Thursday, 4 September 2014

Autumnal Changes at RSPB Langford Lowfields

Another holiday adventure in the "Don't you dare waste a day!" time off from work I'm having.

Headed off on the bike towards grey skies and a vaguely blustery wind, and saw nothing of note until I found a buzzard circling above the turn off near the Langford crossing.

I haven't been to Langford Lowfields for a few weeks, and the changes were very noticeable. Most of the colour was gone, the thistles, knapweed and rosebay willowherb quite literally gone to seed. However the tufted ducks were back after their summer holidays, the drakes seemingly out of eclipse, and I could constantly hear the whistling of wigeon without ever quite being able to see one, although I think I saw a single specimen far out across the other side of the reedbed.

These truly were signals of autumn. The swifts and hirundids were mainly gone, only a couple of sand martins still working the water. There were no damselflies, and the black tailed skimmers were gone.

However, the feisty migrant hawkers still provided plenty of colour as the males patrolled, occasionally ambushing each other over the waterside vegetation. Common darters, the males a vivid scarlet, were egglaying in that peculiar tandom flying method of theirs, the female dipping her backside in the water as the male supports her.

Unlike my last visit there was company too. The hut was open, and I passed time in pleasant conversation with the older chap looking after it. I spoke to Mike the warden too, about the largish pike I saw leaping from the water. Other folk were about too, taking photographs, scanning with binoculars.

I was as I was leaving the real fun started. An egret - the great one, who knows? - landed over the river side of the reed bed, and as I cycled up the path a hobby flew over; two were seen in the area of phase two later in the day. And then, as I was cycling into Winthorpe, a stoat rushed across the road, a small rodent in its jaws, a tail so bushy I was briefly fooled it was a red squirrel.

A red squirrel in Nottinghamshire? Just imagine.

The reed bed

Photgraphy from the platform

The beach hut

Inside the beach hut. Wish there was a kettle

All turned to brown

This used to be a thistle

Some colour still remains

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