Morning at the Floodplain Forest

Morning at the Floodplain Forest
Morning at the Floodplain Forest

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.

Sunrise over Manor Farm in Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes
Sunrise over Manor Farm in Old Wolverton, Milton Keynes

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.

Sunrise over the Floodplain Forest
Sunrise over the Floodplain Forest
Sunrise over the Floodplain Forest with mists
Sunrise over the Floodplain Forest with mists

Mute Swans

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.

Mute Swan in the Mist
Mute Swan in the Mist

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:

Another mute Swan in the Mist
Another mute Swan in the Mist
Golden Glow on the water (other end of the reserve from first swan in the mist)
Golden Glow on the water (other end of the reserve from first swan in the mist)
Golden Light on Mute Swan
Golden Light on Mute Swan
Taking Flight in the morning Sun
Taking Flight in the morning Sun

There are even more in the other photos at the end.

Glowing Coots

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.

Coot in the morning light
Coot in the morning light
Coot looking left in the morning light
Coot looking left in the morning light
Swimming in the morning Sun
Swimming in the morning Sun

Migrants

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.

Whitethroat in the Willows
Whitethroat in the Willows

Other Migrants

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.

Common Tern fishing
Common Tern fishing

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.

Cuckoo in Flight (my first photos of this declining bird).
Cuckoo in Flight (my first photos of this declining bird).

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.

Other Photos

Mute Swan defending territory in golden light
Mute Swan defending territory in golden light
Mute Swan feeding
Mute Swan feeding
Taking Flight - Mute Swan
Taking Flight – Mute Swan
Geese in the Mist
Geese in the Mist
Canada Goose in the golden light
Canada Goose in the golden light
Common Tern in Flight
Common Tern in Flight
Common Whitethroat singing
Common Whitethroat singing

Did you enjoy Morning at the Floodplain Forest? Or find it useful? The please share with your friends, via the links below.

Like it? Share it!

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.