender moment, although missed out on the more aggressive head shaking and rearing up moments.
There is nothing quite so refreshing as an early morning walk in the freezing cold, but I have to admit to feeling the strain of being up at 5am as I write this. I didn’t get the spring sunrise photos I wanted, but I am pleased with the images I did get. And the 5+ miles walked will help my 1500 mile total.
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I’m walking 1500 miles in 2018 to raise money, and awareness, for CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably. You can support my efforts over on my Just Giving page – Walking 1500 miles for CALM