Well, the folks decided to go to Rutland Water today, and asked if I wanted to come with. After their reports about the visitor centre at Eglestone, I was eager to come and see what birds I could see in these lagoons of the main body of Rutland Water, and also because I really wanted to spend some time looking at folk in beautiful boats and being made to feel really envious!
So we lunched al fresco at Whitwell watching aforesaid nice boats and listening to the upper class accents, and reflecting on how wetsuits are not flattering to anyone's backside.
Unless you are Jessica Alba.
The only birds were overfed mallards and crows stuffed with overpriced leftovers from the cafe. Well, this was no good, so this was the time to get dropped off at Eglestone reserve for a look around.
I look around, I'm afraid it was more of a "Look out at." For there is a charge to get down amongst the hides and stuff, and I am far from flush. 6 quid for an hour and a halfs birdwatching seemed very steep to me. And I'm an RSPB, not Wildlife Trusts, member. I know these places have a hell of an upkeep, but while it is probably excellent value for a full on near pro birdwatcher with a telescope and flash camera - and there were lots of these folk about, with an almost military feel about them - it's really off putting for the more casual, philosophic observer.
Luckily though, there were open windows to look through with my binoculars that weren't mine as I forgot them, and were far worse! Bought for a song from the AA by stepdad! But the telescope set up for casual viewers was a real treat, and I got superb views of cormorants, egrets, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, and a few terns effortlessly riding the breeze before dropping like missiles into the waters.
Still needed a walk though, as I felt guilty as hell for not getting out for a run in the morning. So I walked through the village, stopping to photograph a Gatekeeper butterfly and get my mother some honesty box Duck Eggs from the roadside, and then out through the deep golden cornfields and past a horse that clearly expected any human to be carrying sugarcubes and polo mints!
A nice day. But I still want a boat. And a hat for daywear!