I'd planned to head out this morning as soon as I knew the weather forecast was good, and that my bicycle wasn't going to fall apart underneath me. I took the Langford village way, where house martins were having a good old time in the air above the cottages. However, a sad sight was a badger dead in the verge; they have enough to fear from cars without having to worry about government sponsored culling as well.
Today was unusual. I often go to Langford Lowfields with an aim of seeing something they have tweeted or blogged about, and most of the time, me being a far inferior bird and wildlife watcher than them, I don't see it. They've written about damselflies this week, well, I didn't see any of those.
But I saw my other target.
I arrived at the reed bed hide, and as promised, the wetlands were alive with sand martins feeding just above the surface of the water. Hundreds of them, almost clogging up the view in my binoculars with their agile brown bodies. Black headed gulls seem to have colonised several areas, and there was no sign of the deformed wigeon I've also read about. However, as I swept the area in my 10x50s, I saw what I'd ridden out 6 miles for, and I let out a censorable shout of joy.
In the distance, daintily striding about the shallows, was an avocet. The first I've ever seen.
It is a beautiful bird, delicate and elegant, with it's characteristic upcurved beak and a mainly white plumage with a black V on its back. It also sports a sort of smudgy olive green wing bar, and long green legs. It flew off, and I hoped it wasn't goping to disappaear out of view. But no, it made its way off to a small island, and there joined another specimen, whether they are a pair or not I do not know. They fed in the shallows, as a mute swan sailed past obvlivious. They are really a lot smaller than you think, as with most waders, the ducks and even the numerous coot seem to dwarf them. But to the RSPB they are iconic birds, and you can see why.
What a joy to see them!
As I headed back up ther path, I stopped several times to listen to the huge variety of annoymous birdsong blasting out of the hedgerows, take in a fine sight of a reed bunting, and a chiff chaff was singing loudly in the wood at the edge of the site, it's song given an echoing quality by the trees. I'd already had my highlight however, and how pleased I am, to be able to write about having seen not one, but two, avocet!