When my alarm went off at 5 am this morning, I was working on 4 hours sleep. The pup had, had me up in the night, being a fussy pain. But a morning on the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve was calling, and so I dressed and headed out into the cold morning air.
Morning at the Floodplain Forest
As I made my way, in the pre-dawn twilight, towards the nature reserve, a low lying mist clung to the fields of the Ouse Valley. A soft glow was slowly emerging across the Eastern sky. By the time I arrived at Manor Farm the sky was a riot of oranges and purples. A reminder of what makes early mornings like this so special.
Making my way down the slope from the farm buildings, the same mists from the fields could be seen gently rising from the waters of the Floodplain Forest. The morning skies, from the breaking dawn, casting golden glow across the open water. Early morning movements of geese could be heard honking over head. Eager coot and moorhen called from the reeds. It felt wonderful to be a witness to the spectacle.
As I sat enjoying the changing skies, and signs of life waking up, a Mute Swan slowly emerged from the mists (the header image of this post). Grabbing the perfect shot of this bird was tricky, as they all looked good, but the top photo and the one below are my picks.
It became a theme of my day a little, photographing Mute Swan in various states of golden glow. More swans in the mist; Swans feeding lit by the glowing sun; swans flying through. Well I’ll let the images do the talking for that now:
There are even more in the other photos at the end.
Of course it’s not just Swans that photograph well in the “golden hour” pretty much anything does, but first a few photos of Common or Eurasian Coot.
Of course my Morning at the Floodplain Forest wasn’t just about the swans and sunrises. The reserve was alive with birdsong. Mainly Common Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler. It seems every bush had the former, while the scrubby edges contained the latter. Clearly these migrants have arrived at just the right moment.
Other warblers included a solo Reed Warbler, a Garden warbler, a few Chiffchaff and at least one Blackcap.
But the real excitement of migrants was yet to come.
As I wandered next to the stilt pits a pair of Common Tern screamed over head. Dropping in briefly to one of the small islands. And then a sharp winged, long tailed, slate grey bird dashed through. My first Cuckoo of the year.
Making my way to the river, at least 4 more (or the same) common tern appeared hunting over the fast flowing, flooded river.
And then the Cuckoo appeared again, flying low along the poplars. Pausing and calling every so often before heading out onto the trees in the middle of the nature reserve. Suddenly it was joined by a second bird! Before I lost them both to sight once more. Hopefully though this means there will be a youngster appearing at some point later in the summer.
Quick Dash Home
Sadly my walk was cut short as a call from Zoe revealed that Bubs was poorly again, as was the dog! So I headed home quickly, happy that I had spent a wonderful Morning at the Floodplain Forest.
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